Lake Erie Metropark Golf Course
Teacher’s Comments: Marsh, marsh everywhere.
Lake Erie Metropark is an interesting course that plays through southeastern Michigan marsh terrain. In its look and feel, it reminds me of a Myrtle Beach lowlands course (minus the beach or the intercoastal). In fact, in spite of the name, there are absolutely no views of Lake Erie.
The terrain is completely flat, and so makes a good course for walking. I recommend it, but perhaps not under the conditions I played, with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity from the swamps. Again, a lot like lowland South Carolina. I must have gone through a gallon of water. Fortunately, there is plenty of drinking water available on the course for refilling your bottle.
Bring bug spray. You’re going to need it. I was bitten frequently, even with a heavy slathering of Deep Woods Off.
From the back tees, Lake Erie stretches to 6,472 and plays to a 71/125. The white tees come in at 6,174 and rate a 69.2/121.
I think Lake Erie actually plays harder than the numbers would suggest, especially if you are a tad wild off the tee. There is precious little space on most holes between the secondary rough and certain ball death in marsh or dank forest. Straight tee shots are a must.
Marsh is in fact the primary hazard at Lake Erie. While there are some twenty-five bunkers, just two threaten tee shots, and most of the rest are fairly shallow and off to the sides of the greens. In spite of my balls’ predilection toward sand, I managed to hit just one trap. From that, it was an easy up and down.
From a bogey golfer’s point of view, the vast marsh can be a real problem. It is very easy for mishits to be lost. My guess is that my playing partners lost a ball every other hole. Given free reign, I would have cleared more space at critical junctures, but my guess is that the Department of Natural Resources limited the amount of land that could be taken from protected wetlands.
Conditions on the day I visited were decent. In spite of routing through many acres of swamp and marsh, most of the playing areas themselves did not descend into the mire. Fairways were for the most part grown in and the greens smooth.
My favorite hole was the eighteenth (pictured above, and in the satellite view below). It’s a short par 4—just 339 from the back tees—with marsh and traps close on the left hand side. The right is better only in that it lacks traps. From the tee, the hole heads straight, then takes a horseshoe bend around a small hill topped with fruit trees, before straightening out and continuing onto the hole. It is a classic risk-reward. The prudent plan is to fire a mid iron to the narrow gap between trees and left marsh. A second mid-iron will get you to the green. A riskier strategy is to blow a drive over the trees to land on the fairway on the other side with a wedge to the green. I took the second route, and walked away with a bird.
I wouldn’t mind returning to Lake Erie, but I’ll do so in the late fall, when the bugs are less aggressive and the marsh grasses perhaps not quite so tall.
The Lake Erie Metropark Golf Course Review originally was published June 24, 2015