By Barry Goodrich
The true sign of a great golf course is that you can’t wait to play it again even after it has humbled you.
A great golf course rewards shotmaking.
A great golf course offers breathtaking scenery.
And, perhaps most importantly, a great golf course is able to gain a favorable reputation thanks to the people who play it.
Just ask Joe Salemi. The owner and architect of the new Boulder Creek layout in Streetsboro. Over three years ago, Salemi broke ground at the 325-acre parcel of land. Today, even he is amazed at the course has turned out.
“I knew this was the place for a course the first time I saw it.” – Said Salemi, a developer from Sagamore Hills. “I was lucky to have some great guys who worked for me. It was a monumental job,”
Golfers who see Boulder Creek for the first time might be surprised to learn that it is Salemi’s first try at course design.
“It has exceeded every hope I had.” he said.
“It keeps getting accolades from people in the golf business and the people who play here. It has been amazing.”
Despite the lateness in the season, Boulder Creek is booked solid weeks ahead of time. The word of mouth among area golfers has made it “The” destination for a round of golf in Northeast Ohio.
“This is an upscale public course that is better than 95% of the private clubs in the area,” Said Salemi.
“You can fool people with fancy advertising one time but we’ve got the real product here. We’re getting all sorts of players from country clubs out here…it’s been an overwhelming success.”
Boulder Creek head Pro John Elser, who apprenticed at Oakwood, lets his customers do that talking.
“I just tell people what the golfers tell me,” said the 36 year old Elser.
“A member from Pine Valley was out here one day and said the course was a combination of Balley Bunion and Cypress Point. “And I can tell 100 more stories like that,” he said. “I feel pretty lucky to have gotten in on the ground floor of a facility like this.”
Boulder Creek has all the elements of a superb golf course. The topography and course design are second to none. The bent greens are virtually flawless condition even though they are still in their infancy.
Shotmaking is required on every hole. The par 3 17th hole features an elevated tee with an island green. The course will challenge event the best golfer but it rewards strong play as well.
“It’s a lot like a marriage.” Said Elser.
“People love the challenge of it. The course isn’t tricked up. It is was it is.”
Boulder Creek will get some national recognition when Golf Digest comes out with a rating on the course. But many local golfers already know about it and the word is spreading quickly.
What makes it so special?
“First and foremost is the property itself.” Said Salemi. “You can have an average course on a great property but you are never going to have a great course without a great property.”
“We’ve got guys coming out here who have played some of the best course in the country and they just rave about it. You really do have to see it to believe it.”
A state of the art irrigation system keeps Boulder Creek in lush condition. The rough is sever enough to penalize a wayward shot but is not impossibly long.
And while many players are already enamored with Boulder Creek’s greens, they will get even better next season.
“By next year our greens will be second to none.” Said Salemi. “They will really get fast.”
Even though the course is receiving compliments from area pros and amateurs alike, there is room for improvement.
“We’re going to make some modifications,” Said Salemi. “A few things to make the course better. We’ll be extending the fairway on the 10th hole and adding extra tees at 16 and 11. This course will only get better as it matures”