Motor City Golf

Shepherd’s HollowThe Motor City has always been known for its cars.

But there is another type of fourwheeled vehicle used to find pure bliss in metro Detroit these days… hop behind the wheel of a golf cart to drive any of the region’s outstanding public golf courses.

Detroit’s auto industry built a country club town – mainly the venerable Oakland Hills Country Club, site of a Ryder Cup and multiple PGA Championships and U.S. Opens, and the Country Club of Detroit and others – but the course building boom of the 1990s brought its public golf scene up to higher standards. These new beautiful courses are more Mustang and Corvette than clunkers.

And with the current economy, it has never been a more affordable time to enjoy the game.

Head to Clarkston for the region’s best‘ country club for a day’ experience at the Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Club. Cut through 350 acres on land leased from a Society of Jesus, an order of Roman Catholic Jesuit priests, Shepherd’s Hollow delivers some “heavenly” holes that feel more like Northern Michigan. The 27-hole Arthur Hills course rides gently rolling land with fairways guarded by towering pines. The restaurant inside a Southern-style clubhouse serves fantastic cuisine.

“The site is just beautiful,” said Steve Forrest, an architect with Arthur Hills and Associates in Toledo, Ohio, who helped create Shepherd’s Hollow. “After clearing the trees, the land looked just like a moonscape, with bumps and hollows and holes. It was pretty challenging to route the holes. We built it without moving a lot of dirt. That is evident in the experience of the course.”

Experience the 19th hole in an untraditional yet classic and casual manner with an overnite stay at The Royal Park Hotel.

Located about 20 minutes from Shepherd’s in downtown Rochester, this four star, four diamond hotel offers a variety of packages that include breakfast, dinner and optional champaigne with a turn-down service sprinkled with rose petals to make it a romantic getaway – if you so desire!

In the shadow of Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn lies another great course available to savvy players. A night’s stay at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency, a AAA Four Diamond property, or the Detroit MGM Grand, downtown’s most luxurious casino resort, allows access to the private Tournament Players Club of Michigan.

The Jack Nicklaus design hosted the Ford Senior Players Championship, a Champions Tour major, from 1991- 2006. The narrow fairways twist through mounds and around intimidating water hazards. You have to be precise or go back to the bag for more balls.

The signature 14th hole is an amazing melding of Mother Nature, a large wetland guards the entire left side of the hole and the green, and the industry of man. The giant Ford building looms on the horizon. The site’s wildlife and natural settings earned the TPC its Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status.

The service you’d expect from a TPC and the spoils of a 28,000-square-foot clubhouse make this tee time a special one. The Inn at St. Johns, a cozy boutique hotel, offers a 27-hole golf course in Plymouth. The nines are named Mark, Luke and Matthew, with the Mark and Luke combination adding up to 6,128 yards. The golf is solid, but the star of St. Johns has to be the Five Restaurant that serves up an eclectic menu of American cuisine and an impressive wine list.

Fox Hills – Golden FoxThe biggest golf facility in southeast Michigan, the Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center, calls Plymouth home as well. Its 63 holes cater to all ages and skill levels. The Golden Fox, another Hills design, helped start the region’s building boom back in 1989. It continues to be impeccably maintained and the 18 holes will challenge any player. The Classic Fox, featuring 27 holes of traditional tree-lined golf dating back to 1921, remains popular with league players and amateurs looking for a more casual, friendly round. The innovative Strategic Fox course helped Fox Hills win national course of the year honors from the National Golf Course Owners Association in 2002. The par-3 course with big greens provides a perfect place for the club’s growing junior program and adjacent golf school to thrive.

Additional information on golf, accommodations and dining in the Motor City is available at visitdetroit.com or michigan.org.

 

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