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Ronald Montesano

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Chagrin Valley
« on: June 13, 2019, 11:35:27 AM »
This weekend is the Men's Invitational at Chagrin Valley, Cleveland, Ohio. I snuck out this a.m. for 90 minutes of photography. Very nice Stanley Thompson layout. I hate how photography flattens vertical change. I did a quick search of CVCC on this DB, and found a few mentions, but nothing profound/no dedicated thread.


Thoughts on CVCC and how it compares to another Stan Thompson in the area (Beechmont) and still another Stasch (Sleepy Hollow)? I'm planning to play Sleepy on Sunday, if it doesn't rain, and hope to see Beechmont on another trip.
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Phil McDade

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2019, 01:46:10 PM »
My old stomping grounds -- I grew up not far from there. Make sure to take time to stop in the popcorn shop at Chagrin Falls. ;D


It's always astounded me that that roughly 20-mile corridor in the greater Chagrin River valley contains so many quality golf courses packed in there -- Chagrin Valley, Beechmont, mysterious Mayfield, the Flynn twins Pepper Pike and the Country Club, Canterbury and next-door Shaker Hts., Manakiki, and the Alison masterpiece Kirtland. Just a bunch of good stuff by a good variety of architects.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2019, 10:31:32 AM »
I'm finding this, Phil. The topography is spectacular for creative GCA. I was at another of those clubs you mentioned on Friday. Treated so well, shame I can't mention the name ('cause I'm mysterious like that :)
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Joe Zucker

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2019, 01:16:28 PM »
Ronald, I think Sleepy is the best of the three you listed.  By far the wildest greens and great topography.  I found Beechmont to be a bit uninspiring (comparatively).  It's been over a decade since I saw Beechmont, so my memory may be failing, but I don't recall much elevation change a lot of straight holes.  Chagrin Valley is better in my eyes, but Sleepy Hollow would be incredible if it were treated like a country club.


But as you say, no shortage of quality courses on the outskirts of the Cleveland. 

Mike Bodo

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2019, 01:19:30 PM »
I'm playing Canterbury in two weeks and am very much looking forward to it.
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

Bill Crane

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2019, 01:12:13 PM »
My old stomping grounds -- I grew up not far from there. Make sure to take time to stop in the popcorn shop at Chagrin Falls. ;D

It's always astounded me that that roughly 20-mile corridor in the greater Chagrin River valley contains so many quality golf courses packed in there -- Chagrin Valley, Beechmont, mysterious Mayfield, the Flynn twins Pepper Pike and the Country Club, Canterbury and next-door Shaker Hts., Manakiki, and the Alison masterpiece Kirtland. Just a bunch of good stuff by a good variety of architects.
Why??

Lots of real money in Cleveland in the time period 1910 to the depression - especially in the 1920s.  Plenty of land. Pretty much the same receipt for the incredible number of old , super designs in NY, Phil, Boston and so forth.
Am I mistaken, or does Ohio take a few more cues from the East Coast than other parts of the Mid-West ?
_________________________________________________________________
( s k a Wm Flynnfan }

Phil McDade

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2019, 03:25:58 PM »
My old stomping grounds -- I grew up not far from there. Make sure to take time to stop in the popcorn shop at Chagrin Falls. ;D

It's always astounded me that that roughly 20-mile corridor in the greater Chagrin River valley contains so many quality golf courses packed in there -- Chagrin Valley, Beechmont, mysterious Mayfield, the Flynn twins Pepper Pike and the Country Club, Canterbury and next-door Shaker Hts., Manakiki, and the Alison masterpiece Kirtland. Just a bunch of good stuff by a good variety of architects.
Why??

Lots of real money in Cleveland in the time period 1910 to the depression - especially in the 1920s.  Plenty of land. Pretty much the same receipt for the incredible number of old , super designs in NY, Phil, Boston and so forth.
Am I mistaken, or does Ohio take a few more cues from the East Coast than other parts of the Mid-West ?


Bill -- my first post was perhaps poorly written on my part -- I should have said something like "it always astounded me that (insert list of courses here) don't get more widespread recognition." That area's top tier of courses compares favorably, I'd argue, with the ones in the northern suburbs of Chicago.


Northeastern Ohio, certainly, takes its cues much more so from the East Coast than the Midwest; it dates back to the Western Reserve, an extension of Connecticut's original land holdings. I've always thought Cleveland is the most Eastern-like Midwestern City (with Pittsburgh the most Midwestern Eastern city, assuming one agrees the city is part of the East...)

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 07:32:17 PM »
Buffalo's topography is shit, compared with Cleveland. We have lots of flat, interesting courses, but none that would be considered great. People presume Cleveland and surrounds to be flat, and are nut-blasted when they see the valley and the ups-and-downs incorporated into the golf courses.
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2023, 12:45:44 PM »
Chagrin Valley has a bit of a confusing history, often noted as a Stanley Thompson design.  The following blurb is taken from the Case Western Reserve Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.



