Ella Sharp Park Golf Course Review

Ten at Ella Sharp is a 279 yard par 4.

Ella Sharp Park Golf Course Review

Ella Sharp Park Golf Course
Jackson, Michigan
Grade: C+
Teachers’ Comments: A charming, relatively well-kept classic muni.

Built in 1924, the Ella Sharp Golf Course is one of two Tom Bendelow-designed municipal courses in Jackson, Michigan.

As one expects of a design of this vintage, Ella Sharp is a parklands course with a back-and-forth routing. The holes are nearly all straight shots from tee to green, with relatively narrow, tree-lined fairways.

Aerial view of Ella Sharp from North to South.

The south side of the course (top of photo above) is on a hill; as a consequence, seven of the holes have either uphill approaches or downhill tee shots. The remaining holes are flattish, but nearly all have some dips and rises. There is no water to speak of.

Greens are small and round, and often elevated. Bunkers around the green were more annoying than treacherous. The fronts of the greens are open, inviting a variety of approach shots.

For what it’s worth, open front greens are one of my favorite things about golden age designs. They just invite so many different options.

Eighteen at Ella Sharp is a 367 yard par 4

My favorite hole was the 367 yard par 4 eighteenth (photo above). It’s a hole that requires a good (though not necessarily long) tee shot and an accurate approach.

After a tight shot past a couple of trees, the fairway opens up, with the left side dropping off down a small slope.

The right side is guarded by a couple of trees. Slicers may hit those and find themselves in trouble.

Further right, there is a fence that separates the course from a nearby road. There’s really no reason for that to come into play, though.

A hundred yards or so from the green, the fairway is pinched by a pair of bunker. A 250 yard or so drive here could find itself in one of those bunkers.

The green itself is on a small rise, with the sides sloping downward. A large greenside bunker is situated on the left. A missed green here will present a tricky upward slope or a blast out of the bunker.

If you’re going to miss, miss short. That’s usually the best advice on a classic course with greens open to the front. In fact, just go ahead and aim a little short.

The first at Ella Sharp is a 306 yard par 4.

One big “downside” to the Ella Sharp Park course is that it’s short. It’s a par 71 that comes in at 5, 797 from the back tees. Big hitters and skilled golfers likely will eat this course for breakfast.

The positive is that it offers a welcoming design for high handicappers, seniors, women and juniors. There aren’t enough of those courses around.

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The sixth at Ella Sharp is a 348 yard par 4.

Conditions on the day I played were above average in my experience for a muni. The fairways and rough were completely covered with vegetation; most of it, in fact, seemed to be actual grass. For a low cost muni, that was a real surprise. The greens were in great shape and the tee boxes were more than acceptable.

That said, I had a jarring encounter on the ninth hole, where some unknown vandals had seen fit to use weedkiller to burn the word “Trump” into the fairway. Given that the former President is a course owner and a big golf fan, this seems like a sketchy way to promote the guy.

I was told that the same barbarians damaged the greens with similar messages. Fortunately, the greenskeepers repaired most of the damage by the time I got there. The damage, however, was estimated to cost the course $10,000 to fix.

The price for Ella Sharp Park golf in the summer of 2023 was outstanding. One can walk for $18. Seniors can walk for $12. Carts are $10. There’s no need for a cart unless you have a disability. With the exception of one spot, it is as friendly a stroll as you will find.

I had a good time at Ella Sharp Park and would not hesitate to visit again.

The Ella Sharp Park golf course review was first published February 6, 2024 from notes and photos taken on a round played in the summer of 2023. For all of GolfBlogger’s Michigan Golf Course Reviews (as well as golf course reviews from other states), follow the link.

A photo tour of Ella Sharp Park golf course follows:

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