Beacon Hill Golf Course Review
Beacon Hill Golf Club
Commerce Township, Michigan
Teachers’ Comments: A somewhat ragged development course that felt claustrophobic.
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Beacon Hill is a fairly typical southeastern Michigan development course. Routed in and around homes, it crosses over large patches of marsh, and utilitzes space likely deemed unfit for houses because of the proximity of high tension wires. Designed by James R. Dewling, Beacon Hill opened in 1999.
As an aside, Dewling is a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member who has several course designs to his name: Beacon Hill, Timber Trace, Boulder Pointe and Mystic Creek.
Beacon Hill felt constrained; constrained by the housing development; constrained by marsh; and constrained by rights of way and roads. This is not to say that the fairways are particularly narrow; in fact they are plenty wide. I always had the feeling, however, that the slightest miscue off the tee would result in a ball in a marsh or in someone’s yard.
Contributing to the tee box terrors are the large number of blind shots. For example, the green on the par three seventeenth (above) was completely obscured by the marsh grasses. I can’t recall ever playing a blind par three before (I know they exist, I just don’t recall playing one).
The par four tenth is another blind shot; this one created by a knoll just beyond the tee. Not only is the green out of sight; the fairway is as well. The tenth also has tee box claustrophobia: to the immediate right is the clubhouse wall; to the left, marsh.
If you browse through the Beacon Hill Golf Course Review gallery at the bottom of the page, you will see a large number of blind and tight tee shots.
There are, however, some very good holes. My favorite was the par 4 first (top of page). From an elevated tee, the hole bends slightly right, with a large bunker running down the left side. Another, smaller bunker threatens to the right. The green is at a fort five degree angle to the fairway, and guarded by two bunkers to the front. The key is to get into a position left where you can take a straight shot into the green, avoiding the bunkers.
A fun hole was the 541 yard par 5 twelfth. The hole begins with a fairway wide enough to accept bombs off the driver and then narrows toward the hole. The green is essentially an island, flanked front, left and right with marsh.
I also enjoyed the thirteenth. The 389 yard par 4 is divided into two segments. The first shot needs to carry 160 yards or so over a pond — but not go too far, for there are bunkers dividing the fairway at about 230 out (depending on what tees you play). From the safe side of the bunkers, it’s at least a 130 yard shot uphill to a green set against a hill (with houses as a background — ugh). I liked the push-your-luck nature of this hole. To get a good approach, you need to get as close to the bunkers as possible.
From the tips, Beacon Hill stretches to 6, 681 yards and plays to a 72.0/140. That’s a difficult course, and probably has a lot to do with forced carries over marsh. The middle tees are in at 5, 994 and play to a 68.0/126. Seriously, though, even that might be too much for some weekend hackers.
Take a box of balls, not a sleeve.
Conditions on the day I played were not particularly good. There were large patches of damaged fairway, and everything had a big of a ragged feel. I think that perhaps some of the blind shots were never intended, but instead were the result of over- and under-growth.
Rates as of Summer 2019 are weekdays $46 / weekends $56. Walking is not permitted.
In the end, I don’t think I would go out of my way to return to Beacon Hill. If it’s in your backyard (perhaps literally), and you prefer riding to walking, then your mileage may vary.
The Beacon Hill Golf Course Review was first published September 19, 2019 from notes and photos taken on a round played in June 2019
A gallery of Beacon Hill Golf Club photos follows: