Destination: Oakland County Golf
By Thad Gutowski and Art McCafferty
Much has happened since we last visited Oakland County in 1998. A number of new courses have debuted, namely Oakhurst Golf and Country Club and new nines at Pine Knob and Copper Hills. Scheduled to open this year are Shepherd's Hollow and Boulder Pointe, both of which will be profiled in our June issue. Art Hills is also bringing on a new course in Lyons Township in 2001.
Oakland County is hot. L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive, graced the cover of Corp. Magazine recently. The county has become the home of Automation Alley, one of the nation's leading software developments. In addition, it seems that there is building going on everywhere. The county's infrastructure is continually being further strained, and traffic jams on portions of I-75 are becoming legendary.
It would figure that one of the richest areas in the country would have its share of golf courses. Oakland County, with its 77 public and private golf courses, has the most of any county in Michigan. Oakland has the storied courses in Oakland Hills, Wabeek and Pine Lake as well as some of the newer ones in Twin Lakes, Copper Hills, Blackheath and Fieldstone.
Michael O'Callaghan, the Executive Vice President & CEO of the Metropolitan Detroit Convention & Visitors Bureau and Janis Schmees, Account Executive of Area Marketing for the Metropolitan Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, are starting to focus more of their time on golf and golf packages for the hotel properties they represent. Some of those properties include, the Northfield Hilton, the Holiday Inn-Troy, Auburn Hills Hilton Suites, Doubletree Guest Suites-Troy and Marriott-Troy. Oakland County golf offers everything in the way of golf for all strata of players.
One of the very first things you will discover when you arrive here is that this course is not bald nor on a mountain. You will find instead, a well conditioned 18 holes, with gently rolling, somewhat wide-open fairways and excellent greens. There are at least three holes you will remember about Bald Mountain. No. 3, with a green about 100 feet higher than the fairway makes this short (340-yard) par-4 a tough test. No. 6, a 431-yard uphill par-4 requires two "A-game" shots to get home in regulation. On No. 17, you will find something most unusual: not one, but two separate greens--one for men and the other for women. If you need a few holes to get your swing in groove, Bald Mountain's 1,500-yard nine-hole executive course should help minimize this malady. (TG)
248.373.1110; 3350 Kern Road; Lake Orion
This course certainly has an appropriate name, because with all the water and wetlands, there is most likely a huge colony of beavers someplace on the property. Fourteen of the 18 holes are adjacent to golf-ball-devouring wetlands, so self discipline is crucial to minimizing penalties. The 13th hole is a test of club selection and swing tempo to stop the ball on an island green 172 yards away. At 6,306 yards this course is certainly not long, but the 129 slope rating gives you a pretty good idea as the level of difficulty. (TG)
248.693.7170; 859 Stoney Creek Road; Oakland
Beech Woods / Evergreen Hills
These are two separate courses at different locations, but both are owned by the city of Southfield and managed by Terri Ryan, one of the area's top PGA teaching professionals. There the similarity ends, because each course has its own personality.
Beech Woods is somewhat short with tree-lined fairways, a few ponds and greens that tend to be on the slow side. Evergreen Hills is a touch longer and a little more wide open with quicker greens. Evergreen was totally rebuilt by Bruce Matthews III of Design 3. Certainly the advantage to both of these is their location, right in the heart of one of the area's largest communities. (TG)
248.355.4653; 248.354.4866; 22202 Beech Road 26000 Evergreen Road ; Southfield
Though the original Blackheath is an area of England's West Midlands, this links style course is a highbred American-Scottish design. With a minimal amount of trees, huge areas of tall thick marsh grass ready to reach out to grab an off-line shot, and rolling fairways with very narrow landing areas, it is quite obvious that keeping it in the short stuff is critical to not only scoring well, but keeping your golf ball supply from diminishing rapidly. Blackheath fully defines the term "target golf." Open only a couple of years, Blackheath will some day be everything promised earlier, the sequel to the award winning Gailles near Oscoda. (TG)
248.601.8000; 3311 North Rochester Road; Oakland
Bogie Lake is a very hilly and open course on the front nine and then gets a little tougher on its narrow and wooded back nine. Local knowledge is important in playing this course, because of its maturing layout. No. 10, is still a favorite for the long ball hitters who like to drive par-4s and the dogleg at No. 12 is also reachable with a career drive to this downhill green.
