Firestone Country Club
Clubhouse in 2006
|Established||1929, 85 years ago|
|Tournaments hosted||WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (1962–present)
(1960, 1966, 1975)
|Designed by||Bert Way (1929)
redesigned in 1960 by
Robert Trent Jones
|Length||7,283 yards (6,660 m)|
|Designed by||Robert Trent Jones (1969)|
|Length||7,125 yards (6,515 m)|
|Designed by||Tom Fazio (1989)|
|Length||6,904 yards (6,313 m)|
The club comprises three courses—those of the North, South, and West. In 1974 the club hosted three televised golf events: the American Golf Classic, the CBS Golf Classic and the World Series of Golf. No other club has hosted three televised golf events in the same calendar year.
One of four World Golf Championships constituent events, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, directed by the International Federation of PGA Tours and sanctioned on the PGA and European Tours, is contested at the club. The North and West courses also serve as the home course for the University of Akron Zips golf team.
Harvey Firestone commissioned the club 85 years ago in 1929 as a park for employees of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Its first course, the South, was designed by Bert Way and opened on August 10, 1929, with Firestone driving the first ball. A major redesign by Robert Trent Jones in 1960 added over 50 bunkers, two ponds and brought the course up to 7,189 yards (6,574 m) at par 70. The course was redesigned by Golforce in 1985 and played at 7,400 yards (6,767 m) for the WGC event in 2013.
The North course was designed by Jones and opened 45 years ago in 1969. Firestone's West was the last course to be added, opening in 1989. First conceived by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva, it went through a redesign in 2002 by Tom Fazio.
A driving range was added in 1994; it was the first area of the club open to the public. Finally, in 1995, a nine-hole course, the Raymond C. Firestone, was opened for public play.
The Rubber City Open was the first tournament held at Firestone, from 1954 through 1959. The PGA Championship has been held at the South Course three times: 1960, 1966, and 1975. This exposure led to a new event, the American Golf Classic, which ran from 1961 to 1976.
Since 1962, the World Series of Golf, now known as the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, has been held at Firestone, usually on the South course. It was an unofficial four-man event over 36 holes through 1975, then became a limited field event over 72 holes in 1976.
During the 1975 PGA Championship's third round of play, Jack Nicklaus pulled out a remarkable par on the 16th hole, considered to be the hardest hole on Firestone's courses. He then went on to close the four-stroke lead held by Bruce Crampton, ultimately winning his 4th PGA Championship. Tiger Woods also had a memorable moment when his "shot in the dark" on the 18th hole grabbed him the victory at the 2000 World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational (NEC was the title sponsor through 2005).
- 1. Championship – slope: 128, rating: 75.1, 7,139 yards (6,528 m)
- 2. Member – slope: 122, rating: 71.2, 6,379 yards (5,833 m)
- 3. Ladies' – slope: 127, rating: 72.8, 5,560 yards (5,080 m)
South Course – The Monster
This course was designed from the start to be championship level. It has been the host of over 70 professional tournaments. After scoring a triple-bogey on the 16th hole during the first PGA Championship held at the course, Arnold Palmer called it a "Monster". The name stayed and struck such a chord with frustrated golfers that the entire South course is now known fondly as "The Monster".
- 1st Hole, 399 yard, par-4
- 2nd Hole, 497 yard, par-5
- 3rd Hole, 442 yard, par-4
- 4th Hole, 471 yard, par-4 Another long par 4, the second shot is where golfers get themselves into trouble; the height of the green requires quite a bit of lift.
- 5th Hole, 200 yard, par-3 While still a good length, this par 3 is considered to be one of the easier holes on the course.
- 6th Hole, 469 yard, par-4 Length alone adds a great deal of difficulty to this par 4, often noted to be the most difficult hole on the course.
- 7th Hole, 219 yard, par-3
- 8th Hole, 452 yard, par-4
- 9th Hole, 484 yard, par-4
- 10th Hole, 410 yard, par-4
- 11th Hole, 370 yard, par-4
- 12th Hole, 180 yard, par-3
- 13th Hole, 471 yard, par-4
- 14th Hole, 467 yard, par-4
- 15th Hole, 221 yard, par-3 A long par 3 is difficult enough, but the hidden left bunker proves fatal for many a golfer.
- 16th Hole, 667 yard, par-5 One of the longest par 5s in existence, its pond in front of the green adds more than its fair share of difficulty to the hole.
- 17th Hole, 400 yard, par-4
- 18th Hole, 464 yard, par-4 With a long narrow profile and a green surrounded by bunkers, this is a difficult par 4 to birdie.
A championship level course, the North is famous for its many lakes and streams. While considered the most scenic course of the three, it has only been host to two tournaments.
- 1st Hole, 398 yard, par-4
- 2nd Hole, 387 yard, par-4
- 3rd Hole, 449 yard, par-4
- 4th Hole, 423 yard, par-4
- 5th Hole, 533 yard, par-5
- 6th Hole, 214 yard, par-3
- 7th Hole, 534 yard, par-5 Water comes into play if approach shot is hit too long.
- 8th Hole, 178 yard, par-3
- 9th Hole, 431 yard, par-4
- 10th Hole, 364 yard, par-4
- 11th Hole, 201 yard, par-3 Almost an island green with water surrounding 3 sides of the green.
- 12th Hole, 427 yard, par-4
- 13th Hole, 441 yard, par-4
- 14th Hole, 441 yard, par-4
- 15th Hole, 341 yard, par-4
- 16th Hole, 560 yard, par-5 Water comes into play if approach shot is hit too long.
- 17th Hole, 218 yard, par-3 Another hole with water surrounding 3 sides of the green.
- 18th Hole, 520 yard, par-5
The final championship course on the grounds and host to the annual Ohio Senior Open.
- 1st Hole, 444 yard, par-4
- 2nd Hole, 392 yard, par-4
- 3rd Hole, 211 yard, par-3
- 4th Hole, 324 yard, par-4
- 5th Hole, 356 yard, par-4
- 6th Hole, 467 yard, par-4
- 7th Hole, 191 yard, par-3
- 8th Hole, 484 yard, par-4
- 9th Hole, 625 yard, par-5
- 10th Hole, 426 yard, par-4
- 11th Hole, 448 yard, par-4
- 12th Hole, 170 yard, par-3
- 13th Hole, 492 yard, par-5
- 14th Hole, 147 yard, par-3
- 15th Hole, 476 yard, par-4
- 16th Hole, 244 yard, par-3
- 17th Hole, 525 yard, par-5
- 18th Hole, 482 yard, par-4
- "Course Rating and Slope Database: Firestone Country Club: South". USGA. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- "Course Rating and Slope Database: Firestone Country Club: North". USGA. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- "Course Rating and Slope Database: Firestone Country Club: West". USGA. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- "History – 80 years of renowned golf". Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- "2012–13 Akron Men's Golf Media Guide". Retrieved August 1, 2013.