Free-Wheeling in Wheeling’s Oglebay Resort

DSCN2090Water, bold bunkering, and dramatic elevation changes are just part of the allure at the Palmer Design Course at the Oglebay Resort. Shown here is a view of the spectacular par-three 13th measuring 196 yards from the tips. 


I am blessed to write many reviews of golf courses and resorts and this is one that I couldn’t wait to publish. West Virginia’s Oglebay Resort is just an hour’s drive from the Pittsburgh airport is a really special place, and a nice surprise for me. Great golf is just the beginning; did you know that Wheeling-owned Oglebay is the only municipally owned self-sustaining resort in America?


DSCN1921Wonderfully appointed rooms, delicious restaurants, a comfortable spa, a zoo, and a glass-blowing museum are only a few of the other attractions you can enjoy at the Oglebay Resort. When you add the attentive, friendly service, Oglebay Resort is set to delight and surprise you too!


1,700 hilly wooded acres that were deeded to the City of Wheeling now are the setting for three distinctly different golf courses – the original Crispin Golf Course, the Spiedel Course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and the Klieves Course fashioned by the Arnold Palmer Group.


The Crispin Course is likely the course you will begin your game with and maybe finish your golfing days on. It’s extra hilly with nary a flat lie with the only flat stance being the tee boxes. There are no forced carries, and less than a handful of bunkers, but the tiny, often pushed up greens making birdies much more elusive than you might presume. Actually the Crispin is no nondescript “bunny slope” course, but a fun, engaging one. Even accomplished players will be tested on the 5,627 yards hitting the small targets from the uneven lies.



You may not travel to Oglebay to play the Crispin Course, but once you’re there, you just may fall in love with its tiny greens, and wild terrain. Shown above is the par-five 12th and below the par-four 3rd.



The Spiedel Course (a.k.a. Jones Course) put Oglebay on the map golf-wise. Hosting the LPGA for eleven years as well as continuing got hold important amateur and collegiate competitions, it is longest and toughest of the lot. It stretches out over 7,000 yards and features a straightforward, no-nonsense test again over hilly terrain. On the outgoing nine, the greens appear surprisingly flat with a few general slopes, but rest assured, nothing in a mountain environment such as this is ever what it appears. Then, for some reason, the putting surfaces on the incoming nine are anything but flat.


DSCN1968Looking back on the very narrow, canted fairway of the par-five 8th hole on the Jones Design Course. 


Strong par-threes and some meaty two-shotters all with long tee boxes are reflect the classic Trent Jones Sr. design that you might expect, but the two relatively short par-fives on the front nine are both unique without being contrived. Both dogleg right, but require cunning lay-ups.



Sand and wild undulations in the green (not visible in this picture) are the major challenge on the par-three 9th hole on the Palmer Design Course.


The Klieves (a.k.a. Palmer Course) is the newest addition and presented and priced as the premium layout of the group. For me, it happens to be my favorite of the Oglebay Courses and even those designed by the Palmer Group. Manicured ribbons of exquisitely manicured fairways spill over the rugged terrain and the isolated section of the course that makes up the 4th through 16th holes is simply spectacular. There are some exhilarating elevations changes, dramatic stylized bunkering, and the silky smooth putting surfaces have lots of character. What a golf course!


The little 9-hole pitch-in-putt makes for a fun jaunt.

The little 9-hole pitch-in-putt makes for a fun jaunt.

By the way, there is even a fun, little 9-hole pitch-and-putt course tucked away in the trees with holes ranging from 55 to 126 yards to allow you to work on your short game or perhaps introduce a newcomer to the game. And I’m not finished. There is also a 30-station lighted driving range that converts to a ski slope during the winter so you can imagine what a beautiful vista it offers.


What a fun resort Oglebay is! It was barely on my radar screen, but with everything I’ve described, this is an absolute delight to visit and can fit the bill for most any size group or style of golfer with so much more to do. Visit there and I’ll bet you agree.

One Response to “Free-Wheeling in Wheeling’s Oglebay Resort”

  1. Roger W. Stewart

    I have played all three (3) courses numerous times and I totally agree on the challenges of the Jones Course. However, I firmly believe that by playing the Jones Course on a regular basis 2 to 3 times per week I have become a better player.
    Jones will bring out the best in you if you want a challenge.

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