248-363-4449; 11231 Bogie Lake; White Lake
Boulder Pointe Golf Club is scheduled to open this July. Located in Oxford, Boulder Pointe will offer three nines: The Bluffs, The Peaks and The Dunes, along with full conference facilities. The championship holes can get nasty from the back with 7,478 yards and a 140 slope awaiting unsuspecting golfers. It is part of the Michigan Grand Golf Trail.
248-969-1500; One Champions Circle; Oxford www.migrandgolftrail.com
Though relatively short, Bramblewood offers a rather wide variety of interesting holes. With a mix of flat and hilly fairways, doglegs, blind shots, water hazards and large tilted greens, you may feel a need to play this course a couple of times before participating in that $10 Nassau. Though not easy to find, Bramblewood however is certainly worth the trip and the price. (TG)
248.634.3481; 2154 Bramblewood Drive; Holly
Brentwood a relatively short course, 6,220 from the back, that has its share of challenges. It has a big-time clubhouse that will serve the golf community's various functions. Now four years old, it is starting to mature. It has become one of nine courses on Jim Dewling's Michigan Grand Golf Trail.
248-684-2662; 2450 Havenwood Rd.; White Lake, migrandgolftrail.com
When you have a 6,500 yard course with a slope rating of 132 covering 160 acres with 40 acres of wetlands, you know it is not going to be a boring day on the links. Cattails is the antithesis of most public golf courses. Host PGA Professional Dave Sias says it really is quite simple: sound course management and accurate shotmaking will be amply rewarded. But don't be deterred by all this, because Cattails is an incredibly fair and fun place to play whatever your skill level, especially the second time around after you have discovered where not to hit it. Always in outstanding condition thanks to Course Superintendent Doug Palm, Cattails is certainly one course you will look forward to playing more than once. (TG)
248.486.8777; 57737 West Nine Mile Road; South Lyon
Clarkston Creek, a par-71 course playing to 6,316 yards, is a fairly straightforward course, with very few trouble spots. Certainly there are some water holes and a bunker here and there, but golfers should be able to score quite well on this course. However, they have been involved in a big tree planting program, so all this could change in 10-15 years. They have lots of power lines on the course and they could be a distraction. The golf, though, is very affordable.
248-625-3731; 6060 Maybee; Clarkston
The names of the three nine-hole layouts here are certainly self-descriptive: Hills, Marsh and Jungle. The first two opened a couple of years ago with the Jungle making its debut in '99. And as one may anticipate, each presents a somewhat different venue. The Hills has rather dramatic elevation changes. The Marsh puts a lot of water and wetlands in play, and the Jungle has everything but Tarzan and Jane. But all have one thing in common: they offer a pleasant overall experience in a beautiful area in Oakland County. (TG)
248.969.9808; 2125 Lakeville Road; Oxford
This is a course for big hitters, measuring 7,201 yards with all of its par-3s in the 200-yard range. However, the landing areas are massive and the amenities for the course are quite good. The course, opened in 1996, has become an Oakland County favorite.
