Top Metro Detroit Golf Courses
Detroit is a city in transition, from one of the most formidable industrial capitals of the world to one that is working to revitalize its urban core. Fortunately, despite it’s short season, metro Detroit golf courses offer plenty of options across the region that have become staples in the area.
Michiganders love their sports, and the golf scene in southeast Michigan is one you can’t criticize. Like most inner cities, Detroit golf lacks great public courses and green spaces in its core, though there are some like Donald Ross’ Rackham Golf Course near the Detroit Zoo. Thankfully, the surrounding suburbs offer plenty of places for golfers of every skill level and budget to tee it up.
The best of Detroit golf begins in Oakland County, one of the country’s most affluent metropolitan areas. It’s the backbone of the metro Detroit golf courses scene. The king is the 36-hole Oakland Hills Country Club. The club’s South course, aka the “Monster,” has hosted the Ryder Cup, U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Amateur and Senior U.S. Open among its countless championships. The Country Club of Detroit, the Detroit Golf Club, Indianwood Golf & Country Club (host to two U.S. Women’s Opens), and Dearborn’s TPC Michigan (the long-time host of the Ford Senior Players Championship tournament on the PGA Tour Champions) are just a few of the many flagship country clubs in metro Detroit.
Golfers who can’t afford playing at a private club geared toward auto executives have a broad range of high-end public properties where they can feel like a “member for a day,” many built during the golf boom of the late 1990s. The Orchards Golf Club near Romeo, Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Club in Clarkston and the 27-hole Majestic Golf Club near Hartland all vie for the top spot. Several holes on The Majestic follow Lake Walden. Shepherd’s Hollow is probably the closest thing to an “up north” course without the long drive. The most versatile facility is the Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center in Plymouth. The Arthur-Hills-designed Golden Fox is the centerpiece of 63 holes of golf popular for local league and outing business, including the Strategic Fox – a unique, 18-hole par-3 course – along with two clubhouses.
Head to Washtenaw County for some higher learning at a terrific threesome of college courses just outside the traditional metro Detroit golf courses. The University of Michigan recently opened its two courses to the public by creating a “MacKenzie-Dye Experience,” a cool package that allows anyone to play the UM Golf Course in the shadow of its football stadium, the “Big House,” and the private Radrick Farms Golf Club. The contrasting styles of architecture are amazing: UM is one of the most authentic Alister MacKenzie designs in the country, while Radrick Farms was Pete Dye’s first solo design. Eastern Michigan University’s Eagle Crest Golf Club in nearby Ypsilanti is no slouch, either. Its best holes interact with Ford Lake. Washtenaw Country Club (pictured above) dates back to 1899 and has some limited public access on its narrow, historic fairways.
You’ll be amazed at the quality and value you get from there. The Coyote Preserve Golf Club and Northville Hills Golf Club are two of the best Arnold Palmer courses in the country. Ray Hearn’s Moose Ridge Golf Club would cost much more if it weren’t so remote in Livingston County. The 27-hole Boulder Pointe Golf Club and Banquet Center near Oxford features target golf with 80-foot elevation changes and 15 lakes. The Greystone Golf Club near Romeo winds its way through an old rock quarry. The Cherry Creek Golf Club and Pine Trace Golf Club are sister courses of Shepherd’s Hollow, offering the same high-quality service and conditioning.
The region’s municipal courses rank among the best collections in America. Many of these munis offer discounted rates for residents — Lyon Oaks Golf Club in Wixom, Stoney Creek Metropark Golf Course in Shelby Township, Leslie Park Golf Course in Ann Arbor, Pierce Lake Golf Course in Chelsea and the Fieldstone Golf Club in Auburn Hills. The golf season for metro Detroit golf courses might be short, but it sure is sweet.