Cleveland Metroparks has a gift for preserving and managing some of the most beautiful landscapes in northeast Ohio. Many of them were once prominent industrialist estates (gentleman’s farms) of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Huntington Reservation (John Huntington), North Chagrin Reservation (Feargus B. Squire), and Hinckley Reservation (John F. Johnson), and others helped comprise some of Cleveland Metroparks finest park and recreation lands.
Manakiki Golf Course, another millionare’s estate (Howard M. Hanna) is one of Cleveland Metroparks most elegant and challenging golf courses. First established as a private course, Willowick Country Club in 1929, the name changed to Manakiki Country Club in 1930. This memorable name means “Forest of Maple Trees” in the Ojibway language.
Manakiki Country Club - 1930
The nationally known Scottish golf course designer and professional golfer, Donald Ross, designed Manakiki in 1928. He was fond of the name. He remarked that, “it was distinctive and stayed in the mind.” The name also reflected the natural features of the course. Mr. Ross was famously known to incorporate and use the natural topography to inspire his highly acclaimed golf courses, up to 400 in his lifetime.
Ross said, “Every hole (at Manakiki) is different. As you go around the course you will never have the idea of sameness from any tee. That, I believe is one of the most interesting features of this very splendid course.”
1928 - Willowick Country Club before it was opened to the public.
Donald Ross was the architect of many Greater Cleveland area courses: Acacia Country Club (1923), Hawethorn Valley Country Club (1926), Mayfield Country Club (1935), Oakwood Club (1915), and Shaker Heights Country Club (1915).
The Hanna Mansion was converted and expanded into a first class 310 ft. long club house that featured luxurious furnishings, parlors, dining room and stone locker room, making Manakiki a “major league golf plant – one that can take its place with the best in the nation.” Manakiki was chosen as the home of The Carling Open in 1953 -54, a PGA tour that was sponsored by Carling Brewing Co. based out of Cleveland.
Eventually owners James and Fanny Brown donated the country club to Cleveland Metropolitan Park District in 1944. It remained a private course until 1960. In 1961 the course was open for public use.
William Stinchcomb, Mr. Hazelwwood, Fanny Brown, James Brown and Mr.Klein at Manakiki Golf Course - 1947
The hand of time has fashioned an elegant landscape that has taken many turns through the generations. With each caretaker, the property has been enjoyed by literally thousands of admirers. Native Americans, early homesteaders, a millionaire industrialists and his family, a Scottish architect, professionals from the Greater Cleveland area and the public still enjoy the “Forest of Maple Trees” we call Manakiki. One of Cleveland Metroparks finest!