We’re on a quest for the best public golf course in the Cincinnati area. And we’re gonna talk about the golf club at Stonelick Hills in Batavia, Ohio! My name is Eric Sztanyo from Keller Williams Realty and team Sztanyo.com, where we are helping you find your home, and strengthen your family. If you guys are just wanting the golf review then check this out! We talked about the best school neighborhoods, areas to live in, new construction, and all that good stuff, but we also wanna help you have a good time! And that is what you will have in Stonelick Hills!
What Stonelick Hills Public Golf Club Can Offer
When you move here to Cincinnati, we wanna help you understand what’s it like to live in Cincinnati. We’re trying to fill this out with some new topics about living here. And today we’re gonna look at golf because playing golf is fun and I like playing golf and we’re headed out to a golf club that I’ve never been to before. The golf club at Stonelick Hills and Batavia, Ohio. Now I grew up in Northern Kentucky. I’ve played all the public courses there. Cincinnati’s pretty new to me. So this is a new course. I’m excited about that. If you look at something, if you Google some of the best public courses in the Cincinnati area, this one’s consistently at the top of the list. We’re gonna see for ourselves what it’s all about.
The golf club at Stonelick Hills was established in 2004. And the course designer is Jeff Osterfeld. Experience one of a kind course routed through heavily forested Hills and over and around numerous ponds and lakes. Stonelick Hills is a truly premium golf experience and it was designed and built to be a pure golf-only environment.
It was my first time playing at Stonelick Hills and I’ve gotta be honest. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since leaving there. It was such a beautiful course. And the more research I’ve done on the course, cuz I went back to the website. The more I’m kind of understanding the story behind it and the designer who made it, why it’s all making sense. And it’s such a unique and beautiful place. I wanna tell you a little bit more about that. Now the designer and owner of the golf club at Stonelick Hills is a man named Jeff Osterfeld. You probably don’t know who that is, but if you live around here in the Cincinnati area or maybe nearby in the region, you’ll know another company that Jeff started, which is Penn station incorporated.
Penn Station is this amazing sandwich shop. If you’ve never had it, if you’re coming to Cincinnati, you’re gonna fall in love. They make toasted subs, Philly cheesecakes, chicken teriyaki, and sandwiches. All on fantastic rolls hand, cut fries, amazing lemonade. The place is just spectacular and they’ve grown phenomenally throughout the years. So I know you’ve heard about skyline chili and all the different restaurants here in Cincinnati. You gotta make sure you try Penn station.
Now, I don’t know Jeff personally, but back when I was involved in young life in Anderson Township, his youngest daughter, Corey was involved in the ministry as well. We got to know her. She’s an amazing person. So I’m sure that the entire family is amazing. If Corey’s any reflection of the entire family. What’s pretty remarkable, when I look at the website here is Jeff had no previous experience as a golf course designer. He just simply read half a dozen books on the subject and then he jumped in with both feet.
Our tagline here at Team Sztanyo is to find your home, and strengthen your family. And we believe that home is where families grow strong together. As I think about that as a father, I’m a father of five kids. And I think about how can I parent my four sons and my one daughter well. Not only now when they’re in my house, but I’m gonna be their dad for as long as I live and I wanna be with them as long as I live. I’ve talked a lot about it on this channel about how Cincinnati is a city where you can put down roots. And so my vision and my dream is that I’m sitting around the dining room table with my kids and I’m parenting and I’m fathering them into their twenties, into their thirties, into their forties. When they’re going through school, when they’re getting married, when they’re having their kids, when they’re starting their own businesses, I’m really excited about that. And when I think about the activities that I want our family to be about, golf is one of them. It has a tradition in my family, but golf has stayed with me. And it’s because it’s one of those activities in sports you can actually do as an adult, as long as your back holds up, which gosh, Lord, you guys can pray for me on that. I’ve had a lot of problems with that over the last 20 years.
But I’ve introduced my kids to golf in the last few years, my two older boys, they played in a golf league earlier this year in Florence, Kentucky at the world of golf, highly recommend it. And the idea is this may not be your favorite thing now, but one of the reasons I’m introducing you to golf is that when you are older, I want to have a connection point with you where when you’re going through things, I wanna be able to get on the golf course with you, have a good time, enjoy each other and make sure we’re having fun, having a fun activity while we’re talking about what’s going on in each other’s lives.
So I love that about golf. I think there’s a lot of other activities you can do that with, but it’s certainly, Team Sztanyo, for my own personal family, it’s fun. I love the game. So there’s a strategic reason, I want to be interacting with my children into their adult years. Maybe you’ve never thought about family activities that way. I know I’m constantly thinking about what’s the long-term vision of this thing. And so I don’t know. That’s just a little bonus hit from Sztanyo family here. I hope that helps you out. I just wanna read to you guys some of the history and how the course was developed. Cause now that I’m thinking back on it, after playing there for the day, I see the vision of it and it’s got my juices going.
I’m like, man, this is really well designed. So if you jump to their about page on the website, I’m gonna just read a few paragraphs here. This is Jeff Osterfeld talking the owner designer.
“In just about every major city I’ve traveled in my lifetime, there exists at least one upscale golf club that was truly built just for golf. Sounds pretty logical, right? No, not necessarily. He said most new clubs in Cincinnati in the last 10 to 20 years were built with an eye towards the ultimate goal, profit. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. Many of these are real estate deals that disguise as golf clubs.”
So you’ve got these developers buying at the big land. You build the golf course, but you’re really trying to sell the houses.
“The course is built. Lots are sold. Homes are constructed surrounding each hole. And eventually, the original developer sells the course to the homeowners and heads off to the next project. The golf experience is forever polluted by the economic necessity of an invasive residential community. “
Okay. So if you understand the story of stolen kills, you can kind of get into the mind of Jeff. He’s like, I’ve played all these courses, all the homes and they’re driven by economics. I don’t want to build that. So let me continue here.
“Stonelick Hills will always be different. You have my word. Although there are a few home sites, they will be adjacent to just two wooded holes and will be out of play, not in plain view of the golfer, the driving force behind Stonelick Hills, is the design and build a pure golf-only environment and spend my remaining years improving all aspects of the golf experience lifetime labor of love.”
Okay, so here’s a guy, the owner of the designer of this course is committing to you the public golf course player. “That I’m gonna build this most amazing golf experience. I’m gonna keep it pure. I’m not gonna sell out. I’ve made my money on this other business already, essentially with the success of Penn station. And now I’m gonna build something that’s really pure that you’re really going to enjoy”
“Cash created by operations will be used to improve the course and fully monetize the clubhouse and the surrounding property. The ultimate goal is to have the finest public course in the state with a relatively small select membership. We are well on our way, my staff and I welcome you to experience a one-of-a-kind course routed through heavily forested Hills and over and around numerous ponds and lakes. All golfers from every set of tees will appreciate the uniqueness of each hole and feel individually challenged by the variety of shots necessary to complete such a strategic layout”
That without having read this history and doing a ton of research before I went out in Stonelick Hills, that was what I took away when I was sitting with Rhet on the 19th hole there. Thinking about the course was like, man, you, we really had to stop and think, what club were we gonna use? We could go for it with driver here, but you’re bringing in more risk. Maybe I should just play a five iron or a four iron or three iron, or the three wood. Seemed like almost every par five. You could go for it two, but it’s probably wiser to do a three-shot approach. So you really had to think through the round.
Stonelick Hills is the best public course I’ve played in Cincinnati. The top public course, I would think I’ve played was a lasting point in Union, Kentucky. Here, you gotta think a lot more. We, we were pausing in the fairways, bringing out the GPS and trying to understand distances because there’s so much water, you can’t just, you know, grip it and rip it. You kind of have to think through your approach shot a lot more. So I enjoyed that.
And, as I went to bed last night, I actually went back to the website and I went through all the different holes thinking about what did I do there? What I didn’t. And it’s made me want to go back and play it again, because you’re gonna have this unique experience really every time based on kind of how you’re playing, but also what are the conditions of the day, enjoy your round as a relaxing stroll, through nature, inhabited by the variety of wildlife, typical of such unspoiled surroundings.
I will say, I may have hit a ball or two in the woods. And while I was looking for that, I kicked up deer all over the place. They also brought in, you know, these bison and their names are Divot and Duff. So there’s a little bit of a marketing approach with that.
