Ironwood Golf Course Review

A view of the thirteenth from the fairway

Ironwood Golf Course Review

Ironwood Golf Course
Howell, Michigan
Grade: C
Teacher’s Comments: A pleasant neighborhood course, priced right.

Ironwood is a pleasant old school parklands course located near Howell, Michigan.

From the full parking lot in midweek, I’d judge Ironwood to be a favorite of the locals.

Built in 1973 from a design by Carl Stepcar, Ironwood is fairly representative of a lot of small-town, Michigan farmland courses. The property is nearly perfectly rectangular, relatively open but bordered by trees, and possessing a sizable pond. I don’t think you need to squint very hard to picture cornfields or pasture land.

That’s not intended as a knock, though. My guess is that the vast majority of Michigan’s 800+ courses are built on former farmland. It’s just easier to see in these rectangular tracts bordered by windbreaks.

An aerial view of Ironwood

Most of the Ironwood is open, with just a smattering of trees separating the tight, narrow, parallel fairways. At the back end of the property, however, there are several holes routed through woods.

Ironwood isn’t exactly “hilly,” but there are enough elevation changes to keep it interesting. The term “rolling” is overused in golf, but that quite nicely describes the terrain. There’s a good chance you’ll see multiple uneven lies.

The ninth at Ironwood is a 312 yard par 4.

Water comes into play on half the holes on the course. Other than those holes, however, Ironwood is a relatively straightforward course on which the bogey golfer should score well.

Eighteen at Ironwood is a 458 yard par 5.

My favorite hole was the eighteenth, which the course surely considers its “signature hole.”

The tee shot on eighteen is slightly uphill and through a tight window of woods. From the hill’s crest, it dives downward to the shores of a large pond.

The green is hard on the shores of the far side.

It’s a neat hole because of the second shot. You’ll want to get it in a good lie as close to the pond as possible.

Eighteen at Ironwood is a 458 yard par 5

Ironwood is a par 72 that comes in at 6, 053 yards, which is enough for most golfers, in spite of the large number who claim to hit the ball 300 yards off the tee.

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Conditions on the day I played were just ok. There were bare areas in the fairways, and the tee boxes were a bit beat up. That said, Ironwood does not pretend to be a premium course. For $26 — with cart! — greens fees, it’s a bargain.

A side note: there are at least three courses called Ironwood in Michigan: the Howell course, Ironwood Golf Course in Byron Center, and Ironwood Links in Mason.

A photo tour of Ironwood follows.

The Ironwood Golf Course Review was first published March 12, 2022 from notes and photos taken on a round played in the summer of 2021.

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