Leslie Park Golf Course Review
Leslie Park Golf Course
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Teacher’s Comments: A good course.
2007 Update: I’ve been told by several people that course conditions at Leslie Park are now very bad. One said that he won’t go back. A result of budget cutbacks in Ann Arbor?
2013 Update: The latest news is that conditions have markedly improved. I’ll have to visit soon to confirm
2017 Update: The city of Ann Arbor apparently has invested significant funds in the course. Word on the street is that it is now a premier golf experience.
Leslie Park is one of two municipal courses in Ann Arbor—and it is by far the better of the two (although the other, Huron Hills, has its charms).
Playing at 6591 yards from the back tees, and with a rating/slope of 71.9/127, Leslie Park has the firepower to challenge better golfers. And yet, bogey golfers need not fear: the course plays nearly 800 yards shorter from the whites.
Like many of the courses in Michigan, the two nines have distinctly different characters. Most of the holes on the front nine are hilly, with either elevated tees or greens, or both.
One particularly memorable hole there is the par 4 fifth. This 407 yarder plays like a roller coaster ride. From the tee, the fairway slopes slightly down and then back up to a crest about 200 yards out. At that point, it takes a steep dive down into a ravine and then back up again to the green. From the ravine bottom, it’s about 120 to the green.
I like the choice the hole offers you: lay up to the first crest, or drive it down the hill and hope to get a flat lie.
The back nine, on the other hand, is relatively flat. Elevation changes come into play on just three holes—and those are not significant.
On the back side, my favorite hole is the par 3 seventeenth. It’s a 150 yard shot across a pond to a green nestled against a hillside. The tee box is right next to a barn, which adds some charm to the whole scene.
A word about the walkabilty of this course is in order. Holes 1-3 are very easy to navigate. The remainder of the holes on the front nine are hilly—and the slopes sometimes are very steep. The back nine is all very walkable … with one exception. The walk between the thirteenth and fourteenth is absolutely brutal. It’s short—perhaps only a hundred yards or so—but it’s got to be an eighty degree slope. I am surprised that they don’t have a defibulator machine standing by at mid slope.
Course conditions on the day I visited were just ok. The fairways were filled in but somewhat dry and weedy. There were occasional brown spots on the greens, and the tee boxes needed some work. None of this, however affected my play.
A big plus was the sand in the traps (I spent way too much time there). It was white and fluffy—the kind of sand that you find at resort courses, not a municipal.
A downside: there are no practice facilities here. So make sure you’re warmed up before you arrive. The pro shop is also quite sparse, so make sure you are well stocked.
The staff at Leslie Park is quite friendly. I arrived as a single, and the lady at the counter went to some lengths to get me hooked up with a guy whom she knew was friendly and willing to play with strangers. When I lost a ball, the guy mowing the fairway stopped and helped me look. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the ball. Later, we crossed paths again, and he tossed me a ball. He had found it and saved it for me.
The Leslie Park Golf Course Review was first published August 31, 2006.
More photos of Leslie Park follow: