Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Destination: Flint

By Art McCafferty

The Flint area has contributed greatly to the golf legacy of Michigan. Obviously, the Buick Open and Warwick Hills are the first things that come to one's mind. For a time, the Buick Open was the only major tournament in Michigan. Flint has also been a showcase and national model for Junior Golf. And while there may not be a statistic on this, Flint surely must lead in the amount of leagues per capita. They play a ton of golf here.

However, until now, Flint golf was primarily for Flint area people. This is changing, according to Jerry Preston and Beverly King of the Flint Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (http://flint.org) "We are starting to develop some golf packages with some of our golf courses and properties," states Preston. With the opening of Captain's Club, Sugarbush and a new nine at Grand Blanc, we have some courses that will attract outside play. Both our Comfort Inn in Davison and the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre have experimented with golf packages on their own. We want to work with them on the packages and also get the word out to the golfing community."

Beverly King indicated there are a number of things that a visitor can combine with golf to really make for an exciting visit. "Golfers and their families can visit the Flint Cultural Center, Crossroads Village, the Sloan Auto Museum or shop until you drop at the Genesee Valley Center."

The area has some excellent lodging facilities from all price ranges. You can find all of this on their web page (flint.org) or receive a brochure by calling 800-25-Flint.

Genesee Area Golf Courses

Beechwood Greens

This is a fine nine hole facility that serves the Mt. Morris area. Owned by Marilyn and Larry Denty, they continue to give it tender loving care.

1161 W. Frances, Mt. Morris. Quarter mile west of Saginaw on West Frances. 810-686-4200.

Brookwood Golf Club

Purchased by the IMA in 1963, Brookwood gets a tremendous amount of play from its 42 leagues. The IMA, as much a part of Flint history as General Motors, has taken great care of the course. It was because of the inability of the club to have enough tee times that its sister golf course, Sugarbush, was brought on line.

According to Bob Geisenhauer, Brookwood has the toughest par four hole in the state. Its 465 yard, 18th hole has decided many of the tournaments that have been played there over the years. They also point proudly to the 3rd hole, a par three over water that has become their signature hole.

6045 Davison Road, Burton. I-69 to Belsay Road, north one mile. 810-742-4930.

Captain's Club

Captain's Club is yet another fine signature course to be built in our state. Designed by golf's super star, Raymond Floyd with an assist from architect Harry Bowers, it has become famous fast. Captain's Club is one of the nine courses selected by the Michigan Travel Bureau in their Great Drives in Michigan campaign.

While the course is in its third year of operation, the clubhouse is only coming on board this year. It was well worth the wait, as it is spectacular. You will find Larry LaPoint, head professional, ready to give you some superb service. Steve Kolongowski, superintendent, makes sure that the course is in great shape. And the restaurant promises to be one of the area's best when it opens.

The Captain's Club has a first rate practice facility with over 18,000 square feet of bent grass waiting for the golfer who wants to warm up or work up on their game. The course has multiple tees from 5,047 to 6,765 yards taking it from a slope rating of 121 to 133. Golfers will find plenty of water on the front nine and lots of marshland on the back. Bowers and Floyd have done some great bunkering and mounding. Each hole has a different look.

1 Golfside Dr., Grand Blanc. From Detroit take exit 106 north off of I-75. Go north one mile from Baldwin and then east one mile. From Saginaw, take exit 108 Holly Rd. south to Baldwin and then east on Baldwin for 3 miles. 810-695-GOLF.

Rating: 73.3/133

Fenton Farms

Richard Funk, Fenton Farm's golf professional and GM, is pumped over the status of his course. "We are very proud of our new course rating of 71.7 and slope rating of 125," said Funk. Paul Clute, who more recently worked on the construction side of the Lanny Wadkins-designed Cherry Creek in Shelby Township, has done an excellent job in renovating the course. Fenton Farms, the old Torrey Pines, has a number of new holes, plenty of new drainage, hundreds of new trees, both new and renovated bunkers and a first rate management team. The clubhouse has been modernized and now features a small banquet area which is used for golf as well as a gathering place for local events.

