Page 1


In This Issue V O L U M E

27

F A L L

2 0 0 9

N U M B E R

3

http://michigangolfer.com MICHIGAN GOLFER Publisher/Editor Art McCafferty artmccaf@glsp.com Editor Emeritus Terry Moore

Janina Parrott Jacobs Chris Lewis Herschel Nathanial Bernice Phillips Dave Ruthenberg Scott Sullivan John Wukovits Photo/Video Mike Brown Kevin Frisch Tim Hygh Dave Richards Carter Sherline Joe Yunkman

Associate Publisher/Producer Jennie McCafferty

Writers Jeff Bairley Susan Bairley L’anse Bannon Mike Beckman Jack Berry Michael Caples Jason Deegan Tom Doak Mike Duff Rob Franciosi Thad Gutowski Marty Henwood Kelly Hill Greg Johnson Vartan Kupelian Brian Manning Jim Neff Norm Sinclair Michael Patrick Shiels Ron Whitten Gary Holaway

Director of Accounting Cheryl Clark

Michigan Golfer is produced by

Great Lakes Sports Publications, Inc.

GLSP Advertising & Business Office 4007 Carpenter Road, #366 Ypsilanti, MI 48197 734.507.0241 734.434.4765 FAX info@glsp.com glsp.com

Michigan Golfer is published online four times a year by Great Lakes Sports Publications, Inc., 4007 Carpenter Rd, #366, Ypsilanti, MI 48197. All contents of this publication are copyrighted, all rights reserved. Reproduction or use, without written permission, of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited. All unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and illustrations will not be returned unless accompanied by a properly addressed envelope, bearing sufficient postage; publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited materials. The views and opinions of the writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect endorsement of views and/or philosophy of Michigan Golfer. Back Issues: May be ordered by sending $5.00 with your name, address and issue requested to Michigan Golfer, 4007 Carpenter Road, #366, Ypsilanti, MI 48197.

2

SPRING

2009

3

Michigan Golf Tournaments – R.I.P. By Art McCafferty

16

Donald Ross’ Impact on Metro Detroit

23

‘Bandit’ Red Wings Hit the Ice er . . Turf at Warwick Hills

26

An Early Day in the Life of a Golf Course Superindent

28

Slice of Life

By Chris Lewis

By Michael Caples

By Michael Caples By Terry Moore

Cover: Tiger Woods with the Buick Goddess Trophy, August 2, 2009. Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios.

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

Michigan Golf Tournaments – R.I.P.

M

Kathy Jason, daughter of Buick Open founder Waldo McNaught, with the Buick Open’s historic marker. By Art McCafferty

ichigan had become a major destination in American golf with the building of hundreds of golf courses in the 80’s and 90’s. These new MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

3


Photo courtesy of Buick Open Torunament

Buick Open Trophy courses that joined the legions of courses built before by the likes of Ross, Matthews, Bendelow, etc. gave us an enormous advantage over other states. To show off these courses, we developed destinations like the Gaylord Golf Mecca and America’s Summer Golf Capital. Major championships, the U.S. Amateur, The U.S. Women’s Open, the U.S. Publinx, the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup, propelled Michigan onto the world map of golf destinations. Those were heady years. And while the U.S. Senior will be coming to Indianwood soon, the 4

FALL

2009

recent cancellation of the Buick Open, along with all of the other tournaments mentioned here, harkens us to the song penned by Tiger Wood’s Pro-Am partner, Bob Seger, the “Famous Final Scene’. That scene was Tiger Woods admiring his third and probably last Buick Open trophy in the midst of members of the tournament committee– a bittersweet ending to 52 years of golf.

As the tour moves on to their regular stops, it was noted that the Buick dates have already been taken by the Greenbrier Classic.

As a publication and producer of golf content in Michigan since 1981, we thought we would reach

back into our nearly three decades of golf coverage to look back at where we have been in our tournament golf. In doing so, we recognize that our state has a rich and continuing tournament history that is created and hosted by the Michigan Section of the PGA and Golf Association of Michigan. For that, we all thank you.

RIP

Buick Open – 1958 - 2009 This year, they put a historical marker at Warwick Hills CC, to honor the 1958 beginning of the

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

5


Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

6

Kenny Perry won the 2008 Buick Open. FALL

2009

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

Buick Open Tournament Committee with Tiger after his 2009 win.

Buick Open. The marker, unfortunately, was just in time to honor the last Buick Open as General Motors shut down the tournament as well as the Buick Invitational scheduled for 2010 in San Diego. This was an extremely painful day for Buick, the citizens of Grand Blanc and Flint, the membership of Warwick Hills CC and the golfers throughout Michigan.

However, the last championship featured the number one golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, on his game and at the top of his class. Woods, who had long been

sponsored by Buick, came back to give the tournament a first class farewell.