248-486-1228; 28700 Milford Rd.; New Hudson
In spite of the somewhat daunting name, this course now in its sixth season, is turning into a heavenly place to play. With recent refinements and improvements, Devil's Ridge offers a challenging but very user-friendly atmosphere. The dramatic elevation changes and panoramic views from almost any spot on the course add much to the experience. Since last season, course Superintendent Bob Blitchok and his staff, have worked diligently to enhance the course layout, and the four tee areas on each hole present a fair and exciting round of golf to players of all levels. The newest addition at the Devil's Ridge is a Global Positioning System, which according to host golf professional Rick Fleming will significantly increase the opportunity to score better. The cart-mounted display provides a graphical overview of the hole featuring length of drive, distance to the pin, fairway hazards and other landmarks, as well as a pro tip on how best to play the hole. General Manager Eduardo Mayin feels the GPS system, recent course renovations, tastefully decorated and comfortable clubhouse with beautiful vistas, and outstanding dining prepared by award winning chef John Dececco, will provide golfers with a host of sound reasons to return to Devil's Ridge often. (TG)
248.969.0100; 3700 Metamora Road; Oxford
When this course opened with nine holes over 30 years ago, the area was truly in the boondocks. But things have changed; not only the course, but the surrounding community as well. Today El Dorado is a very interesting well conditioned 18 holes, presenting a broad range of hazards, woods, slightly rolling fairways and doglegs. The greens are not large but they are testy, and well protected by many green-side traps. Though somewhat short at 5,646 yards, it is obvious the slope rating of 122 suggests accuracy and not distance is the key to scoring well here. (TG)
248.624,1050; 2869 North Pontiac Trail; Walled Lake
Fieldstone Golf Club, designed by Arthur Hills, is owned and operated by the City of Auburn Hills. Gordon Marmion, is beginning his third year as the Director of Golf. Like so many professionals from Michigan, Marmion is a product of Ferris State University. Fieldstone is settling into a challenging beautifully sculptured course. "The feedback we have been getting is that the golfers really like our course," said Marmion. "We have Environmental Maintenance taking care of the course and they have kept it sharp." Fieldstone, a 7,002-yard layout has a 74.4 rating, with a slope running from 142 to 120. The course is hosting the Michigan PGA Buick Open Qualifier for the second year and has also been selected for the GAM State Amateur Qualifier. "We have a couple of tough stretches from 5-9 and 11-16," said Marmion. "But again, our Oakland County residents love the course." Gordon hopes that the ground breaking for the new clubhouse goes smoothly this year and that they are in their new facility in late fall or early spring.
Enhancing the 18 holes of championship golf, Arthur Hills added a complete practice facility that includes 40 teeing stations, five target greens, practice green and numerous bunkers.
248-370-9354; 1984 Taylor; Auburn Hills www.fieldstonegolf.com
Here's a course that will not eat your lunch if you are hitting the ball reasonably well. With a pleasant mix of open and slightly wooded, well manicured fairways, you will have more than enough opportunities to go for your personal best off the tee. But then the scene changes. Super large undulating and fast greens, with treacherous green-side bunkers will reward the player who can get it up and down. Chris Staub, the PGA Professional here says that if you had your Wheaties, play the course from the tips in the afternoon when the wind picks up. You'll be looking at 6,845 challenging yards with a rating of 72.4. (TG)
248.634.6800; 11450 East Holly Road; Holly
Highland Hills is owned and managed by the SIGA Corporation, which does the same for Sugar Loaf, Reddeman Farms and Shenandoah. Highland Hills has come a long way since Carl Walters and his son Bob were scratching out a living with the course in the 50's and 60's. This is a local course that is short, hilly, friendly, affordable and one you can score on. Have fun.
