Thousand Oaks

When Rees Jones agreed to design Thousand Oaks Golf Club more than a decade ago, he knew his first Michigan project would be compared to the
courses authored here by his father, the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr.

The elder Jones – consiered by many to be the preeminent American golf course architect of the 20th century – gained a large measure of his notoriety for his modern renovation of Oakland Hills (South) and his original
designs at Point O’Woods and Treetops. Later, Rees’ brother, Bobby, designed The Orchards in suburban Detroit. Eventually, it was time for the youngest member of the Jones clan to weigh in with a Michigan masterpiece of his own. And he did just that in Grand Rapids with Thousand Oaks.

Dramatic in scope and spectacular in its execution, Thousand Oaks has quickly become known as one of the top daily-fee courses in Michigan and the Midwest. Situated on more than 400 acres just west of the banks of the
Grand River in Kent County’s Plainfield Township, the club is a treasure trove of beauty and tranquility 15 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids.

Rees Jones eases players into their round, with the ride beginning in earnest with the middle three holes of the front nine. The fourth is a par-four where wooded areas bracket the curving fairway. The fifth is a par-five that is almost
mountainous, while the sixth is an awe-inspiring par-4 to an elevated green divided into two tiers. The ninth, another par-5, requires two strong wood shots and an accurate iron to one of the course’s most treacherous greens.

The sensational 10th traverses 600 yards of wondrous rolling hills. The 11th, 13th and 16th holes offer stunning views from elevated tees, while the 15th and 17th are the most challenging short holes on the course. The par-4 18th looks benign by comparison, but don’t be fooled as three cavernous bunkers protect the right side. Rees Jones believes in making a player work all the way through the final green for a good score.

The amenities at Thousand Oaks match the quality of the golf course. A double-ended practice range sits adjacent to the club’s newly opened short-game instructional area, which features target greens and large sand bunkers. The Restaurant at Thousand Oaks has garnered numerous honors since the club’s opening, and was named “Best New Restaurant” in Grand Rapids by On-The-Town Magazine in 2001. In addition, Thousand Oaks Real Estate features single family homes and condominiums that have made the club the most successful popular new golf community in western Michigan.

But it all begins with Rees Jones’ first Michigan layout. In golf design, it’s not always easy to keep up with the Jones family. But at Thousand Oaks, Rees has done just that.


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