Downing Municipal Golf Course
Address: 1351 Troupe Road, Harborcreek, PA 16421-1032
Phone: (814) 899-5827
Yardage: 7092 (Blue), 6653 (White), 5829 (Gold), 5568 (Red)
1. Downing is open all year (weather permitting)
2. Paved cart paths
3. The price
4. The flat terrain for easy walking
5. The specials and deals
6. The putting green, chipping green, and nearby driving range
7. The friendly staff
1. The Clubhouse
2. Lake Erie Driving Range (right next door)
3. Buffalo Road – plenty of places to eat, drink, or shop
Alcohol can be purchased in the clubhouse. Players cannot bring their own alcohol.
At the request of a friend, I chose Downing Municipal Golf Course for this week’s profile. Downing is one of two municipal golf courses in the Erie area (with J.C. Martin being the other). I hadn’t been out to Downing in a year or two, so it was fun to discover the course again,
Downing opened in 1962 and gets its name from Charles “Bus” Downing, who was a member of City Council.
The golf course was built on mostly flat land, which makes for an easy trek. The holes are tightly packed together, but the fairways remain wide open for golfers to approach the greens. Numerous trees define the holes to make sure the course isn’t too forgiving.
I found that some of the holes had sand traps, while others did not. Downing also has two ponds and a creek, which come into play on three holes total. Even with the lack of consistent hazards, Downing still finds ways to infuriate golfers.
As I drove a cart around the course, I started to remember the holes. I also remembered the troubles I had on them. Downing is a deceptively long course and the hazards the course does have were cleverly placed.
A giant putting green is located directly behind the first tee box so golfers can warm up while waiting to play. Chet Widowski, who works at the course, told me that Downing also has a chipping green that they like to call the “Bullpen.”
I was surprised to find out that Lake Erie Driving Range (owned by Dan Steen) is not associated with Downing even though the parking lots connect to each other. At one point in time, the driving range was a part of Downing, but that is no longer the case. Either way, the range’s proximity to the course cannot be beat for those looking to hit some extra golf balls.
Downing has a lot of big things to offer golfers, but it is also important to make note of the little things. I was happy to find paved cart paths all across the course (something that is a rarity among Erie golf courses). I also noticed that benches were located on all of the tee boxes and there were even a few rain shelters.
A restroom is also located on the course that can be accessed from both the sixth and 13th holes. A concession stand sits between the front and back nine, so golfers can grab a snack if they are craving something. Downing also has a few vending machines and tables around the clubhouse.
Downing’s clubhouse is unique in appearance. After the original clubhouse burned down, this one was built in its place. It is made of a white stone and looks a little too artsy to be found on a golf course.
A pro shop can be found on the first floor along with both men and women’s locker rooms. The second floor of the clubhouse is usually reserved for parties and other gatherings.
I was impressed by all that Downing had to offer golfers, but one thing stood out from the rest. I was told that Downing is open all year around as long as the weather permits. I had never heard of something like that considering the fact that Erie gets pummeled with snow every year.
But apparently Downing opens on the nicer days of the cold months and people actually go and play. I have never golfed in the winter before, and I’m willing to bet that is the case with most people (golfing down south doesn’t count).
I’m sure many Erie golfers get the itch to play some golf while waiting for spring to arrive, so this seems to be a perfect solution.