At the awards ceremony, Tiger remarked, “ the people here have always been excited for us to come out and play, and they’ve always supported this event. All the years they’ve always come out in droves, and I’m very appreciative of that. Hopefully, we do get to come back here in this area, this region soon, because the fans here are so excited about golf. They’re pretty much sports nuts anyways, and for us to come out here and play, you know, it’s always been special.”

Buick Open Video

2009 Buick Open Finale http://michigangolfer.tv/2009shows/buickopen/

2009 Pro Am http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLe5NQyB4MU

2007 50 Years http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TbVVp5ZT9U MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

7


Photo by Clarence Sormin

Western Amateur 2004 Champion Ryan Moore, Tournament Chairman Dennis Mitchell, Runner-up James Nitties

Western Amateur at Point O’Woods 1962 - 2008

After hosting the Western Amateur Championship for 38 straight years and 40 of the past 46, the event had run its course. During that time, Tom Weiskopf, Andy North, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Andy Bean, Hal Sutton, Scott Verplank, Phil Michelson, Justin Leonard, Tiger Woods and Danny Lee had participated.. Those golfers alone, and there were many others, have won 196 PGA tournaments and 27 major championships. However, attendance had dropped considerably, from the heydays of 10,000 spectators to a tenth of that in the past few years. People had begun to turn 8

FALL

2009

to their TV’s for their golf fix. Essentially, a golf fan could see tournament golf nearly every day on the Golf Channel and other network and cable channels. Plus, golf was enjoying such boom years, that many competitive tournaments had sprung up, The tournament moved to Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois this year. Western Amateur Video

2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vbtAkNbX4Q

2003 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBBzR85Jx1E

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


Native American Cup 2005-2006

Okay, so this was a short lived tournament– lasting just two years– but it held a lot of promise. The lack of sufficient start up capital was such that the organizer and founder of the tournament, Henry Boulley, fell quickly into debt. Boulley, at the time an employee of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, had organized a few Native American themed tournaments for the Chippewa tribe and they became the foundation for the Native American Cup, an event modeled after the Ryder Cup.

Photo by Art McCafferty

The first event featured Notah Begay, a room mate of Tiger Woods when they were at Stanford. Begay was also a winner on the PGA tour himself. The second Native American Cup featured a successful Native American female golfer, Cheryl Mitchell.

The first Native American Cup featured Notah Begay, who was Tiger Woods room mate at Stanford. Native American Cup Video

2006 http://michigangolfer.tv/2006shows/nativeamericancup/ 2005 http://michigangolfer.tv/2005shows/nativeamericancup/

Again, while the event was still bleeding seed money, it had begun to pick up some stature among the various North American tribes. As we know, American tribes have gotten into golf course development as a recreational draw for many of their casinos. A national Native American tournament was a very compelling idea.

However, with a heavy debt load, Boulley had to cancel the third event. Boulley later on in the year, moved to Cailfornia and perhaps, will try to make a new beginning out there.

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

9


Ford Senior Players Championship 1991-2006

The Ford Senior Players Championship, was first known as the Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship when they played it at Dearborn CC from 1990 - 1992. In 1993, they changed the course to the TPC Dearborn course that Jack Nicklaus designed, where it stayed until the tournament was cancelled after the 2006 event.

Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

This was the second car-sponsored tournament in Michigan to be cancelled, six years after the Oldsmobile Classic at Walnut Hills and preceding the Buick Open by three years.

Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

Peter Jacobsen, 2005 winner, Ford Senior Players Championship.

Bobby Wadkins, 2006 winner, Ford Senior Players Championship. 10

FALL

2009

•

The tournament was well received during its reign and had its share of big name winners; Dave Stockton, J.C. Snead, Raymond Floyd, Craig Stadler, Peter Jacobsen, Hale Irwin and in its finale, Bobby Wadkins. Prior to Dearborn and the Mazda and Ford sponsorships, the tournament was held at Canterbury GC in Ohio and TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra in Florida.

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


Treetops Par 3 Shootout - 1999 - 2006

Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

When writers turn their keyboarding to the Golden Days of Michigan Golf (1975-2005), a number of names will pop up as the change agents in the sport. These change agents not only contributed to Michigan golf, but golf on a national level as well. A name that will rise on everyone’s list will be Rick Smith. Smith has become a top 10 golf instructor in America, a first rate golf course architect, a resort owner in Treetops and the brains behind both the Big Break and Top Guns at the Par 3 Shootout: Arnold Palmer, Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson the Par 3 Shootouts. and Lee Trivino Threetops, a named coined by Jack Berry, became a destination course in America after being featured on the Par 3 Shootout for eight years. The tournament featured players from both the PGA and Champions Tour and had sponsorship from ESPN, Pacific Life, Tylenol, and ING.

Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

Past winners included, Lee Janzen, Ray Floyd, Lee Trevino, Andy North, Fred Couples and Fuzzy Zoeller. Also, of note, was the million dollar hole-inone that Lee Trevino got in 2001.