248-887-4481; 2075 Oakland Ave.; Highland
This fine Jerry Matthews' design features bent grass from tee through the green on three interesting and distinctively different nine-hole tracks. The east-west combination is most popular and adds up to 6,500 yards with a slope rating of 127. The front nine is rolling and somewhat open, with the back cut through the woods resulting in a definite Northern Michigan look. Water comes into play on half the holes, and bunkers are strategically placed to penalize the errant shot. According to Tom Sheldon, PGA Professional and General Manager, proper execution on the large, fast undulating greens is paramount to scoring well. This is one of the acclaimed courses in the area because of the championship layout and outstanding conditioning by Course Superintendent Jim Vandenberghe and his crew. (TG)
248.380.9595; 50395 10 Mile Road; Novi
When you enter the grounds here the first thing to catch your eye is the spectacular floral display which continues at multiple locations around the golf course. And you can't miss the towering pines that line most of the front-side fairways. But that's about all that is left of the former course, because over the past three years much of the Links of Pinewood has been redone. All new four-position multi-tiered and creatively shaped tees, greens enlarged to over 6,000 feet each, and redesigned fairway and green-side bunkers add much to what was already an outstanding course. With an abundance of hardwoods, water, wetlands and wildlife the Links of Pinewood is a place you will look forward returning to often. Host PGA Professional Gene Bone II says because they have no leagues as most other daily fee courses, chances of getting a late afternoon tee time are very good. In recognition of the Links of Pinewood tradition and condition, it will host the 2000 Fuller Cup: a contest between Michigan's top ranked professional and amateur golfers. (TG)
248.669.9802; 8600 PGA Drive; Walled Lake
Mystic Creek is a 27-hole layout that will give you all the golf you want. The three nines: The Lakes, Meadows and the Woods allow golfers to pick their topography. The Lakes is probably the favorite of the three and the one the pros point to. It allows the golfers to play in, around and over some serious water hazards. Eight of the nine Lakes holes have water that comes into play. However, the course is very scenic and the water, while everywhere, is not as punitive as you might think. The Meadows offers bunkers instead of water and the Woods offers some serious undulation with its tree-lined fairways. The course resides in Camp Dearborn and occupies 260 of the camp's 600-plus acres. The clubhouse is a beautiful facility offering panoramic views of the three courses. It is a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System. There also is an excellent driving range and numerous amenities.
810-684-3333; One Championship Circle; Milford www.migrandgolftrail.com
This is one of the area's most affordable golf courses, but price is only one of the reasons to take a journey to a pristine area of northern Oakland County. With fairways that are somewhat wide open and rolling, Mulberry Hills is fun to play. There are more than a few places on this well maintained course where an errant shot will add a stroke or two to your card, but for the most part hitting it fairly long and reasonably straight on this 6,352-yard layout should reward you with a pretty good score. Mulberry Hills is definitely worth the trip. (TG)
248.628.2808; 3530 Noble Road; Oxford
The many thousands of vehicles on I-75 each day, know Mulligan's does things in a big way. It is nearly impossible to miss the latest addition to this outstanding practice facility, the world's largest golf dome. Seven stories high with enough reinforced fabric to cover two football fields, this spectacular air-supported structure has 60 tee stations with another 30 to be added soon. But there is more to Mulligan's than gigantic size. There's convenience. Here you will find one of the country's first fully automatic tee devices. After each shot, the tee descends and quickly brings up another ball ready to go, at the precise height selected earlier. Now, add to this a huge natural grass-like practice putting surface, and a picturesque 18-hole miniature golf course surrounded by live tropical plants, and you have the ultimate indoor golf experience. All this follows Mulligan's outside facility, which made its debut two years ago. With over a 100 grass tees, an 11,000 square foot country-club-quality practice green, and a well manicured short game center with greens and bunkers, Mulligan's is now a full, four-season operation. And when your swing needs a little help, Director of Instruction Marc White and his staff of experienced PGA teaching professionals, Sue Popp and Bob Menzies, will get you back on track quickly. The only ingredient missing is a golf course to check out if all the practice is paying off, but Mulligan's Manager Don Cece says that's next on the agenda. A 27 hole executive style course is in the final planning stages and will be started soon, making Mulligan's the most complete golf practice facility to be found anywhere in the world. (TG)
248.332.4651; 3951 Joslyn Road; Auburn Hills
Art Hills continued his Michigan mastery with this fine 1998 offering. Oakhurst is a private golf club and prestigious residential community with the finest recreational facilities found anywhere. The 800-acre tract features the golf course and over 500 luxury home sites and golf villas. Craig Valassis is the primary owner of the project. The course has been built on some of the highest elevations in Oakland County. Art Hills has put together a memorable golf course laced with wetlands, wooden bridges, dramatic starting and finishing holes, rolling meadows and challenging bunkered greens. The golf professional is George Bowman and the superintendent is John Gray.