The clientele has changed a tad, with more golfers playing 18 holes than 9. The golf outing business has increased tremendously since the course's renovation.

Fenton Farms is another one of those expressway courses. As you drive north on US-23, you can see the course off on the right between North and Thompson Roads. It is a great place to stop on the way up or the way back from a northern trip. Or it is a nice place to play if you want to golf more and drive less.

Future plans call for another 9 holes and possibly some real estate development. The Fenton area continues to grow and Fenton Farms wants to be a part of the action.

12312 Torrey Road, Fenton. Off US-23 between North and Thompson Road exits. 810-629-1212. Rating: 71.7/125

Genesee Valley Meadows

Todd Schultz, pro shop attendant, did not blink an eye when asked what was Genesee Valley Meadows strongest point. "Our course is the best manicured course in the area." He's right. Genesee Valley Meadows is a striking course that has very little course clutter. Congrats are in order for course superintendent, Mario Genovesi. The fairways are in immaculate shape and as such seem to offer some real definition to the bunkers, trees and ponds that are a part of it. It has enormous league play during the week, so your best bet is to call for tee times.

Stan Frankel is the owner and Marti Coulman is the GM. Marti has been with the course since Frankel bought it 24 years ago. She is past president and charter member of the Michigan Association of Public Golf Courses. Marti said that Genesee Valley is proud of its credibility with the golfing public. "We pour lots of money back into the course," she said.

5499 Miller Road, Swartz Creek. Exit W. off I-75 on Miller Road or take exits 129-131 off of I-96. 313-732-1401.

Rating: 73.2/133

Goodrich Country Club

Goodrich is a semi private club that will take tee off times on the weekend. It features some hills on the front nine and a number of water holes on the back.

10080 Hegel Rd., Goodrich. 810-636-2493.

Rating: 66.4/104

Grand Blanc Golf and Country Club

Ron Lenard, owner of Grand Blanc Golf and Country Club, is readying another nine hole course that will give him 36 holes in mid July.

The 27 holes now known as the Red, White and Blue courses will likely give way to other names when all of them are complete.

Ron, his sons Tony and Mark, and daughter Lorie have worked hard since they purchased the course in 1989 to upgrade the facilities. Ray, who owned a restaurant in Livonia before he bought Grand Blanc, is certainly no stranger to hard work. He was out mowing one of his new fairways when we stopped by. The late spring did not allow the course to grow in as planned and the opening has been put back until mid July.

However, golfers will be in for a real treat. Ron has some wonderful holes he is adding to the mix, a total of 11, and he feels he will be able to accommodate all kinds of golfers when it is finished. Mark Lenard feels that 36 holes will give them all kinds of options. The club features a large banquet area as well as practice facilities.

5270 Perry Road, Grand Blanc. One Perry one mile E. of Saginaw. 810-694-5960.

Kearsley Lake Golf Course

Kearsley Lake is another fine Flint municipal course. The course wraps around Kearsley Lake and gives the golfer a number of picturesque holes to play. Gordon Marmion, PGA pro out of the Ferris State University program, is ecstatic in his praise of the new Flint mayor, Woodrow Stanley. "The new administration has been very supportive of golf. We have purchased substantial amounts of maintenance equipment and our courses are looking as good as they ever have." Further plans call for an upgrade of their driving range and perhaps a renovation of the club house. Like other municipal courses, you need to call ahead to make sure you can get on. They push a lot of rounds through.

G4266 East Pierson, Flint. Pierson, I-475 to Dort exit, travel S. on Dort. 810-736-0930.

Rating: 70.6/113

Loch Lomond Golf Club

If you are looking for a wee touch of Scotland, you need only to stop by and visit with Rosamond and Douglas Main, owners of the Loch Lomond Golf Course.