While there is hope that some day it might come back, it is a remote possibility in today’s economic climate. Par 3 Shootout Video

Lee Trevino shot a hole-in-one worth one million dollars.

2002 http://michigangolfer.tv/2002shows/show21/

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

11


Farmers Charity Classic 1991- 2004

much like the Nationwide Tour as a training ground for future LPGA golfers.

The Farmers Charity Classic was a tournament of many names that had thrived in Grand Rapids since 1986. Known from 1986 through 1990 as the Greater Grand Rapids Open, the event picked up a deep pocketed sponsor in First of America Bank and became the First of Jim Thorpe won the final America Classic Farmers Charity Classic. from 1991 to 1998. When that sponsor pulled out, it became the Foremost Insurance Championship for two years 1999-2000. Finally, it took on its last mantel, as the Farmers Charity Classic from 2001 to 2004.

Ann Arbor (now Duramed) Futures Tour - 2002 - 2005

The Futures tour started in Tampa, Florida in 1981 and has been in a series of transitions since then. Of late, it has been purchased by the LPGA and functions Ann Arbor Futures Tour Video

2004 http://michigangolfer.tv/2004shows/show14/

12

2003 http://michigangolfer.tv/2003shows/show14/ FALL

2009

•

Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

During its time, played on The Highlands and then Egypt Valley courses, the winners were of superb stature in the golfing senior community. Billy Casper, Orville Moody, Don Massengale, Gibby Gilbert, George Archer, Tony Jacklin, Dave Stockton, Gil Morgan, Larry Nelson, Jay Sigel and Jim Thorpe were all winners.

Lake Forest Golf course under the steady hand of Gilda Johnson, held the Duramed Futures Golf Tour from 2000 – 2005. During that time, the Ann Arbor Bank picked up a couple of years as title sponsor. The 2002 champion, Lorena Ochoa, went on to become the No. 1 ranked female golfer in 2007. Additional champions include Ju Kim of South Korea, and Lindsay Wright of Australia.

Lorena Ochoa won the Futures Tour event at Lake Forest Golf Club in 2002.

Bay Mills Open Players Championship 2002 - 2005

The Bay Mills Tribe was eager to show off its new Mike Husby designed golf course as well as some of their new gaming facilities in the early part of this century. They made the move to big time tournament golf by signing with the Canadian Tour. The tour was equally anxious to land another tournament stop on

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


Photo by Art McCafferty

Jeff Quinney waits to receive his check and trophy for winning the first Bay Mills Open. their schedule and voila, it was a match made in golf heaven. This was a very big deal for the tribe members who inhabit the very small reservation at Brimley. They could see their community on national television, with the covearge of The Golf Channel.

Photo by Art McCafferty

For four years, the eyes of America and Canada were focused on the tournament and

seeing the players of tomorrow today. At the first tournament, Jeff Quinney, former U.S. Amateur champion, took top honors. The second tournament featured young Michele Wie, who received a special invite from tournament director Mike Husby. They had press from all over the world for the first two days. The tournament, in its four year run, had solid champions in Quinney, Michael Harris, Chris Wisler and Rodney Butcher. However, the continued difficulty of attracting local sponsors to share in some of the costs, ultimately led to the cancellation of the tournament after four years.

2005 2004 Michael Harris wins the final Bay Mills Open

Bay Mills Open Players Championship Videos

http://baymillsopen.com/video05.html

http://michigangolfer.tv/2004shows/baymillsopen/

2003 http://michigangolfer.tv/2003shows/baymillsopen

2002 http://michigangolfer.tv/2002shows/baymillsopen/

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

•

FALL

2009

13


Oldsmobile Classic 1992 - 2000

Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

Karrie Webb, Dottie Pepper and Pat Hurst were among the winners of the Oldsmobile Classic, an LPGA tournament that ran from 1992 - 2000 at Walnut Hills CC in East Lansing. The tournament featured purses of 600K and was well respected by tour players. However, with the discontinuation of the Oldsmobile within GM’s product line, the tournament went the way of Lucille in her merry Oldsmobile.

Tiger Woods and Bob Seger played the final Buick Open Pro-Am “Think in terms of bridges burned Think of seasons that must end

See the rivers rise and fall

They will rise and fall again

Everything must have an end

Photo: Michigan Golfer archives

Like an ocean to a shore Like a river to a stream

Like a river to a stream

It’s the famous final scene”

Dottie Pepper celebrates her win at the Oldsmobile Classic. 14

FALL

2009

-- Bob Seger

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

15


Donald Ross’ Impact on Metro Detroit

G

By Chris Lewis

olf course architect Donald Ross is well-known for designing some of the most famous courses in the nation, such as Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina and Oak Hill Country Club in New York at the turn of the 20th century. However, many Michiganders may not realize how involved Ross was in the Detroit Metro area throughout his golf course design career.

