The tribe at GolfNow.com has spoken: Metro Detroit's top 10 public golf courses
DETROIT -- Over the years, I've ranked the top golf courses in metro Detroit for various publications, and it seems the order shifts every time. I fall in love with one layout for a while, then that crush fades.
Turns out, I'm not alone in my mixed feelings. The ratings and reviews submitted by GolfNow.com golfers show a deep roster of quality public courses spread throughout the region.
The competition was fierce to make the GolfNow.com Top 10 generated by its users. I don't agree with every selection made, but it's definitely a good guide to follow when shopping for your next round.
GolfNow.com raters' Top 10 public golf courses in metro Detroit
1. Boulder Pointe Golf Club and Banquet Center: Boulder Pointe's 80-foot elevation changes and 15 lakes, located 10 miles north of the Palace of Auburn Hills, are ideal for golf. The vistas were much more sweeping and scenic right after the 27-hole routing opened in 2000 before all the housing sprouted up. My favorite combo is the Dunes and Bluffs loop. I always enjoy playing here, even though it tends to beat me up. It's the site of my only loss in an annual grudge match against my best buddy.
2. Moose Ridge Golf Course: I love the backwoods vibe -- it's almost northern Michigan-esque -- of this Ray Hearn design and its log-cabin clubhouse. Like Boulder Pointe, the 6,892-yard par 71 opened in 2000. Moose Ridge is not exactly near anything, tucked away in a rural pocket near the Livingston County-Oakland County border, but it's definitely worth finding.
3. Coyote Preserve Golf Club: The 6,921-yard, par-71 course, which opened in 2001 in Livingston County north of Hartland, might be my top choice. It remains the second-best of the five Arnold Palmer designs in Michigan (Shanty Creek Resorts' The Legend would be my no. 1). Coyote Preserve offers a slice of northern Michigan much closer to home, though. Its five par 3s might be the best collection in the Midwest outside of the Threetops golf course at Treetops Resort in Gaylord. The last three holes -- a watery par 3 sandwiched by two par 5s -- are so tough that they've been nicknamed the "Coyote Trap" by employees.
4. Eagle Crest Golf Club: I learned the game playing Eagle Crest while in college at Eastern Michigan University, so this place tugs on my heartstrings a bit. It's a keeper that I'd probably move up a hair. Like my golf game, Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti has had its ups and downs, but it appears to be on track these days. Dozens of trees have recently been cleared along Ford Lake, opening up water views and making the course more playable. There are no better risk-reward, par-5 holes in the state than the two on the back nine. Most golfers cut the corner of the par-5 10th hole, hitting over the corner of the parking lot of the Marriott hotel. The 16th hole along the lake demands two hazard-hopping shots to reach a peninsula green.
5. The Majestic at Lake Walden: The Majestic, a 27-hole course designed by Jerry Matthews near Hartland, set the standard for great public golf in the Motor City way back in 1994. Its reign continues thanks to plenty of wetlands and peaceful holes surrounded by trees. Golfers who tee off on no. 10 sometimes hop on a boat ride across the 150-acre lake to reach their starting point. I loved it when I experienced it years ago, but some golfers ruin everything by showing up late. Don't be that guy.
The rest of the Top 10
Detroit's Top 10 snubs
Two of my favorites to join this list -- Greystone Golf Club near Romeo and Fieldstone Golf Club in Auburn Hills -- were simply victims of the numbers crunching. Fieldstone, a solid Arthur Hills course, did not gather enough votes to make the Top 10, although it was rated high enough. Greystone, featuring several holes cut from an old rock quarry, ended up lumped among the courses next in line in the ratings, joining Dunham Hills Golf Club, The Jackal Golf Club at Mt. Brighton, Huntmore Golf Club and Westwynd. All are worthy of your time.
August 19, 2013