Who says you can't go home again?
Taking the job of superintendent at a rejuvenated Hueston Woods State Park Golf Course in southwestern Ohio, has been a coming home of sorts for superintendent Chris Dynes. Dynes, a native of nearby Oxford, home of Miami University, Dynes grew up playing Hueston Woods.
"In the late 1980s, early '90s this was as difficult of a public golf course as any place I had seen, and we're talking Beth Page Black," said Dynes. "In my opinion, this is the best public layout within 50 miles."
Opened in 1969, Hueston Woods was designed by golf course architect Jack Kidwell, who left his mark across about a half-dozen state park golf courses throughout Ohio. Kidwell, with an eye on the game's future, built Hueston Woods at about 7,100 yards. Set on 260 acres inside a 5,000-acre park, Hueston Woods has plenty of room to expand, which is part of the plan since Dynes started there and has begun restoring the course.
"If we stretch every inch of it, we can get to about 7,500 yards," Dynes said. "But we have to remember we are a state park, and 90 percent of our play comes from 18-handicappers."
Hueston Woods once was home to the Miami University golf teams and was the site of collegiate tournaments and was a mini-tour stop.
As the golf industry declined so too did conditions on the golf course.
Dynes, a 2012 graduate of the Ohio State turf school, had been working abroad in Australia and later England, when he played Hueston Woods during a trip home to see family. He'd learned on that trip that the job at Hueston Woods.
He was introduced to work overseas through the Ohio Program at OSU, the same program that had brought then Hueston Woods superintendent Matthew Bourne from England to the U.S.
Since taking the job in 2021, Dynes' focus has been reviving the course he knew as a youngster.
Besides introducing new cultural practices designed to replace weeds with turf, Dynes has Hueston's future in mind.
With a little work, he says, the course could be back on the college tour circuit.
"For an old course, it has length and it's strategic," Dynes said. "When it's dialed in, I'd put this course up against anyplace."