Fieldstone Golf Club
Remember Arrowhead? Forget it. Fieldstone Golf Club, designed by Arthur Hills, is replacing it. The new course is owned and operated by the City of Auburn Hills. Of late, the city has gotten into golf in a big way. Not only will they open the front nine of this course July 1, but they are also welcoming the new Mulligan's Golf Center and Rick Smith Golf Academy this June.
Art Hills designed the course and continues to add to the number of great tracks he has designed in Michigan. Of late he has done Egypt Valley, The Legacy, Fox Hills, Pine Trace, The Honors Course at Oak Pointe and Taylor Meadows.
Gordon Marmion, formerly the director of the four municipal golf courses in Flint, is now the new Director of Golf. Like so many professionals from Michigan, Gordon is a product of Ferris State University. As we drove the course, it was easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm Gordon has for his new position. "I feel fortunate to be the one responsible for opening this great course. And it is nice getting a little closer to home. I grew up in Livonia and was into golf in a big way. My father has managed Farmington Hills' San Marino for the past 24 years. "
The course was still two months away from opening as we took our tour, but Hills has done an excellent job with the land. For those that bounced from time to time on the peatbog fairways of Arrowhead, that is all gone. It is a beautifully sculptured course that will offer challenges of length and bunkering. There is a particularly challenging stretch of three holes, 14-16, that will have you running to your local golf store in search of a new driver. The 14th is a par four 470-yard muscle hole, the 15th a par five of 530 yards and the 16th, a gorgeous hole that measures 570 from the back. Fieldstone will be a true test of golf, as the design offers a variety of playing conditions with the choice of five different tees and total course yardage of 4780 to 7002. Enhancing the 18 holes of championship golf, Arthur Hills added a complete practice facility that includes forty teeing stations, five target greens, practice green and numerous bunkers.The front nine opens in July with the remaining nine looking to open in late summer or early fall. When you call, ask for directions, because it can be a little tricky getting there.
248-370-9354, 1984 Taylor, Auburn Hills
Chris Staab, the PGA professional at Heather Highlands is also the course historian.
Heather Highlands used to be called Holly Greens and before that Holly Stoney Greens. "This whole golf course seems to be built on a stoney base. When we dig up something around here, there are stones everywhere," said Staab. Perhaps that is why Ed Gage and George Ober decided to grow something else on the old Bigelow farm_a golf course. Ober was behind the development of Tel-Huron Mall, a highly successful Oakland County shopping complex built in the early 1960's. They built the initial nine in 1964-65 and finished off the course in the 1972.
Heather Highlands is wide-open golf. Golfers have plenty of fairways to hit to and lots of square footage on the greens. You will find an executive course on the property as well as an excellent driving range.
248-634-6800, 11450 East Holly Road, Holly
Highland Hills Golf Club
Highland Hills is owned and managed by the SIGA Corporation, who also do the same for Sugar Loaf, Reddeman Farms and Shenandoah. Highland Hills has come a long way since Carl Walters and his son Bob were scratching out a living with the course in the 50's and 60's. Carl Jacobs, superintendent and manager, signed on to the old Duck Lake Golf Course in 1978 and has consistently improved the course. This is a local course that is short, hilly, friendly and scoreable. Have fun.
248-887-4481, 2075 Oakland Ave., Highland
Links of Pinewood
The former home of the Michigan Section PGA, the Links at Pinewood have a storied history. The front lobby has one of the most complete sets of Walter Hagen memorabilia. Walter was a friend of Ernie Fuller, who recently received the GAM Distinguished Service Award. Fuller and his family also built Edgewood and Bay Pointe Golf Club, both private. The Fuller Cup, one of Michigan's premier golf championships is named after Ernie Fuller.
Gene Bone II, the director of golf at the Links, has served there for 14 years. His father, who just retired from Bay Pointe after a distinguished career, was one of Michigan's greatest players. He won the Michigan Open in 1965 and '66 and the Michigan PGA Championship in 1965 and '75, to name but a few of his accomplishments.
Gene Bone II is really excited about the renovation of the course. "We have entirely reworked the course the past couple of years. We have made all the greens bigger, built new tees, made the 18th into a par 5 and the course into a par 72. Spring has cooperated by bringing us some great growing weather. We should be in great shape this summer, considering all the work we have done. We should have the entire course in play in July," said Bone. "It has been tough waiting for it to be completed, but it will be well worth it."
