Detroit Considers Sale of Rackham Golf Course To Developers

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick says that the cash-strapped city is considering selling the Rackham Golf Course to housing developers.

What a shame. The course was built in 1924 and was designed by the legendary Donald Ross. It is a shadow of its former self, having been reduced by the building and expansion of the I-696 expressway, but it’s still a Ross. It also has one of the neatest looking clubhouses I’ve ever seen—a large brick and tile structure with a super wide porch. I’ll try to get a picture of it in the near future.

Rackham apparently was one of the few places in the area where black golfers were welcome, and Joe Louis is said to have spent considerable time there. Rackham Pro Ben Davis was one of the first African American course instructors in the country.

As I remember it, the course was very wide open, and friendly off the tee. I was able to reach most of the greens in regulation. But, like all Ross courses, the greens were small, tricky and well guarded.

I hate to see the city selling off its heritage to solve its short term financial problems.

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4 thoughts on “Detroit Considers Sale of Rackham Golf Course To Developers”

  1. I read about this potential sale on line today.  While I live near Washington DC, I learned the great game of golf at Rackham and took lessons from Ben Davis.  This would be a tragic loss if the course, a Ross design, was sold for housing.  Is Ben still alive?

  2. Glad to hear Ben is still alive. He was my instructor at Rackham when I was a kid. Very glad to have had his help.

    Also great news Hunting Woods is buying the property so I think golf will be played there for years to come.

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