248.391.3300; 7000 Oakhurst Lane; Clarkston
Oakland County Parks and Recreation offers its residents golf on four courses: Glen Oaks, in Farmington; Red Oaks, a nine-hole course in Madison Heights; Springfield Oaks, in Davisburg; and White Lake Oaks, in White Lake. Due next year is the new Lyon Oaks (its tentative name) that is designed by Arthur Hills. The new course will be at the junctions of I-96, Old Plank Road and Pontiac Trail near Wixom. The county does a nice job of keeping these courses in top condition, even though they get a ton of play. Residents do get a price break, but the price is not that steep to begin with. Mike Thibodeau is the golf contact for the county.
The Huron-Clinton Metroparks have three of their courses within the confines of or bordering Oakland County. Kensington, the oldest, will be 43 years old this year. It has always pumped out the rounds, averaging 50,000-55,000 each year (they count both 18 and nine holes as a round). Indian Springs is the newest of the group and is located near Clarkston. Stoney Creek, which has Joe Spatafore as its Director of Golf, is the only one of the Metropark golf courses that is managed by private individuals. The golf courses have room to spare on them and use just a portion of the available lands in these mega parks. I know it is heresy, but as you load up for the course, you could put your bike on your car, throw in your fishing gear, toss in your roller blades or slip on those new Nike running shoes and take to the trails that you will find are all over these complexes. They should be building a statue somewhere for the person that came up with the idea of the metroparks.
Here is course that offers a variety of 18 holes spread out over 6,500 yards. Going out it is fairly short (except for No. 3, 549 yards, par 5) tight, somewhat flat, with water on seven holes, with small, fast, undulating greens. From this description it should be obvious the rewards will go to those who resist the urge to emulate Tiger Woods. Coming back, it is open with large, fast undulating greens and water on only four holes, so now you can jump out of your shoes with the big stick. Owned by the Hubbard family since it opened over 30 years ago, Oxford Hills is a well kept course that will reward the good shots and penalize those that aren't. (TG)
248.628.2518; 300 West Drahner Road; Oxford
Pebble Creek is a fine little golf course that serves mostly local clientele. Built by John Black Sr., the course became 18 holes in 1988. John Black Jr. is involved with the course as director of golf. John also went to school in Ohio to become a master club maker, which he does in his home. The course has a little roll to it and is friendly and inviting. However, it is very tight and you need to keep a wary eye for errant shots.
248-437-5411; Ten Mile & Currie; South Lyon
This facility opened as a private club in the early 70's, and shortly after, Tom Shaw a PGA Tour player, assumed the position as head professional. A few years later the decision was made to open it to the public along with a unique eating establishment called the Hamburger Mansion. Certainly one of the most memorable features of Pine Knob is the 10th tee. At 1,221 feet this is the highest natural point in southeast Michigan, and on a clear day offers breathtaking views to downtown Detroit, over 30 miles away.
With an exciting new nine added in the past couple of years, Pine Knob now has 27 holes offering a wide variety of woods, water, wildlife and dramatic elevation changes. This is a well-run facility that warrants a visit, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing. (TG)
248.625.4430; 5580 Waldon Road; Clarkston
Pine Trace is an exciting course designed by one of the hottest architects in America, Arthur Hills. Built in 1989, the course has quickly become a favorite for those in the Oakland County area. It features a mature course environment, a reputation for fast
play, excellent service and all the amenities you would expect from an upscale facility. Jim Norgart, Director of Golf, has been at Pine Trace from the start. Jim and his instructional team have put together lesson packages for both individuals and groups. They have an excellent practice facility, which greets you as you come up their drive.
Jim is especially proud of their club's affiliation with Special Olympics. They have hosted the Special Olympics for Golf, since its inception.
