Kensington Metropark Golf Course Review

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Kensington Metropark Golf Course
Milford, Michigan

Grade: B-
Teacher’s Comments: The best of the Huron-Clinton Metropark Golf Courses

With its rolling terrain, varied holes and above average conditioning, Kensington is probably the best of the Huron-Clinton Metropark Golf Courses.

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The layout at Kensington Metropark Golf Course is definitely old school. Holes are not packed tightly together, but they do generally run in parallel. Fairways are lined with mature trees, although not thickly. If you fly offline, your approach may be blocked by trees, but you will be in the thick only on a few holes. In contrast to my usual role as the Daniel Boone of the foursome, I lost no balls on my last outing at Kensington.

The front nine at Kensington has a little more varied terrain, with four holes playing up or down some fairly steep slopes. The back nine is more flat, with just two hole involving significant elevation change. In total, there are five doglegs left, and two right.

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There are by my count just eleven bunkers at the Kensington Metropark Golf Course, so if you have trouble with sand, this is the course for you.

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One beef I have with the design (and I have this with many courses) is that two of the par threes (as with 12, above) are what I would call heroic, at 190+ yards. I prefer par threes to offer shorter hitters a chance to show their accuracy chops. If the average golfer hits the ball 200 yards off the tee, 190+ yard par threes are just another driving hole.

From the back tees, Kensington Metropark measures 6,621 yards and plays to a 71.6/120. The white are in at 6, 345 and play to a 70.5/113.

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My favorite hole was the par five fourteenth (above). A dogleg left, it measures 442 from the whites and 502 from the tips. Playing slightly uphill off the tee, a good drive will hang right to avoid the bunkers place on the inside of the turn. The green slopes downward to the front and has a high back. That offers a nice backstop for players going for the green in two, or who have long third shots (as I did when I flubbed my second).

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Another hole of note is the par three eighth. From an elevated tee, it requires a shot of 147 over a marshy pond to a fairly large green.

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The opening hole (above) at the Kensington MetroPark golf course also deserves comment. It is one of the friendliest I’ve seen, with an extra wide fairway, and measuring just 412 from the tips. It is a good way to start the day.

The course was built in 1961 and designed by Hugh Lamley. I can find no other references to Lamley and suspect that he was a Metropark employee. Two other Metropark courses were designed by employee Sue Nyquist.

Conditions on both of the days I played (a year apart) were good. The greens were smooth and undamaged. Fairways were grown in. Tee boxes had taken a beating, but that’s expected on a public course with high numbers of rounds.

Kensington is a walkable course, but there is one hole on the front nine (four) which has a downhill – uphill stretch which even I found taxing.

Pricing is fair. I paid $25 to walk with a discount card.

As with other Metropark golf courses, I found the pace of play slow. The courses always seem to be busy, and somehow attract more than their share of beginners. It is good to see beginners on the course, but they need to learn to pick up a ball after their sixth shot fails to get inside the 100 yard mark, or after the fifth failed putt.

I would not make this a regular stop, but Kensington is good enough for the occasional return trip.

More photos follow

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The Kensington Metropark Golf Course Review originally was published August 11, 2014

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8 thoughts on “Kensington Metropark Golf Course Review”

  1. Hugh Lamley was my grandfather and was a part of the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority since it’s inception.  He graduated from the University of Michigan in Forestry.  He worked with CCC creating parks and advising Gen. Billy Mitchell on the selection of trees for building airplanes.  He joined Charles and Frederick Olmstead Jr. and as part of the first generation of Landscape Architects he was involved in the the design of Michigan State University and several parks and public works projects.  He spent his final decades helping create the greenbelt system of parks around Detroit for the Metroparks including Kensington Park. – Reed

  2. The course plays quite long for the average golfer. From the “White” tees there are seven par 4 holes that measure between 385 to 414 yards. Plus two of the par 3 holes are 194 yards in length. It is only the three short par 5 holes (par 71 layout) that create the impression that the course length is not too bad for a shorter hitter. That being said, most of the holes are open in front and allow a run-up shot so we shorter hitters do not need to hit a high 190 yard approach over a bunker.

    Kensington was originally built with no sand bunkers to speed up play. The few bunkers on the course were added decades later.

  3. I visited Kensington for the first time since 2022. A few changes have occurred. First, they now have a set of USGA rated Gold tees (5,232 yards 65.9/102). They also added a USGA rated blended White/Gold set of tees (5,720 yards 67.9/113). I had always felt the old offering of Blue/White/Red tees left many players little choice between White (6,345 yards) and Red (5,111 yards).

    They also cut down the huge tree in the middle of #13 fairway. It makes the drive a lot easier but it also sort of dumbs down the hole to just a straight tree-lined hole. The tree made one go up the left side or hit a fade around the tree (or big hitters go over).


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