John Main, a hard working man straight from Scotland, designed the course in the late 50's. He also had a company that landscaped many of the GM plants in and around the area. John passed away 20 years ago, and his son Douglas who was on the tour at that time, decided to come back and take care of the place. Loch Lomond is a nice nine hole course that has had a lot of love over the past 40 years.

5267 S. Dort Hwy., Flint. Quarter mile N. of South Saginaw, between Flint and Grand Blanc. 810-742-1434.

Mott Park Golf Course

Mott is a nice nine hole walking course and is one of four Flint municipal courses. It is a well maintained layout with a quaint clubhouse.

2401 Nolen Drive, Flint. Downtown Flint_call for directions. 810-766-7077. Pierce Park

One of the four Flint municipal courses, Pierce Park is an executive par three course which plays to 2354 yards and a par 54. Home of Flint's Senior Center, you might even be able to scare up a game of lawn bowling.

2302 Brookside Dr., Flint. I-69, to Dort North, a left onto Court and left on Brookside. 810-766-7297.

River Forest

River Forest is a par three course in an apartment complex. Tee times are available.

3571 Rue Forest, Flint. West of Flint on Beecher Road. 810-732-9240.

Seifert Golf Club

Built in the late 50's, Seifert Golf Plus offers golfers a real chance to work on their short game. Seifert's features a driving range, putting course and a chip and putt course for their clientele. Tom North, one of the PGA professionals at Seifert's, says that the center offers total golf lessons for everyone.

2193 W. Grand, Grand Blanc. Exit US-23 at Grand Blanc Rd.-West. 810-655-8070.

Southmoor GC

Joe Drudi describes his father John's course as an enjoyable course with exceptional greens. "It is a short course at 5205 yards and plays to a par 69. However, we do take good care of it and we do have very nice greens." His father bought the course about 14 years ago. The course also has a number of other sports related facilities.

Southmoor Golf, Burton. I-75 to Bristol Road, go East on Bristol to Dort Hwy. 810-743-4080.


Reviewed by Jack Berry in the April/May '95 issue of Michigan Golfer, Sugarbush has continued to turn heads in the southeast Michigan area. The course is in excellent shape, a tribute to the marketing strategy of the Sugarbush team who waited for it to mature before sending off golfers. Golf professional, Tom Wojciechowski, did indicate that the course will undergo some tweaking this year with the addition of some new tee locations. "We realized we had to soften the course up a little." According to Wes Koons, assistant professional, "With the addition of a fifth tee area, we have moved the distance on the silver tees down to 6100 yards and the forward tees to 5400 yards. We sent our tee placement to Alice Dye and she assisted with the new placements for the women's tees. This should also help them on the 18th hole. The new tee location will get the ladies closer to the waste area and thus let them negotiate the 45-50 yard carry to the green much better.

Sugarbush is a beautiful course that has certainly contributed to destination golf in the Genesee area. Golf packages are now available with the Comfort Inn in Davison or the Gateway Centre Holiday Inn in Flint. Call 810-232-5300.

Davison. North of I-69 on Baxter Road in Davison. 810-653-3326 or 800-924-3888.

Swartz Creek

This 27 hole layout has been giving Flint area golfers pleasure for almost seventy years. Built in the late '20s, it was one of the state's outstanding tracts at the time. The course had to be reconfigured when I-69 went through in the '60s. At that time the third nine was also added. Rose Sies, an employee at the course for 19 years, says that it is in the best shape since she has been there. They push through about 40 leagues a week. Anyone wanting to play should call for tee times. Swartz Creek is one of four Flint municipal courses. It has a full service golf shop, locker rooms and bar.

1902 Hammerberg, Flint. I-69 E. of I-75. 810-766-7043. Rating: 71.6/119

Vienna Greens

Vienna Greens is a course that comfortably serves the local market. Built back in the '60s as first a nine hole course, the course is well maintained and offers considerable value for the golfer.

1184 E. Tobias, Clio. Three miles East of Clio. 810-686-1443.

Rating: 69.8/112


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