248-852-7100; 3600 Pine Trace Blvd.; Rochester Hills
This is a place with a most interesting spot in Michigan's golf history. It began in 1916 as the very first public golf course in this part of the country. Until then golf was reserved for the elite who enjoyed the game at the area's exclusive private clubs. But Frank Syron, the golf professional at Orchard Lake Country Club, noted for teaching some of the best golfers of the day including Babe Zaharias, the best female athlete ever, decided to leave this prestigious position. He purchased Pontiac C.C. in 1940 for the princely sum of $33,000, but within a few months World War II began and most of the golfers of the day ended up in the armed forces or defense plants. He survived this, and in 1952 built an all new clubhouse. But within a year it burned to the ground and he was forced to start all over. Who can argue that this was one determined guy! As a tribute, Pontiac C.C. hosts the annual Frank Syron Memorial, a top-ranked invitational tournament for the state's low-handicap amateur players. Few have been active in Michigan golf longer than the Syron family, and their Pontiac Country Club has for over half a century been one of the region's most popular golf facilities. This is a course that definitely hasn't rested on its laurels. The present owners, Mark and Lloyd Syron, the latter an All-American golfer at Notre Dame and 1957 Michigan Amateur champion, have maintained a continuos program of refinement and improvement. With open and gently rolling fairways, water on 13 holes, swift greens with character, and lots of bunkers, Pontiac C.C. is more than a walk in the park. (TG)
248.682.6333; 4335 Elizabeth Road; Waterford
This course opened in 1923 when the city was in its heyday. But not much happened until 1995 when they brought in Michael Hurdzan, a course designer with great credentials, who created a course offering something really different. Pontiac Muni is a classic definition of the term "sporty." The tees and greens are elevated, the fairways are gently rolling with an ample supply of bunkers, and there's more than enough water to make it very interesting. Every course must have a signature hole and Pontiac Muni has this as well as a signature tee. The fifth hole is an island green which sets you up for the island tee on No. 6. Director of Golf, Early Jones, says, "Even TPC Sawgrass doesn't have this." (TG)
248.858.8990; 800 Golf Drive; Pontiac
If location, location, location applies to golf courses, Rackham takes first prize. Situated just a 3-wood from the corner of Woodward Avenue and I-696 you just can't get any closer to the area's population center. But Rackham, designed by one of the game s best, Donald Ross, is not what it was when it opened to rave reviews in 1925.
Heralded as one of the finest municipally owned courses in the country, it is also famed for hosting the U.S. Publinx Championship, and being the home club of the famous heavyweight champion Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber. Unfortunately, Rackham did not escape the devastating Dutch Elm disease that decimated much of the country's stately elm trees a few decades ago, and the construction of I-696 at its very doorstep, took its toll. But it has survived all this quite well, and since American Golf took over the management a few years ago, it has improved significantly. Rackham is a typical Ross design: no gimmicks, no blind shots, no railroad-tie-supported island greens. And, no pushover. Long par-3s and daunting par-4s, devilish bunkers, and well-manicured greens, make this a challenging course for golfers of all skill levels. (TG)
248.543.4040; 10100 W. 10 Mile Road; Huntington Woods
This course has been an area favorite for many years, and the recent improvements: all new cart paths, bridges, bunkers, and tee boxes will make Rochester Hills more popular than ever. This substantial renovation is being handled by someone who really knows what a top-notch course should look like, Superintendent Don Davis, a former PGA Tour player. With all but one of the par-4s over 400 yards, and a couple of long par-3s thrown in for good measure, you will quickly see why Rochester Hills is one of the longer daily fee courses in southeast Michigan. If you like to grip it and rip it, Rochester Hills is a great place for you to do your John Daly imitation. (TG)
248.852.4800; 655 Michelson Road; Rochester Hills
For the past 30 years Al Marmion has stood guard over this little nine-hole gem in Farmington Hills. The story here is that an additional nine is being considered and that bids have been submitted. San Marino is a local course with plenty of magic.
248-476-5910; 26634 Halsted; Farmington Hills
Here is a course that lets the big hitter have his time in the sun on the wide open front side, and the shotmaker show his stuff coming back. Over the past five years Shenandoah has undergone a significant transformation and is a shadow of its formerself. A few holes have been reversed, some all new greens have been introduced, and over 70 traps have been added to make Shenandoah a much better all-around golf course, according to PGA Professional and General Manager, Jim Neagles, and course superintendent Doug Melton. The completely redone practice facility with almost two full acres of grass, is home to the well recognized Shenandoah Golf Academy, hosted by PGA Professionals Bob Percey and former tour player,Bill Grooms. (TG)
248.682.4300; 5600 Walnut Lake Road; West Bloomfield
This new Art Hill's 27-hole layout is scheduled to open in July. Brian Yoder is the man on the site and has worked on a number of great projects since joining Art Hills in 1990. We will feature the course in our new course review in our June MG.