The description of the location of the course accords with this 1927 Map and the modern aerial of the course.





The hard part is figuring out exactly what was built, when and who did it.

In 1923 the club had 9 holes with plans for 9 additional holes.

April 1, 1923 Cleveland Plain Dealer -



This 1924 article discussing the addition of 9 holes (and eventual planned expansion to 36 holes total) notes the course was laid out by Stanley Thompson.  What is unclear is if this refers only to the 9 hole addition or the entire 18.  If Thompson did lay out the initial 9 holes that existed in 1922, it would most likely be his earliest work in the United States.  All of the dates in these articles seem a bit off from the dates provided in the Encyclopedia entry above.

April 6, 1924 Cleveland Plain Dealer -



As the Encyclopedia article notes, part of the Chagrin Valley course was taken over by Moreland Hills CC.  Prior to that, the portion of the course on the east side of SOM Center Road was leased to the Cleveland arm of the  National Town and Country Club, a national organization with branches in a number of cities.  NT&CC would use this land for a few years before moving on to the old Country Club (who had moved to their new location at Pepper Pike) site at Bratenahl, where it was succeeded by the Lake Shore CC.  NT&CC also built an opulent city club which remains today as Fenn Tower, a dormitory at Cleveland State University.

March 28, 1928 Cleveland Plain Dealer -



March 29, 1931 Cleveland Plain Dealer -



Chagrin Valley itself continued on with a full 18 hole course, the new (third) nine holes opening in 1928 (I can find no record of who designed this 9).  What is hard to decipher is which of the first two sets of 9 holes were turned over to NT&CC and Moreland Hills. 
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Ian Andrew

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2023, 04:45:20 PM »
He wasn't "Stanley Thompson" in 1920 - he worked for his mentor and brother still in the firm of Thompson Cumming and Thompson. He would not have been the designer for a course that opened in April 1920. He was the on site foreman working on the projects laid out by George and Nichol. When they walked away, that is when he became the principal and the solo designer we know now.

I have Trumball G&CC (Ohio) in 1922, as the first, but the conclusion at the time was a renovation after the original course. He did a renovation at Wanakah near Buffalo the same year, but the scope was much smaller. Both are in the 1922 advertisement.

My dates for Chagrin are later, 1925, and I thought he just added nine. I have no idea whether he changed the other nine. He lists the work in 1926. Sleepy Hollow was adding nine, plus some changes to the first nine and also is listed in the 1926 advertisement. Sleepy is the one that keeps showing up later lists when the others are no longer listed.


Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2023, 04:54:30 PM by Ian Andrew »
Change is good.

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2023, 11:12:46 AM »
Ian:


Best I can tell from the newspaper reports, the original 9 holes were built in 1922, not 1920/21.  That date probably works for Thompson's involvement, although I haven't seen anything that confirms this.  This nine would become the second nine holes when the course expanded to 18, and later was sold off and leased to National Town & CC and later Moreland Hills.


He certainly was involved in the second 9 holes, which were in the works in 1923 and opened in 1924.  This nine became the first nine on the first version of the 18 hole course and remains as part of the course today.


It doesn't sound like Thompson had any involvement with the third nine built which opened in 1928, which became the new front nine of the second iteration of the 18 hole course.


Sven
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2023, 01:55:43 PM »
He wasn't "Stanley Thompson" in 1920 - he worked for his mentor and brother still in the firm of Thompson Cumming and Thompson. He would not have been the designer for a course that opened in April 1920. He was the on site foreman working on the projects laid out by George and Nichol. When they walked away, that is when he became the principal and the solo designer we know now.

I have Trumball G&CC (Ohio) in 1922, as the first, but the conclusion at the time was a renovation after the original course. He did a renovation at Wanakah near Buffalo the same year, but the scope was much smaller. Both are in the 1922 advertisement.

My dates for Chagrin are later, 1925, and I thought he just added nine. I have no idea whether he changed the other nine. He lists the work in 1926. Sleepy Hollow was adding nine, plus some changes to the first nine and also is listed in the 1926 advertisement. Sleepy is the one that keeps showing up later lists when the others are no longer listed.


Hope that helps.


Ian,


I’m wondering what your information is on Thompson’s involvement with Big Met and Little Met which are both part of the Cleveland Metropark.


Big Met is reportedly one of the busiest courses in Ohio. It’s no Sleepy Hollow, not even close. But, it does have a few holes that are both fun and challenging to play, e.g., #10, 14 and 17. All three holes are about the greens, not the topography or interesting hazards.


Little Met is a nine hole course with almost no architectural interest, but it does serve the community very well as an affordable venue for beginning golfers and someone did once tell me Thompson had at least some input on developing the course.
Tim Weiman

Ian Andrew

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2023, 11:31:16 PM »
I’m wondering what your information is on Thompson’s involvement with Big Met and Little Met which are both part of the Cleveland Metropark.

