by Terry Jacoby
Greg Shamus is a member of the Grosse Ile Country Club, but one day last August he decided to head across the Detroit River and play Wyandotte Shores.
"I shot a course-record 37," Shamus said.
Not only did Shamus like his score, he liked the nine-hole municipal course, which features several holes within a slice of the Detroit River. Shamus's course-record probably didn't last a day_he was among the first groups to play the course_but he thinks Wyandotte Shores will be a popular place to play.
Jim Knopp, an assistant superintendent with the Wyandotte recreation department, agrees.
"The reaction to us was far better than I anticipated," said Knopp. "I thought it would be busy when we first opened, but you couldn't get a tee time it was so busy."
The course, located off Biddle (Jefferson) between Eureka and Pennsylvania in Downtown Wyandotte, is part of a large recreation area. A park and the Wyandotte Boat Club are located north of the course. Wyandotte officials wanted the municipal course to live up to the high standards of the area. Mission accomplished.
"We brought in Matthews and Associates, a respected golf-course design firm, to lay out the course," Knopp said. "From the start, the city wanted to do it right. We brought in top-of-the-line people." The result was an impressive course, with fairways running along the Detroit River, two large ponds and some challenging holes. Because the river is right next door, the entire course is watered, leaving no brown patches.
A Scottish-style course, Wyandotte Shores is open with very few trees. The greens are large and "not very flat," Knopp said. No. 7 is a 547-yard par 5 and is one of the more difficult holes on the course. "One of the problems with No. 7 is most of the time you are hitting into a pretty strong wind," Knopp said. "It's a tough hole. There are a lot of bunkers along the way and around the green." The next hole is no walk along the shore, either. Although it could be. No. 8 is a par-4 which runs along the Detroit River. Because of a narrow fairway, it is important to hit the ball straight (yeah, easy to say). If you are going to miss, miss left.
"Left is out of bounds, but right is in the river," Knopp said. And unless you hit a barge, you will need a new ball.
No. 9 is a 488-yard par-4, which offers a little wider fairway than eight, but is not an easy hole.
Wyandotte Shores has two par-3's, two par-5's and five par-4's. The nine holes total 3,237 yards playing from the furthest of four tees. The course plays 2,450 yards from the shortest tees.
The course did attract attention during its opening last August, and Knopp thinks the advantage of starting last year will help tremendously this year.
"We needed to find out what had to be fixed," he said. "We fixed some rough spots, made some changes and corrected some drainage problems we were having. We also gained some valuable experience about running a golf course, like setting up tee times and things like that. This was all new to us. "And the course right now is in excellent shape."
Wyandotte Shores, which is already open, will begin league play Monday through Thursday in April. Non-residents pay $14 during the week and $15 on the weekend. Residents pay $11 during the week; $12 on the weekend. Carts are available and the facility does include a chipping area, putting green, pro shop and concession area.
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