Chandler Park Golf Course Review

Chandler Park Golf Course Review
Chandler Park’s fifteenth is a 488 yard par 5.

Chandler Park Golf Course Review

Chandler Park Golf Course
Detroit, Michigan
Grade: C
Teacher’s Comments: A decent urban muni. I had fun.

In 2017, Chandler Park celebrated its 100th anniversary. A gift of Zachariah Chandler, a US Senator from 1857 to 1875, the recreational area originally belonged to Grosse Point, and was annexed by Detroit in 1917. The Chandler Park golf course, on the other hand, dates to 1926.  Still that makes it more than ninety years old.

An aerial view of Chandler Park Golf Course

As you might expect, Chandler Park Golf Course is old school, with back and forth, parallel fairways. It also is a shortish course, at just  5, 832 yards and a  par 71. The layout is straightforward and tight. Fairways are lined by mature trees, more than a few of which are in the line of fire. One of the principal challenges at Chandler Park is hitting the ball as straight as possible off the tee.  Because the course is relatively short, most bogey golfers should be able to resort to something other than driver off the tee to keep the ball in play.

The twelfth at Chandler Park is a 403 yard par 4.

Chandler Park is very flat, which makes for a nice and easy walk. Water is in play on five of the holes. Thirty-something bunkers guard greens and on occasion are placed to catch a tee shot.  My uncharacteristic slice on the par 4 twelfth caught one of those fairway beaches.

Studying the course as I played, I suspect that quite a bit has changed since it originally was built. The 88 yard par three sixth, for example, has a large depression to the front that struck me as the location of an original bunker. I would have effectively made the hole a shot at an island green. And a lot of the trees are obviously less than 90 years old. I suspect the original design was quite open.

Chandler Park’s sixth is an 88 yard par 3.

I also would not be surprised to learn that when the Edsel Ford Freeway was put in, the course lost some land, some distance, and some of the original routing.  That was the fate of the Donald Ross-designed Rackham Course, which was pared down when the Reuther Freeway was built. The construction of freeways in Detroit has not only blown up golf courses, but also divided neighborhoods and destroyed communities by effectively creating moats separating one from the other.

But enough of the historical rant.

From the back tees, Chandler Park stretches to just 5, 832 yards and plays to a 67.3/109. The bogey golfer should have a good time here.

An aerial view of the fifteenth at Chandler Park

My favorite hole was Chandler Park’s longest, the 488 yard par 5 fifteenth (photo at top). The hole wraps around a pond on the left (hidden by the trees), the continues straight to a slightly elevated green, protected by bunkers left and right. Off the tee, a shot must navigate a relatively narrow corridor, driving the ball around two hundred years to the bend. From there, the hole continues to curve around the pond right, ultimately skirting another pond on the left just before the green. The green is round, smallish and has a large bunker to the right.

Conditions on the day I played were just so-so. Fairways needed some TLC, as did the tee boxes. The greens, however, were in pretty good shape. I was randomly paired with a course employee playing in his off hours, and he described to be the difficulty the course had in a previous summer, when a water main break had left the course without irrigation. That, he said, set the course several years behind with regard to the proper growing of grass.

Chandler Park is relatively inexpensive. Peak rates as of this writing were $35 on the weekend, with cart. I walked for $22. You should walk. It’s short, flat and quite pleasant.

I had fun.

More photos and a course tour of Chandler Park follow.

The Chandler Park Golf Course Review was first published September 13, 2017 from a round played in August 2017.

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