248-669-9802, 8860 PGA Drive, Walled Lake
The Huron-Clinton Metro Parks have three of their courses within the confines of or bordering Oakland County. Kensington, the oldest will be 40 years old in 1999. It has always pumped out the rounds, averaging 50-55 thousand each year (they count both 18 and nine hole rounds as a round). Indian Springs is the newest of the group and is located near Clarkston. Stoney Creek, which has Joe Spatafore as its director of golf, is the only one of the Metro Park golf courses that is managed by private individuals.
The golf courses have room to spare on them and use just a portion of the available lands in these mega parks. I know it is heresy, but as you load up for the course, you could put your bike on your car, throw in your fishing gear, break our your roller blades or slip on those new Nike running shoes and take to the trails that you will find are all over these complexes. They should be building a statue somewhere for the person that came up with the Metro Parks idea.
Mystic Creek is a 27-hole layout that will give you all the golf you want. The three nines -- The Lakes, Meadows and the Woods -- allow golfers to pick their topography. The Lakes is probably the favorite of the three and the ones the pros point to. It allows the golfers to play in, around and over some serious water hazards. Eight of the nine Lakes holes have water that comes into play. However, the course is very scenic and the water, while everywhere is not as punitive as you might think. The Meadows offers bunkers instead of water and the Woods offers some serious undulation with its tree-lined fairways. The course is highly regarded by those in the golf business and as such, hosted one of the US Open qualifying rounds this past May.
The course resides in Camp Dearborn and occupies 260 of the camps 600+ acres. The clubhouse is a beautiful facility offering panoramic views of the three courses. It is a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System.There is an excellent driving range and tons of amenities. You might bump into Master PGA pro Jim Dewling at the course, he was one of the architects, but most likely you will be served by head pro, Ray Reves.
810-684-3333, One Championship Circle, Milford
It was Franklin and Gail Clayton who were responsible for turning the Noble farm into a golf course back in 1963. Todd Moore, part of the family and Director of Golf, is furthering the family tradition at this nice and affordable course in Oxford. The clubhouse is an old but picturesque barn that has been recently renovated. The 17th hole, with its exceptionally long water carry, is one hole that should catch your eye.
As with many family courses, the improvements are slow but sure. They have planted a number of trees in the past few years and have worked with tee areas and greens. They have consistent play from people in the area, but are upgrading the course to meet the needs of the well-heeled golfers that venture to nearby tracts, Copper Hills, Blackheath, Devil's Ridge and Twin Lakes.
248-628-2808, 3530 Noble Road, Oxford
Mulligan's Golf Center
Golf Heaven! Where else will you be able to play miniature golf, a 27 hole executive golf course designed by Rick Smith (to open in 1999), flail away at a driving range that has 100 tee stations aimed at a green that is surrounded by a pond, practice on a 11,000 square foot putting green, be able to utilize an all-season dome that will feature an 18 hole miniature golf course inside of it, and get instruction that features the latest in golf instruction technology? Mulligan's that's where else!
If Dave Marsh and his the collective ownership group of David Katz, Director of the Metro Aiport; Wayne County Executive, Ed McNamara; Assistant Wayne County Executive, Dale Jurcisin; Freeman Hendrix, Deputy Mayor of Detroit; Brian Ashley former owner of the Oasis Golf Center; and PGA Professional, Rick Smith have their way, it will be everywhere. "We feel that this center will be so unique that it will definitely be a product that can be replicated elsewhere. We already have purchased some land in the Grand Rapids area," said Marsh. They also have a second Mulligan's in South Lyon.
The center sits on top of a landfill that was closed ten years ago. This is but another example of how land is being recycled into productive uses through the sport of golf.
According to Marsh, Rick Smith will have a satellite office on property. Rich has of late moved to Toledo, where he will continue to work on the variety of projects he has going, one of which will be a new teaching course on Detroit's Belle Isle.
248-332-4651, 3951 Joslyn, Auburn Hills
Oakland County Parks Golf Courses
Oakland County Parks and Recreation offers its residents golf on four courses: Glen Oaks, in Farmington; Red Oaks, nine holes, in Madison Heights, Springfield Oaks, in Davisburg; and White Lake Oaks, in White Lake. The county does a nice job at keeping these courses in top condition, even though they get a ton of play. Residents do get a price break, but the price is not that steep to begin with.
Pebble Creek is a fine little golf course that serves mostly local clientele. Built by John Black Sr., the course became 18 holes in 1988. John Black Jr. is involved with the course as director of golf. John also went to school in Ohio to become a master club-maker, which he does in his home. The course has a little roll to it and is friendly and inviting.