Before his death in 1948, Ross designed dozens of golf courses in the state, including one of the most respected golf courses in the world, Oakland Hills Country Club. In order to appreciate the work of Ross in Detroit, it is important to learn about the past history and present times of each of his designs in the area.

Bloomfield Hills Country Club Bloomfield Hills, MI

Originally designed as a 12-hole course in 1909 by Tom Bendelow and completed by H.S. Colt as an 18-hole course in 1912, the members-only course has continually made a mark on the Metro Detroit golfing scene throughout the decades. Since 1912, the course 16

FALL

2009

has been redesigned by some of the most respected golf architects of all time, including Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills, and Donald Ross himself.

At 6,529 yards from the back tees, a course rating of 71.5, and a slope rating of 126, Bloomfield Hills Country Club is among the most challenging courses in the southeast Michigan area. Along with its difficulty, the country club is also well-admired for its beauty through its bent grass greens, tree-lined fairways, and numerous sand bunkers.

Interestingly, the club is oriented only by members and their families, instead of businesses, as many private clubs are. Even though the course is now rather short in length when compared to most other courses, Bloomfield Hills Country Club is still known for providing a test to each golfer who walks its fairways, in part due to the redesign of Donald Ross back in the 1930s.

Dearborn Country Club Dearborn, MI

Founded by Henry Ford and designed by Donald Ross in

1925, the Dearborn Country Club has hosted tournaments such as the Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship, a former Champions Tour major championship, and the Lady Stroh’s Open, a former LPGA tournament. The Dearborn Country Club offers four sets of tee boxes for golfers of various skill levels as the course measures 6,787 yards from the back tee. Yet another private course, it was originally built for Ford’s friends and employees during the Roaring Twenties. Today, the course’s fairways are still graced by relatives of Ford’s former friends and workers, as well as other members who enjoy the course throughout the spring and summer months. Along with a superbly manicured golf course, the country club also offers fine dining and activities, including golf programs and a swimming pool facility for children of all ages. Finally, the country club is also revered for its English Tudor-style clubhouse which was built by architect Albert Kahn back in the ‘20s. If you are

Photo right courtesy of Oakland Hills: Donald Ross designed Oakland Hills South Course.

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


Photo courtesy of Detroit Golf Club

Detroit Golf Club ~ North and South Highland Park, MI

Detroit Golf Club

As one of the oldest golf clubs in the United States, the Detroit Golf Club was founded in 1899 and became a nine-hole course one year later. By 1914 Donald Ross designed two 18-hole courses, the North and the South, on the property in order to increase membership. The golf club’s North Course measures 6,837 yards from the back tees in comparison to the considerably shorter South Course, which measures only 5,967 from the back tees. In addition to its length, the North Course also has narrow tree-lined fairways that will punish long drivers who tend to be inaccurate off the tee. In the meantime, the course also challenges golfers through its undulating greens which are a trademark of Ross. Through its large bunkers 18

FALL

2009

and challenging greens and fairways, the North Course is still frustrating golfers over 90 years after it was first built. While the South Course is rather short when compared to today’s 7,200 yardlong layouts, the course still offers a test to golfers every day through its long par-four holes and fast, undulating greens.

While the courses may have been built before World War I, during the era of Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon, Detroit Golf Club’s North and South courses are still treasured for their conditioning and natural beauty, as well as their offers of tricky, yet fair tests of golf.

Franklin Hills Country Club Franklin, MI

Built in 1927, Franklin Hills is known primarily for its hilly terrain, thin fairways, and fast, elevated, and multi-tiered greens. Just like most of Ross’ other courses, Franklin Hills offers a challenge to golfers of all skill levels, not for its distance, but for its reliance on accurate driving and a true feel for the short game. Franklin Hills measures 6,713 yards from the back tees and offers three sets of tee boxes for golfers to

Photo courtesy of Grosse Ile Golf & CC

lucky enough to be a member of the country club, you will surely enjoy one of Ross’ true gems day after day.

choose from. However, while the course’s distance does not seem overwhelmingly awe-aspiring, the course’s continuous respect throughout the decades has led to various accolades. In 1996, Golf Digest rated Franklin Hills as the ninth “Best in State” course and, in 1998, rated the course as the fourth “Best in State”. Meanwhile, Golfweek voted Franklin Hills 52nd among “America’s Best 100 Classical Courses” in 1997.

Franklin Hills continues to prove that a golf course can still receive attention and admiration even if it is not overwhelmingly long.

Grosse Ile Golf and Country Club Grosse Ile, MI

From its opening in 1919 to present day times, Grosse Isle Golf and Country Club has provided entertainment and elegance to Grosse Ile island residents and non-residents alike. Through Donald Ross’ hard work and initiative, Grosse Ile became only the third golf course in the United States to have both its fairways and greens watered on a regular basis. During the past decade, the

Grosse Ile Golf and Country Club

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


course was upgraded and repaired in order to continue its long-standing tradition of offering golfers a challenging round of golf on a well-manicured course in a splendid natural setting. While Grosse Ile Golf and Country Club offers four tees for golfers of all skill levels, the course measures 6,710 yards from the back tees and has a course rating of 72.9 and a slope rating of 131.

Finally, the club hosts an annual invitational tournament. The fourday-long event includes fellowship, dances, and dinners, along with a golf competition that has lured the likes of Arnold Palmer in the past. With its distinct Donald Ross design, elegance, and yearly invitational tournament, Grosse Ile Golf and Country Club has satisfied members for the past 90 years.

Knollwood Country Club West Bloomfield, MI

Since 1925, Knollwood Country Club has provided golfers of all skill levels with an enjoyable, yet challenging golfing experience. At 6,810 yards, Knollwood is one of Ross’ longest courses in the state of Michigan.

With a course rating of 74.8 and a slope rating of 132, Knollwood will challenge even the longest hitters through its sloping terrain and narrow fairways. Meanwhile, Knollwood’s small to mediumsized greens will test even the most naturally gifted feel players. In addition to a golf course that is reminiscent of most of Ross’ 20

FALL

2009

designs and is as beautiful as it is demanding, Knollwood Country Club’s banquet facility is designed for events such as weddings, showers, and bat-mitzvahs. Along with its banquet facility, Knollwood is regarded for its five-star food service that will please even the most sensitive of tastes. As a private club, Knollwood has provided a fun test of golf in a relaxed environment for decades and will continue to do so in the years to come.

Monroe Golf and Country Club Monroe, MI

Originally designed by Ross in 1919, Monroe Golf and Country Club’s 18-hole course only measures 6,400 yards. However, its narrow fairways will break the hearts of many of today’s long drivers, while its undulating greens and countless bunkers will frustrate all golfers who have an opportunity to play the course. Along with its tree-lined fairways, the course has water hazards on nine of 18 holes in order to further demand skilled shot-making.

While Michigan golf course architect Jerry Matthews redesigned the course in a minor fashion in 2004, the course is still reminiscent of Ross’ architectural traits with its narrow fairways and fast greens.

Along with a taxing golf course, the country club offers a gorgeous two-story clubhouse, as well as fine-dining and entertainment through its ballroom, swimming pool, and tennis courts.

New Hawthorne Valley Golf Course Westland, MI

The New Hawthorne Valley Golf Course features nine holes of public golf for Metro Detroit residents to enjoy. Designed by Donald Ross in 1930, New Hawthorne is one of the easier layouts of Ross’ course designs in Michigan.

The course only measures 2,881 yards, however, it also only offers one tee box for all golfers. Like most of Ross’ courses, the fairways are surrounded by trees, but New Hawthorne Valley’s fairways are still much more generous than most of Ross’ other courses. Along with easier landing areas, the course’s greens are also much slower when compared to courses such as Detroit Golf Club and Franklin Hills Country Club. Located at the Hawthorne Valley Country Club, this nine-hole course is worth a visit, if only to provide relaxation and camaraderie on a hot summer day.

Oakland Hills Country Club ~ North and South Bloomfield Hills, MI

As one of the most popular courses in the world, the South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club has hosted some of the most significant major championships of all time, including six U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships since its opening in 1918. By hosting these major championships, the

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


Photo by Art McCafferty

Oakland Hills hosted the 2004 Ryder Cup. South Course has welcomed some of the greatest golfers in the history of the game, including Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. During the 2008 PGA Championship, the course measured 7,395 yards and played to a par of only 70. However, the course has a par of 72 during all other weeks that it is opened for play. With a slope of 139 and course rating of 76 from the back tees, Oakland Hills’ South Course is arguably Ross’ most challenging

layout due to its small, undulated greens and its hilly terrain.

However, no one will deny that the course is one of Ross’ signatures, along with Pinehurst No. 2 and Oak Hill. Even though the South Course is the most popular course in the state, few Michiganders will ever have an opportunity to play it, unless they are members of the country club or are friends or relatives of members.

Along with the world-class and historic South Course, Oakland

Hills is also well-known for its prominent Victorian style clubhouse that is continuously respected as one of the finest clubhouses in the world.

While the South Course is known as one of the most premium courses in the world, the North Course, also designed by Ross, also provides golfers with a superb test through its Scottish links-style design and fast greens. Even though the South Course has hosted all of Oakland Hill’s tournaments (except for one round of the

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

21


2002 U.S. Amateur), the North Course should still receive credit as one of the top-tier courses in Michigan.

Through its hosting of numerous major championships, its famed South Course, and brilliant clubhouse, Oakland Hills Country Club is one of the most beloved country clubs in the world.

Rackham Golf Course Huntington Woods, MI

As one of Ross’ only designs in Michigan that is opened for the public, Rackham Golf Course has provided entertainment to guests from all over the Detroit area since its opening in 1924. The 18-hole course offers three different tees and measures 6,555 yards from the back tees. Guests will notice the tight fairways and sloping greens from the start of their rounds.

