Eagle Crest Golf Course
Teacher’s Comments: A nice upscale course
Located on the western shore of Ford Lake, the Eagle Crest Golf Course is owned by Eastern Michigan University, and serves as the school’s home course. It is also part of the Marriott resort by the same name, which contains Eastern Michigan’s conference center. Unlike other University courses, however, this one is open to the general public.
I had actually played this course quite a few years ago and was not at all impressed. On my return visit, however, I found the situation much improved. Conditions on the day I played were excellent, with fairways and greens in top shape. Plants and trees were well-cared for. Landscaping had improved greatly. Indeed, the entire course looks as though a great deal of money has been invested in the intervening years. At this point, the place really does have the feel of a hotel resort course.
Most of Eagle Crest is laid out on two flat stretches of land. Five holes are on the plateau overlooking the lake; the remainder are on the flood plain below. In spite of this, elevation changes come into play on just five holes, for most are either on one side of the precipice or the other.
While the fairways do not exactly run back and forth in parallel, golfers are never far from another hole. They are for the most part spaced out enough to avoid becoming a shooting gallery, but there is never any sense of isolation. Eagle Crest also is relatively straight, with just two strong doglegs (on 10 and 11).
Water is another strong theme at Eagle Crest. The signature par 5 sixteenth runs along Ford Lake, and has an island green at the end of its 520 yard length. In addition to the lake itself, there are numerous small ponds and waterways making an appearance on virtually all of the holes on the lower half of the course.
The aforementioned sixteenth is by far the most notable hole on the course. The tee shot requires a medium carry over a marsh to a tight, tree lined fairway. The strategic decision here is length vs accuracy. All but the longest bombers should choose accuracy, because it is unlikely that anyone can reach the green in two and make the shot stick. Long irons and woods will simply bounce off into the surrounding water. For mortals, the second shot needs to be an accurate layup short of water fronting the green. From there, it’s a short iron or wedge into the island green.
From the back tees, the course stretches to a more than respectable 6,735 yards and plays to a 72.9/140. From the middle tees, it comes in at 6,150 and plays 69.6/131. There are four sets of tees in all.
Strangely, the courses I’ve played that are closest in “look and feel” to Eagle Crest were in Myrtle Beach and Disney World. I can’t really explain it. Perhaps it is the water, or the landscaping, or just the design. It might be the design. The architect, Karl LItten, is known for his work in Florida.
A bogey golfer should have a great time at Eagle Crest. The course rewards good shots, but does not unduly punish bad ones. There are only a couple of forced carries to frustrate shorter hitters. Greens are comfortably sized and readable.
Rates for Eagle Crest are in the $50 range on weekdays and $60 on weekends. Hotel guests and players associated with Eastern Michigan get discounted rates.