Teacher’s Comments: An interesting, enjoyable and affordable course.
It would be easy to overlook the Green Oaks Golf Course. It’s a municipal that’s not located in the best of neighborhoods, and the greens fees are low even by Michigan standards. I will admit that when I started out, I didn’t have high hopes.
But I was pleasantly surprised. Green Oaks is a fun, and interesting test of golf.
The course is decently long, measuring 6,780 yards from the blues, and 6,172 from the whites. It’s got a good mix of strategic and power holes and ultimately forced me to use nearly every club in my bag. Bunkers—both greenside and fairway—abound. Eleven of the holes have bends that require good tee shot placement. Water comes into the play on eight of the holes. Trees often limit your club choices.
My favorite hole on the front nine is the par 5 second. At 459 yards from the white, the green is reachable with two good shots. The tee shot needs to go long and slightly to the left to get a good look at the green. Slicers can find themselves behind a tree, or worse, in a right side pond. Assuming that the tee shot was long and well placed, the second shot offers some risk and reward. While a shot with a long iron or wood likely could reach the green, it also could end up in one of the greenside bunkers. There’s a bunker just in front of the green, one to the left and another to the right. A more prudent shot might be to layup short of the front bunker and then play a wedge, taking the sand out of play.
On the back, I really liked the par 4 eighteenth. Although it seemed at first to be just a straightaway par 4, fairway bunkers and a wavy fairway made it considerably more challenging. At 367 yards, the temptation is to just hit driver and be done with it. If you’re not really long, or accurate, however, you are likely to find one of the bunkers. An iron to the fairway, followed by a longer iron or hybrid into the green might be a better choice.
All of the greens are tricky. As a general rule of thumb, you want to be below the hole on every one. Most of them slope from back to front, and many also curve from side to side. One of the regulars I played with described them as taco shells. On a couple, I couldn’t spot a single easy place to put a pin.
Course conditions were a little better than what I expected. The greens were immaculate, with nary a weed or brown spot in sight. Given the considerable amount of play the course gets, they were truly amazing.
The fairways were generally well kept, with only occasional patches of weeds. It was all very green, but the regulars that I played with said that they can get brown as the summer wears on. Still, in the two rounds I played, I didn’t have a single bad lie in the fairway because of course conditions.
The tee boxes needed some work. They were uneven, and often weedy. But where the course really falls down is with the rough. Once you get ten yards off the fairway, it’s all hardpan dirt, broken by patches of clover and other weedy tufts. It’s got to be very dusty after a couple of weeks of short rainfall. Picture the typical unkempt school play yard and you get the picture.
In spite of these minor complaints, it’s still a really good value at around $20 a round. I’ve paid much, much more for much worse.