With its location in the heart of the Detroit area, right next to the Detroit Zoo, one would think that the course is surrounded by the busyness of the city. However, once golfers step on the course’s first tee box, they are able to relax and leave the busyness behind them for a few hours.

Throughout the twentieth century and well into the new millennium, the course has attracted all types of people, ranging from celebrities like boxer Joe Louis to children who are just beginning to learn the game of golf. There is no doubt that the course will continue to draw golfers of all ages and skill levels for years to come. 22

FALL

2009

Rogell Golf Course Detroit, MI

Opened in 1917, the Rogell Golf Course is one of the shortest golf courses in the Metro Detroit area as it only measures 6,075 yards from the back tees.

Yet another public course, Rogell has invited golfers year after year through its tremendous golfing value that is respected as among the best in the state, as well as through the true shot-making skills that are required to achieve success on the courses’ rolling terrain. While the course’s fairways are much wider than most of Ross’ layouts, the Rouge River does provide various water hazards for all golfers. Since the course has recently been renovated, now is the perfect time to play the classic and affordable layout. The well-manicured and challenging Rogell Golf Course awaits you.

Warren Valley Golf Club ~ East and West Dearborn Heights, MI

Since 1922, Warren Valley’s East and West Courses have provided the public with an opportunity to play two of Ross’ designs during the same day. Both layouts contain treelined, rolling fairways, as well as scenic views as the course winds around the Rouge River. Each course has three different tee boxes for golfers to choose from as long driving distances are

not imperative for golfing success. While each course only measures a little over 6,100 yards, the East and West courses still provide golfing drama through numerous dogleg hole layouts, streams, and hills. However, Warren Valley’s greens are much larger and have fewer undulations than most of Ross’ other designs, in order to offer hope for the possibility of a low scoring round.

This 36-hole golf club is sure to continue to entice Metro Detroit residents and visitors as it has for over 80 years.

A

s you can see, Donald Ross has left an indelible mark on the Detroit area through some of his greatest golf course designs. From the affordable Rogell Golf Course to the historically prominent Oakland Hills Country Club’s South Course, Ross’ designs have been played by both amateurs and professionals. As a sign of Ross’ design consistency, golfers know a Donald Ross designed golf course when they see one – a course with narrow fairways, hilly terrain, and undulating greens.

When you play a Donald Ross designed golf course, you will know that you have spent your money well as you begin to play some of the most well-respected golf course designs in the world. It is now time for you to begin to experience Donald Ross’ gems for yourself in the Motor City. The memories will be sure to last a lifetime. MG

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


O

‘Bandit’ Red Wings Hit the Ice er . . . Turf at Warwick Hills By Michael Caples

n a day where Warwick Hills was inhabited by all types of celebrities teeing off, two athletes nearly stole the show. They just weren’t golfers.

Detroit Red Wing forwards Dan Cleary and Kirk Maltby traded their hockey sticks for golf clubs on Wednesday to compete in the Pure Michigan Pro-Am at the Buick Open.

“It was great,” said Maltby, a four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings. “The weather turned out to a beautiful day, and we got to play with Brad and he was great out there with us. I made a few good shots so I don’t feel like I was totally useless out there.” When asked how he felt about the round, Maltby joked that he didn’t have much time to practice.

Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

The pair teamed up for 18 holes with PGA Tour player Brad Faxon in a fun best-ball event against 43 other pro/celebrity pairings.

Dan Cleary

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

23


Photo by Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

“I like to say that I haven’t played much this year, so that’s my excuse. But it was a typical round…make some good ones, maybe have a few more bad ones then that, but I enjoyed it.”

Cleary, however, has found time to hit the links this summer. Instead of heading to California during the offseason like usual, Dan and his wife Jelena stayed in Detroit for the birth of their second child. To work on his game in the metro-Detroit area, the 2007 Stanley Cup champion joined Oakland Hills Country Club. While he seemed to strike the ball better then Maltby, Cleary was quick to point out that his Wings’ teammate had his fair share of contributions on the scorecard. 24

FALL

2009

Kurt Maltby

“He helped us out there on the one par-five on the front and made a birdie. We had a good score for our team, Faxon made some putts, it was awesome..”

Cleary had a distraction during the pro-am that he couldn’t prepare for during his rounds at Oakland Hills. Fans lined the ropes between each green and tee requesting autographs on golf and Red Wings memorabilia after they finished every hole. The duo signed as many items as they could as they headed for the next hole.

“I can’t imagine Sundays with the grandstands being pretty crowded,” Cleary said. “The nerves you get on the golf course are so much different then on the

ice, but it was a great experience.” Maltby commented on the fact that there was no glass and boards separating them from their fans at the golf event.

They’re a lot closer here,” said Maltby, who played in his second Buick Open pro-am. “It’s pretty hard to hurt a fan in hockey … but when a ball comes screaming in from about 50 yards out, it’s hard to get out of the way. I’m glad none of that happened today.”

