Blythefield Country Club Golf Course Review
Blythefield Country Club
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Teacher’s Comments: A classic layout. A delight to play.
Blythefield Country Club is a well preserved, classic course dating to 1928. Blythefield’s designers were William Langford and Theodore J. Moreau, a team that is admired by many modern architects, but often overlooked by the general public amidst other giants of the era. There’s a great article on Langford here. The golf course’s opening was attended by Walter Hagen and Horton Smith.
Blythefield currently is host to the Meijer LPGA Classic. In years past, it has hosted the 1953 Western Amateur (won by Dale Morey), the 1951 Western Open (won by Arnold Palmer) and the 2005 Western Junior (won by Rickie Fowler). Its LPGA Champions are Mirim Lee (2014), Lexi Thompson (2015) and Kim Sei-Young (2016).
I was fortunate to be invited to play Blythefield at a media day ahead of the 2017 LPGA tournament. I love classic courses, and the Blythefield Country Club Golf Course was a delight to play.
Blythefield is located along bluffs above the Grand River, and plays in part along one of its tributaries, the Rouge. The clubhouse sits on the property’s high point, overlooking a classically compact layout. The first hole plays downhill from the pro shop, and subsequent holes follow closely one after the other, eventually climbing back to the clubhouse. On the back nine, twelve takes a dramatic drop down into the Rouge River Valley, plays through the lowlands then climbs steeply back uphill on sixteen. The final two holes play straight back in.
While the fairways are narrow, wayward shots are not necessarily doomed. For the most part, treelines as sparse and the manicured space between the holes is gentle. When I found myself off the fairway, not only was escape possible, so too was advancing the ball. My best shot of the day was from out of the rough between two widely separated trees to one-putt distance on the hole.
Blythefield’s terrain is rolling, with lots of gentle elevation changes. Most are of the 1/2 to one-club variety. The two exceptions to that are on the twelfth and sixteenth. I very happily walked the course on the day I played.
From the back tees, Blythefield measures 6, 861 yards and plays to a 73.4/133. The middle tees come in at 6, 511 and play at at 69.7/125. The forward tees are at 5, 605 and play at 71.2/124.
Conditions on the day I played were exactly what you would expect from a country club preparing to host its third LPGA event. Everything was in tip top shape.
As a private club, I realize that most of my readers will not have the chance to play Blythefield. However, if you should get the chance, don’t hesitate.
The Blythefield Country Club Golf Course review was published October 10, 2017, based on notes and photos taken during a round played in May 2017. More photos and a course tour of Blythefield follow: