PGA TOUR pros will see Detroit, Mich. twice this year: Once for the Buick Open at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club and again for the 90th PGA Championship at fabled Oakland Hills Country Clubs South Course. Players looking to squeeze in a round during the week have three solid options.
First, no one should miss the chance to play the University of Michigan course in Ann Arbor, just 45 minutes away. One of only two public access courses in America built by Alister Mackenzie, it was also Pete Dyes successful re-build of these greens to U.S.G.A. specifications that led to his quitting the insurance business and becoming a golf architect.
I went up there, and lo and behold, I had built the University of Michigan course, Dye began in his matter-of-fact, folksy drawl. And when I came back, after that, I said Alice? and she said What? and I said Why don't we give this a try, because it's fun. And its been we doin it ever since, he finishes with a chuckle.
Also remember that, when in southern Michigan, youre in Arthur Hills country. Shepherds Hollow is the most popular and well-decorated public layout by this nationally-recognized designer. Many locals also proudly claim The Orchards Golf Club in Washington, Michigan as their home course. With a maximum $80 greens fee in high season, this Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design is a steal.
The adventurous may want to take an overnight trip north to the Traverse City area for some of the best public designs and values in the entire country. Purists will love the old world feel of the Gailes Course at the Lakewood Shores Resort. Modern golf design fans will love the rough and tumble design of Tom Weiskopfs Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon. Arcadia Bluffs, a stunning faux links hard by Lake Michigan is a fitting bookend to its more celebrated sister across the lake, Whistling Straits. Finally, students of golf course architecture must see Tom Doaks first design, High Pointe, in Williamsburg.
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Since launching his first golf writing website in 2004, Jay Flemma's comparative analysis of golf designs and knowledge of golf course architecture and golf travel have garnered wide industry respect. In researching his book on America's great public golf courses (and whether they're worth the money), Jay, an associate editor of Cybergolf, has played over 260 nationally ranked public golf courses in 39 different states. Jay has played about 1,649,000 yards of golf - or roughly 938 miles. His pieces on travel and architecture appear in Golf Observer, Cybergolf and other print magazines. When not researching golf courses for design, value and excitement, Jay is an entertainment, copyright, Internet and trademark lawyer and an Entertainment and Internet Law professor in Manhattan.
Photo: Arcadia Bluffs ' Par-5 5th hole. Courtesy of Jay Flemma
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