“It’s nice to get applauded,” Maltby continued. “And you can hear them a lot better, but no one had anything too bad to say today.” The added fan attention didn’t

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


bother their team captain Faxon. The eight-time tournament winner said he enjoyed playing with the two Red Wings.

“They’re absolute bandits, they’re way over-handicapped,” he joked. “They’re fantastic, I think they really love being out here.”

The hockey players had nothing but good things to say about Faxon. Cleary said that he is his new favorite golfer, and was even requesting that Faxon join him on the practice green after the round.

“I just wanted to know about putting - he’s the best putter on tour,” Cleary said. “We’re going to go over now and do some things. It’s tough to adjust swings and stuff, but the putting stroke, he

just covers it so easy, so he helped out pretty good.”

“He’s just a nice guy,” said Maltby about his PGA Tour teammate. “We talked, it wasn’t just about hockey or golf, it was about families and stuff like that. He was a great guy, very down to earth, and I wish him all the best.”

After just 18 holes, Faxon said he was impressed with the attitudes both Cleary and Maltby displayed on the course. “You can tell they’ve got that competitiveness that any pro athlete has,” Faxon said. “But at the same time, I think that most of the hockey players I’ve been around … I love their attitudes you know? They’ve got that ‘I’ll try as hard as

I can, then I don’t care after that’ care-free.”

Regardless of the competition, both players agreed that the trip up to Grand Blanc was well worth their time. “The atmosphere is awesome,” Cleary said. “Just to be involved in a PGA Tour event is pretty cool. Hanging out with these guys like Faxon and a few other guys … it’s just awesome.” Faxon seemed glad that their stay on the tour would be a short one.

“ You can tell they’ve only been playing for a little while - if they spent more time on it we’d all be in trouble.” MG

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

25


I

Photo courtesy of Livonia public golf courses

An Early Day in the Life of a Golf Course Superintendent

The sun always rises.

t’s 5:30 in the morning. Most people in the metro Detroit area are fast asleep, but Douglas Ware is already hard at work.

Ware is the division golf course superintendent for the Livonia public golf courses. The 33-year-old graduated from Western Michigan University in 1998 with a degree in recreation, and from Michigan State University in 2000 with a two-year golf turf management degree. Ware, along with the rest of his crew, arrives at Fox Creek Golf Course in Livonia, Mich. at 5 a.m. to prepare for the day’s golfers.

With the exception of the main-

26

FALL

2009

By Michael Caples

tenance building, there isn’t a light in sight. The roads are empty, the parking lot is empty, and the clubhouse is still resting from the previous day.

The crew members refill their coffee mugs, and gather around a whiteboard in front of Ware’s office. Listed are the day’s assignments, along with reminders of the next outing and certain things to watch for. Typical assignments include mowing greens and fairways, changing cups (nine per day), cleaning up from the day before, or watering the grounds.

After sending his employees out to various jobs on the course, Ware, starts his daily project.

Today’s job? Spraying the greens. Since Ware has the small staff (normally around seven or eight crew members), he finds himself out on the 6,597 yards of Fox Creek working right along with them. After driving around a golf cart full of chemicals, Ware began following the precise directions for the solution he would be spraying on the greens that morning.

“Fifteen things to mix together, and they all have to go into the tank in a certain order,” Ware said, pointing to a laminated cheat sheet. “…It’s not the easiest thing to do at five in the morning.” The spray Ware was using that morning prevents moss growth on

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


putting greens. Ware said that he tries to spray the greens once every two weeks. The superintendent drove across the entire course, moving up and down each green as his modified cart sprayed the complex solution. Including having to stop for a refill, the project took about three hours.

Ware also gave an inside look at what it’s like trying to prepare a course when the ‘early-risers’ are trying to beat him out to the course. While he was spraying one of the greens, a golf ball came flying towards the green, and rolled just feet away from his cart. Ware glanced at the group standing about 100 yards away, shrugged his shoulders, and with a grin went back to work.

Photo courtesy of Livonia public golf courses

After completing the greens project, Ware heads off for a meeting with the superintendents of the other courses and management. It’s just another day at the office for Ware, who spends every day balancing an impressive workload. The title ‘division superintendent’ means that while he is superintendent at Fox Creek, Ware is also in

charge of Livonia’s other two courses, Idyl Wyld and Whispering Willows. The golf course-management company TJW INC runs the three courses. “I take care of Fox Creek, but for the other two courses, I let them do their thing,” Ware said. “Sometimes I go over and help out with projects… but I’m really a hands off kind of guy, I like to let my guys do it how they want. As long as they get it done the way I like to see it in the end, I’m not going to tell them how to do it.”

Tom Welsh, president of TJW, said that Ware is able to handle his complex position because of his ability to work with his employees. “He’s a smart guy, and he works hard to make sure he gets work out of the other people,” Welsh said. “…He gets people to do what they’re supposed to do, he’s really good at massaging people who don’t really want to work, and people who are kind of hard chargers, he makes sure they channel their energy.” Welsh was also quick to give

The grass is always greener.