Big Met is reportedly one of the busiest courses in Ohio. It’s no Sleepy Hollow, not even close. But, it does have a few holes that are both fun and challenging to play, e.g., #10, 14 and 17. All three holes are about the greens, not the topography or interesting hazards.

Little Met is a nine hole course with almost no architectural interest, but it does serve the community very well as an affordable venue for beginning golfers and someone did once tell me Thompson had at least some input on developing the course.

Unfortunately, I have nothing concrete to give you in the way of newspaper articles or advertisements. My list has Big Met in 1926 and Little Met in 1927. The only notes indicate single source - needs more research - and its Metroparks.

I know he had a branch office in Cleveland in 1924-1925. His sister had married a man from Cleveland, but I'm not sure if that is a connection or a coincidence.

The 1926 list indicates Beechmont, Chagrin Valley, Geneva, Sleepy Hollow, Squaw Creek and Turnbull. It does not list Big or Little Met.

Sorry, wish I had more to offer.




« Last Edit: February 10, 2023, 11:32:52 PM by Ian Andrew »
Change is good.

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2023, 11:49:37 PM »

Jan. 23, 1925 Cleveland Plain Dealer -

"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Ian Andrew

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2023, 08:35:28 AM »

Jan. 23, 1925 Cleveland Plain Dealer -




Thank you and it's impressive how quickly you find things.


The work "builder" as opposed to architect is an interesting choice by the writer.
He did build some courses for others.
Change is good.

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2023, 06:01:42 PM »

Jan. 23, 1925 Cleveland Plain Dealer -




Thank you and it's impressive how quickly you find things.


The work "builder" as opposed to architect is an interesting choice by the writer.
He did build some courses for others.


Ian,


Pretty sure Big Met and Little Met are in Fairview Park, not Rocky River, though both courses have the “rocky river” running next to them.


To my knowledge, the only course in the actual town of Rocky River is Westwood Country Club, a Charles Alison design, I think.


All that aside, it has been a long time since I played Sleepy Hollow. However, I can say that when Charlie Sifford was the pro there, the greens were often wicked fast.
Tim Weiman

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2023, 09:23:58 PM »
Tim:


The article is talking about Met Park.  It notes this was a municipal course and the park itself was known as the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks System (it may still be known as such).


Sven
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2023, 01:08:02 PM »
All I know is there are a ton of courses I need to see in Cleveland!
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2023, 11:40:56 PM »
Tim:


The article is talking about Met Park.  It notes this was a municipal course and the park itself was known as the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks System (it may still be known as such).


Sven


Sven,


Thanks. That makes sense. There is a difference between the Town of Rocky River and the Rocky River itself, though some of the river does go through the town going out to Lake Erie.


Anyway, Big Met is nothing special as a whole, but there interesting features on a few holes.
Tim Weiman

Ian Andrew

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2023, 11:14:30 PM »
In looking up some stuff on Sleepy Hollow in the Cleveland Plain Dealer - there was an article beside the one I wanted - that mentioned Stan having worked on a facility referred to as Metropolitan. The article was reviewing public course options around Cleveland. It said the latest facility was 27 holes and another great addition to the public golf courses in the area. This really sounds like it’s Big and Little Met.


« Last Edit: February 19, 2023, 09:24:28 AM by Ian Andrew »
Change is good.

Dean DiBerardino

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2023, 12:43:36 PM »
Please see below for some snippets from Golf Retold, The Story of Golf in Cleveland by Alice Seagrave.

Also, please note the following newspapers/periodicals referenced throughout the book…
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer
- Cleveland Town Topics (This one is referenced the most besides the CPD in the book.)
- The Cleveland Press
- The Cleveland Leader
- The Cleveland District Golfer
- The Cleveland News
- The Bystander
- Cleveland Women’s Golf Association Minutes
- The Sunday News Leader
Someone who has access to the archives of the above newspapers/periodicals may be able to find more info regarding the work of Stanley Thompson on the “North Coast”.








« Last Edit: February 19, 2023, 12:48:52 PM by Dean DiBerardino »

Dean DiBerardino

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2023, 03:05:34 PM »
Here's an aerial from 1951 that shows the current CVCC 18-hole layout on the west side of SOM Center Road and what seems to be another 18-hole layout on the east side of SOM Center Road....


Ian Andrew

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2023, 11:11:14 AM »
The Saturday Evening post article by John LaCerda references:
“On the way back to Canada, he picked up contracts at Chagrin Valley, near Cleveland, Youngstown, Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse.”
That was most likely a reference to 1925, because it talks about building Hyde Park and Neilhurst.
Change is good.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2023, 01:24:24 PM »
I love that Niagara Falls (Hyde Park) is called "Buffalo."
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Ian Andrew

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Re: Chagrin Valley
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2023, 09:08:12 PM »
I love that Niagara Falls (Hyde Park) is called "Buffalo."


Hyde Park and Neilhurst were Florida projects he was working.
He stopped in each city listed on the way back from Florida.


The Buffalo work was Wanakah
Syracuse was Onondaga
Not sure what the Rochester job was.
Change is good.

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