Keith and Mary Scott took over this nine-hole course 12 years ago and have poured $2 million into it. They totally redid the clubhouse and then got serious about a golf course that until then had seen its better days. Scott indicated that they have three new greens, five new tees and a completely happy clientele. The course was built back in the early 1920's. In fact, one of the course members remembered that he caddied for Bobby Jones in a match in 1924. Keith also thinks that Robert Trent Jones Sr. might have had a hand in building the course, a fact that he is trying to confirm. Silver Lake and nearby Lake Angelus, has long been an area where the well to do went ahead and did it. In the 1920's the Kresge and Chrysler families owned property in the area.
248-673-1611; 2602 Walton; Waterford
This course is a great test of golf. It is fairly long at 6,684 yards from the blue, 6,460 from the white, and 5,023 from the red tees. The fairways are mostly tree lined and very well bunkered. Water comes into play on at least six holes. The front side is a touch easier than the back, so get your swing in gear before you round the turn. Though the entire place is very attractive, it is tough to top one of the area's most striking par-3s, 157 yards over a generous sized pond. Most of Stony Creek's greens were recently rebuilt and enlarged to make one of the most challenging and best conditioned courses in the Huron-Clinton Metropark system even better. And the friendly staff headed up by Manager Joe Spatafore adds much to making a trip to Stony Creek something special. (TG)
810.781.9166; 5140 Main Parkway; Shelby Township
Here's a 27-hole course with multiple personalities. According to Host PGA Golf Professional Brad Stedry, the North nine is fairly open, the South is wooded, and the West is links style. But they all have something in common - exceptional condition. When you play the South-West combination you are taking on about the longest 18 holes around, a monstrous 7,136 yards. Course superintendent Dave Montgomery says that's the good part, because over half the holes are over water and wetlands and the greens are fast with lots of undulation. Dave Peltz where are you? Whether you play nine, 18 or the full 27 holes at Tanglewood you will find everything at this facility will satisfy your highest expectations. (TG)
248.486.3355; 53503 West Ten Mile Road; South Lyon
With the entire ambiance here, it is difficult to imagine this is anything but an exclusive private club. From the all new impeccably decorated clubhouse, to the magnificently manicured award-winning Jerry Matthews and Ray Hearn-designed links style golf course, Twin Lakes is the epitome of first class. To say Twin Lakes does things in a big way would be an inexcusable understatement. Start with a 6,745-yard course and perfectly manicured fairways almost as wide as they are long, framed by wildflowers, prairie grasses, marshlands and deep crater-like depressions. Add rolling mammoth-sized greens that average over 12,000 square feet, about the largest anywhere in the world. Now top all this off with two huge practice facilities and you can readily see why the Twin Lakes motto is "Big, Fun, and Friendly!" But there is more to Twin Lakes than superb golf. There's the exquisite 40,000 square foot clubhouse with four dining rooms, wood paneled grill and bar, huge deck, locker rooms, and a beautifully appointed pro shop loaded with the very best brands. Twin Lakes is an absolute must for the golfer looking for an exceptional and most memorable golf experience. (TG)
248.650.4960; 455 Twin Lakes Drive; Rochester Hills
Located in the heart of Oakland County's Lake District, Union Lake has recently undergone a complete renovation. Unfortunately, missing is something that made this course, known originally as Morey's, truly unique: a 620-yard, triple-dogleg par-6. But the new design, a nice blend of rolling and winding fairways, with water in play on 12 holes, and quick undulating greens, guarantees a challenging but pleasant round of golf. (TG)
248.363.4666; 2280 Union Lake Road; Commerce Township
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