Pine Trace Golf Course Runs Like Clockwork

By Marc Stanley, Staff Writer

ROCHESTER HILLS, MI - If Arthur Hills is said to be one of the best designers today, then Pine Trace is a testament to his accomplishments. This is a beautiful course from start to finish, and every hole offers a different scenic view.

There is much life in the course, as trees mostly isolate you from other holes and the outside world. Birds are all around the course, including blue jays, cardinals and robins. All of this adds to the beauty of the course, one with great visual merits. One phrase can sum up Pine Trace: "You must see it to believe it."

The scenery at Pine Trace is fulfilling to say the least. The landscape of the course is laid so that many natural characteristics are in play. There are swamplands, ponds, and artificial lakes that give Pine Trace a variety in scenery.

Various trees grow throughout the course, some of which include Michigan native pines, maples, and oaks. The variety and gracefulness of the landscape give Pine Trace the feeling of a walk in a grand park. Because of the excellent surroundings, it is a round you can enjoy even if your game isn't up to par for the day.

A common link between Hill's courses is that he designs them for anyone and everyone to enjoy. Pine Trace offers four distinct tee levels that provide enough challenge for anyone. The Championship Tees measure about 6600 yards. The Forward Tees measure about 5000 yards.

The course also offers many slopes and valleys for added difficulty in needed places. There are not a lot of sand traps, but the sand traps that are there do come into play.

The holes are setup very nicely throughout the course. Every hole takes advantage of the terrain. Every hole is different and requires a different approach strategy. Unlike some courses, Pine Trace gives players an opportunity to play different types of shots.

It was obvious that careful thought and planning went into every hole. One thing that could be improved upon though is the location of the various holes. Some holes have great distances between them with various paths crossing yours. It got somewhat difficult to follow where I was going at times. It wasn't too bad though, because everything was fairly well marked.

I never had a difficult time finding my yardage on the course. One thing that aggravates me about a course would be the lack of yardage markers on the course. Pine Trace did a fine job of keeping these in view, marking with stakes, plates and sprinkler heads.

Pine Trace is very devoted to speed of play. They incorporated a clock system to keep the pace of play on every hole. The clocks have the numbers 1 though 8 on them and they are timed to what your speed of play should be.

If you started on the number 6, then every time you get to a new hole, that number should read 6 on the clock. If it falls to 7, then you are playing slower then you should be. They also mark the bottom of the score card with the amount of minutes every hole should take to accomplish.

This devotion to speed of play almost insures you that you won't be out for a five hour round.

Pine Trace is maintained very well. All the greens were in excellent shape and all of the fairways were well groomed. It is one of those courses where you would be surprised to find a blade of grass that is taller then any other.

The course actually was a little easier because of the condition of the course. There were no brown spots to hit off of, or dandelions in the rough that hinder your search for your ball. Everything was in great order, from tee to green.

I believe I have run out of ways of saying how great Pine Trace was. The round was fun, enjoyable, and uplifting. After playing a course like that, it brightens your day a bit, as it provides for an excellent afternoon of entertainment with your foursome.

The round is a bit expensive at $60 for 18 on a weekend for a non-resident. However, that is cheap for the value you get from the course. The rate is also less during the week if you can convince the boss to let you out early. So it is well worth the ride to Rochester Hills for an enjoyable round on a course designed by one of the great architects of our time.

Marc Stanley, Staff Writer


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