248-437-5411, Ten Mile & Currie, South Lyon
Pine Knob has really got its act together since Nino Catenacci took over the place six years ago. He started by adding new irrigation, continuous cart paths and then he brought Lorrie Viola along to design a new nine. Viola, the designer of the highly successful Timbers course near Frankenmuth, has done a terrific job. The new nine might be ready this fall, but Nino does not want to rush it. "Lorrie has done a great job with the new nine. When we totally integrate the 27 holes people the course will really be something to see," said Catenacci. Beautiful homes surround this changeling golf course. It is truly a visual feast.
Bob Pohl, a nephew of Dan Pohl, is the new director of golf at Pine Knob. Mike Casey is the superintendent.
810-625-4430, 5580 Walton Road, Clarkston
Pine Trace is one of four properties marketed under Jim Dewling's Total Golf. Pine Trace along with Timber Trace, Cherry Creek and Mystic Creek provide an assortment of excellent new golf facilities in southeast Michigan. Mike Bylen is a managing partner.
Pine Trace's is an exciting course designed by one of the hottest architects in America, Arthur Hills. Built in 1989, the course has fast become a favorite for those in the Oakland County area. It features a mature course environment, a reputation for fast play, excellent service and all the amenities you would expect from an upscale facility.
Jim Norgart, director of golf, has been at Pine Trace from the start. Jim and his instructional team have put together lesson packages for both individuals and groups. They have an excellent practice facility, which greets you as you come up their drive. Jim is especially proud of their club's affiliation with Special Olympics. They have hosted the Special Olympics for Golf, since its inception. This year the tournament will be held on August 3.
810-852-7100, 3600 Pine Trace Blvd., Rochester Hills
Pontiac Country Club
Frank Syron was a legendary figure in golf in the Oakland County area. A former captain of the Notre Dame golf team, Frank later bought the Pontiac Country Club. Brothers Frank and Mark now run it.
Pontiac Country Club is one of those clubs that just churns out the golf rounds. Like many other courses that have been around a few years, the owners have had to redo the irrigation system. The Syrons have also planted a ton of new trees. Steve Sheffer, formerly of Carl's Golfland is the new PGA golf professional.
248-682-6333, 4335 Elizabeth Lake Road, Waterford
Pontiac Municipal Golf Course
Michael Hurdzan, architect of the Fortress in Frankenmuth , Eagle Sticks in Ohio and Kemper in Illinois, did a very nice job in totally reworking the Pontiac Municipal Golf Course.
I rode around with Henry Johnson, a gentleman who has played the game for 45 years, many of them in Pontiac. "I played this course for years, but I really like what has happened here. He reversed 10-18 from tee to green and it really made a difference, said Johnson. However, the big story is the island hole that Hurdzan left behind. The 5th hole, a par three 104-yard hole takes place on a small island in the lake that adjoins the course. The 6th tee is also on the island. The golfer must fly about 160 yards to get into the 6th fairway. The addition of these two holes and the creation of three brand-new holes have allowed for not only total renovation on the course, but allowed for some housing units to be erected as well.
Early Jones, the director of golf, is really pumped up about the course. "The city bought some additional land and Hurdzan was able to take that and really put together a nice course. We feel we have a course that will draw from all around the county," said Jones.
248-858-8990, 800 Golf Drive, Pontiac
Rochester Hills Golf & Country Club
Rochester Hills is a partially wooded course with relatively flat fairways. A creek on the property comes into play on 10 of the holes. It is an older course with just two teeing areas per hole for its 6646 yards.
It has a pleasant clubhouse, which adjoins an architecturally interesting on property home.
248-852-4800, 655 Michelson , Rochester Hills
Oakland county is endowed with some spectacular golf courses with varying degrees of difficulty, prices and amenities. Finding one that suits your style of play is easy. If you like a 9 hole track measuring 3,179 yards from the tips and a golf climate that has a "private club atmosphere try San Marino." According to Al Marmion, general manager, San Marino prides itself of "treating people like family." Al has been around golf for over 40 years, twenty-four of them at San Marino. San Marino may just be one of the most played 9 hole courses in the tri-county area averaging over 46,000 rounds a year. That seems a lot for a 9 holer but according to Marmion over 90% of the golfers who wish to play get to, because Al and his staff make it a point to work you in. However, be prepared for slow play at times but that has to be expected. San Marino is maintaineed by the Farmington Hills Parks and Recreation department which takes pride in meeting the high standards set forth by the city. The course lends itself to all styles of play. Don't be overly confident by its short length. Even though the 3200 yards may seem short to the better-than-average golfer, the difficulty can be found in the pin placements and the way the rough is cut. The rough is usually two to three inches in length weaving in and out of the fairways making your shot placement more difficult.
Another key feature at San Marino besides golf is the club house restaurant, "On The Tee." Managed by Joan Marmion, Al's wife, this hidden jewel is a favorite spot for non-golfers too. You can get the best chicken dumpling soup found anywhere and you are always greeted with a smile and a friendly hello.