Ware credit for dealing with the stresses that come from working outdoors.

“It’s not an easy job,” he said. “You have to be there early in the morning, and you never know what’s going to happen in the day. You could have a rain storm that floods the place off and you have to stay there extra hours, or you could have a good day and not have much to do.”

Even though Ware has been working at courses in the area for the last 13 years, he said one of the most difficult parts is the early mornings. Living on a different schedule than most of society has its fair share of problems. Fox Creek maintenance crew member Andrew Buchta said his life revolves around naps. And Ware said that some days are harder then others. “You have days where you struggle to get up, or you don’t get up and sleep through your alarm,” Ware said. “It happens, but for the most part, it’s life, and you adjust to it.” MG

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

27


Slice of Life The ‘Oops’ Hole at High Pointe

T

Terry Moore

Traverse City in Williamsburg. Tom Doak’s inaugural design, High Pointe was a very fine golf course and one marked by a number of smartly-crafted holes. But the 18th wasn’t one of them. It was a nightmarish and twisting par-five that was not only ruinous to one’s scorecard but also to one’s lasting perceptions of the layout. I mean, you walked off the last green muttering, “What was that?” Well, for those who have forgotten, the 18th hole was beset by wetlands and water. The tee shot had to carry wetlands but then had to find a landing area somewhere in the vicinity of 170 to 215 yards. Too short, you found the wetlands; too long you were in the woods. Then the hole became a dogleg and

Photo courtesy of High Pointe

his is a column I’ve been dying to write for over 20 years. It’s about “oops” holes in golf. More than a decade ago, my colleague and friend Jack Berry and I used to complain about the stupidity of certain golf holes strewn throughout Michigan, many of them at the

18th hole when final, positive impressions were riding on it. Curmudgeon that he is, Jack would try to cajole me into writing a column about these “oops” holes and thus shed light and air on these wounds to golf practical sense. Of course, being an editor of an advertising-driven statewide magazine, I knew the obvious risks of being so candid and “truthful” about golf holes that just don’t work. In turn, I would retort, “Hey, Jack, you’re the veteran newspaper guy protected from the pressures of the advertising department, why don’t you write about the “oops” holes?” As in my case, the “oops holes” subject matter didn’t his editorial calendar. The one oops hole that we both readily agreed upon was the 18th at High Pointe, located northeast of

High Pointe’s Hole Number 18 28

FALL

2009

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


Coincidentally, High Pointe is closed this season and its future status as a golf course is undefined. However, as in the case of controversial public figure now deceased, it does allow one to speak candidly of what transpired during its lifetime. Still curious about the finishing hole, I decided to email Doak, Michigan’s celebrated and awardwinning course designer, and get his feedback on the matter. Not surprisingly, I received a prompt and thoughtful reply. I asked him, “Was it your intention for it (the 18th) to be such a devilish hole with wetlands and forced carries?”

Photo courtesy of Tom Doak, Renaisance Golf Design, Inc.

which required still another long shot over water. All down the right side were wetlands that gobbled up balls. For the third (or one’s X ) shot, a player had somewhere in the neighborhood of 130-160 yards to carry a third wetlands and reach a green protected by a bunker and sloped severely toward the water. The hole was an awkward and terrible end to a most inviting golf course and it always baffled me.

much more of a forced carry, and if you played safely it made it much harder to get back over the wetland for the second shot.”

Tom Doak

email that his original design for the hole required forced carries from the tee and the second shot, it was a late delineation of the wetland by the DNR that proved fateful. He said the DNR representative “flagged” the wetland a bit bigger to the right in the landing area and “then added we needed to maintain a 25-foot buffer from his flags.” The DNR rep did this just as construction was to commence! Doak said, “This move made the tee shot

Doak says he learned a valuable and lasting lesson from the High Pointe experience: “Never design a hole around a wetland unless the delineation was etched in stone and I was comfortable with it.”

With refreshing candor and without any defensiveness, Doak ends ups stating that “for low handicappers and short hitters, the hole is a mess.” However, he also stated that there was “a small group of golfers (maybe 6-10 handicaps who hit the ball a certain distance) who think it’s a great risk/reward hole because it fits their game perfectly.” So as the late Paul Harvey used to say, “that’s the rest of the story” about High Pointe and its “oops” hole.

Doak first explained that developers “tend to push their golf course architects closer to wetland features than they should, because environmental buffers for golf holes are less than for development…so the more we can get into the wetland the more ground will be left over for development.” Doak said High Pointe owner Don Hayden didn’t push him on the point but he was aware of it so “I tried to create a dramatic finishing hole that left more room for future development.” Although Doak admits in his

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

FALL

2009

29

Michigan Golfer, Fall 2009  

Michigan Golfer, Fall 2009

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you