They have two Buffalo on this course, which is unique and rare. And they’re gonna kind of rebrand from that. But between whole one and whole 10 is this little Buffalo preserve. Some of you may not know it, but I went to Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. Lipscomb Bisons, this guy right here, this big fella. Yeah. He looks exactly like the bison on LU’s campus that got, has about 87,000 coats of paint on it.
“Don’t let the climax created by the beauty and drama. So evident in the finishing holes impede your ability to fully appreciate the genuine balance in the design and the conditioning of the entire golf course. I truly hope we exceed your expectations in your visit as a relaxing escape from the hectic pace of today.”
Mr. Osterfeld thank you. Like what he envisioned and wrote on this page on the about page, I think is exactly what I experienced. It’s got me wanting to go back and play it again. It’s got me thinking about the shots that I played, the shots that I would maybe do differently next time. It was just a really phenomenal experience and it truly was unspoiled. I mean, there were a few houses on the course. There was one whole, I think it was whole number 5 that has a beautiful house off kind of across a little bit of a pond. I’m gonna guess that might be the owner and designer, Mr. Osterfelds home.
My buddy and I were kind of joking while we were playing. Like that would be the house. That would be the one we’d like to live in right there. And as we were even heading out, we saw the driveway to the home. We’re like good job. We were like, whoever did that house way to go. Good for you. You’ve got an amazing house on a beautiful golf course. But other than that, you’re playing in this like a nature preserve,
So the vision of not selling out and selling and having all these homes all around it is true. You’re playing in the woods, you’re playing with the ponds. I am just kind of overwhelmed by how cool the vision has played out here to build such a fun and beautiful track.
So how does this stack up? I mean, you can go to their accolades page and look at some of these that they’ve won over the years. Back in 2005, their island green number 9 was named the most beautiful hole in the tri-state area. Back in golf advisor, 2017, they were ranked the number 34th best golf course in the world by customer reviews. In 2019 of golf advisor, they were ranked the number one best public course in Ohio by golf advisor in 2020, they have ranked the number 15 golfers choice awards in the United States. And in 2021, they won again, the number 1 public course in Ohio by golf advisors.
So this is a course. That’s living up to the hype. It’s winning awards. People are taking notice. And when you’ve got an owner that says, no, I’m committed for the rest of my life to making this an extremely pleasurable and amazing golf experience. You got something going on here. Let me show you guys what the rates are and the membership costs in case you’re interested in checking it out.
Greens fees, cart, and practice balls Monday through Thursday, open through close Friday and Sunday after 2:00 PM and Saturday after 2:00 PM, only $76 to play this course and have the practice facilities. That’s amazing. The senior rate Monday through Thursday, before noon is only $56 to play. Friday and Sunday, open to 2:00 PM. And Saturday open until 2:00 PM is $96 to play. So obviously that’s a busy time, more on the weekends. And once you get into April and October, the rates are even going down from there.
Guys, you can look at all the details, but the membership rates here are very attainable. They have different levels. You can have a social membership, which is 50% off the green fees, any day, anytime for only $1,300 for the year, they have a Twilight membership, which is unlimited play after 2:00 PM for two grand. They have a weekday plan, which is unlimited play Monday through Thursday and after 2:00 PM, Friday and Sunday for $2,400. And they have a single membership unlimited play any day, anytime $3,700. You can pick which level you want guys. Pretty, pretty awesome pricing for what you’re getting at this course.
Before we got outta here. I want to say a big thank you to Mike Sowqards, the general manager at Stonelick Hills and everyone at the Stonelick Hills golf club for making it such an enjoyable experience for us. We appreciate you guys and hope that many more people come and enjoy this beautiful golf course.
Team Sztanyo is Your Trusted Realtor in Cincinnati!
So is the golf club at Stonelick Hills, the best public course in Cincinnati? For my money right now. Yeah, it’s the best one I’ve played. And when you’ve got rankings in golf advisor, that you’re not only the best in Cincinnati but the best public course in all of Ohio? Guys, you gotta make sure you check out this course, get out there and play and see for yourself. Leave a comment below. If you’ve played there. What do you think? Any other courses that have it beat for the price for the play? Let me know if this content was helpful for you, I hope you liked it. Click the thumbs up, and subscribe to the channel. Typically again, this is a real estate channel in Cincinnati, but I’m trying to also give anyone who’s moving here a feel for the city at large. Thank you all so much!