A new addition at San Marino this year is Diane Patterson, teaching and club professional. An active member of the LPGA, Diane competed on the LPGA tour from 1971 through 1979.
Plans are already under way to add another 9 holes in the near future.
248-476-5910, 26634 Halsted, Farmington Hills
Silver Lake Golf Club
Keith and Mary Scott took over this nine-hole course 10 years ago and have poured two million dollars into it. They totally redid the clubhouse and then got serious about a golf course that might have seen its better days. Scott indicated that they have three new greens, five new tees and a totally happy clientele.
The course was built back in the early 20's. In fact, one of the course members remembered that he caddied for Bobby Jones in a match in 1924. Keith also thinks that Robert Trent Jones Sr. might have had a hand in building the course, a fact that he is trying to authenticate. Silver Lake and nearby Lake Angelus, have long been an area where the well-to-do went ahead and did it. In the 20's the families of Kresge and Chrysler owned property in the area.
248-673-1611, 2602 Walton, Waterford
Tanglewood is a 27-hole layout done by national renowned golf architect Bill Newcomb. Newcomb has designed some terrific holes for the course, one of note is the Michigan hole. The 6th green of the new nine is shaped like the Michigan mitt and there is a bridge taking you to the 7th tee box, which is shaped like the Upper Peninsula. "I believe we were able to bring in the upscale course that they wanted on this project," said Newcomb. It is a true golfing community with over 220 housing sites available. Golfers will be challenged in their quest for par by length, water, plenty of bunkers and the occasional wetland at Tanglewood. Brian Boeling is the head professional and one of the fine teaching pros in the area.
248-486-3355, 53503 10 Mile, South Lyon
Twin Lakes Golf Club
You're gonna love Twin Lakes Golf Club! It is one of the most exciting courses that Michigan has birthed in the past couple of years. Co-designed by Jerry Matthews and Raymond Hearn, the course is already starting to pile up the awards. Golf Magazine named it one of the Top Ten Courses You Can Play in its February 1997 issue. In his definitive article, Brian McCallen says, "The greens, averaging 12,000 square feet, are quite possibly the largest in the sport, bigger even that those on the Old Course at St Andrews."
Twin Lakes is massive in its greens, fairways and its vision. The new clubhouse is being readied for a fall Grand Opening, and close by a six-lane championship pool is starting to take shape.
Doug Grove, vice president of golf development for Resco, Inc. the course developer, is no stranger to big dreams. He was the PGA professional at Grand Traverse Resort when they opened The Bear. He opened up two other Nicklaus courses with Glenmoor Golf Club in Canton, Ohio and the Country Club of the South in Atlanta. He also helped to open High Pointe and the Orchards. "Three words describe Twin Lakes -- big, fun and friendly," said Grove. Twin Lakes will also feature the Doug Grove Academy.
Grove has seen a ton of quality golf and golf facilities since his Traverse City debut with The Bear. Therefore, his unabashed respect for Raymond Hearn's work is worth noting. "I think he is one of the top new designers in the country and we are really looking forward to our second course," said Grove. (MG readers please note Jack Berry's superb piece on Hearn in our April/May 1997 issue. You can find it on michigangolfer.com).
810-650-4960, 455 Twin Lakes Drive, Oakland
Union Lake Golf Club
There was a time when the Union Lake Golf Club was the place to be. Owned by Ed Morey, Union Lake was a 27-hole course that attracted all kinds of outings to its door. Famed Red Wing, Terry Sawchuck was Ed's son-in-law and he could be seen from time to time quaffing down a few off season brews. The parking lot was always full, the restaurant was jammed and Morey would be standing at the end of the bar always dressed to the nines. He was really something.
Morey's signature hole was a 90-degree dogleg left of some 630 yards. It was a great conversation piece and drew a lot of golfers who wanted to play the hole. The course slowly drifted into decay in the late 80's and early 90's, but all that is about to change.
The new course will be 18 holes and play to a little over 4500 yards. It has 67 home sites as part of the new development. Bob Pillard, the head golf professional, is targeting the novice golfer for the course. "We have a new driving range and an excellent golf instruction program to go with it," said Pillard. "The golf course has been totally rebuilt. We brought in a tremendous amount of dirt for the fairways. We also redid the entire irrigation system," Pillard continued. Currently, nine holes and the driving range are open with the rest to open in mid-August. A new clubhouse is also on the drawing board.
248-363-4666, 2280 Union Lake, Commerce Twp.
<<-- Back to Previous Page
You can contact us at
Copyright© Great Lakes Sports Publications, Inc.