Links At Gateway Golf Course Review

Links At Gateway Golf Course Review
Gateway Hole 06 From Fairway

Links At Gateway Golf Course Review

Links At Gateway Golf Course
Romulus, Michigan
Grade: C+
Teacher’s Comments: Surprisingly good. But it still suffers from being a housing development course.

Given that it is a housing development course built on some of the flattest land in Southeast Michigan (Detroit Metro Airport is just three miles away for a reason), Gateway is surprisingly good. In building the Links At Gateway, architects Jerry Matthews and Denny Spencer moved more than a million cubic yards of dirt to create hundreds of mounds,  hummocks and swales that define the edges of the holes, offer texture to the course and make the fairways generally more interesting to play (see the photo at top for a good example). The result of all that dirt moving is an interesting course that looks difficult, but is accessible to the average golfer.

Fairways at Gateway are generous, and only the worst shots will end up in someone’s backyard. Mounding along the edges of the holes had a tendency to encourage shots to play back toward the fairway (or at least prevent them from skipping too far away.). That same mounding offered target definitions that are generally lacking in cow pastures courses. Instead of “hit the ball thataway,” Gateway’s course texture lets a player play to hit it at a visible undulation.

Water and marsh come into play on nine holes, but none of my shots found the hazards. I did, however find a few of the fifty some bunkers that dot the layout. Greens are relatively large, but often elevated, and occasionally obscured by mounding from the fairway. This course will reward multiple playings.

From the back tees, the course stretches to 6, 721 yards and plays to a 71.9/128.  At 3, 133 yards, the front nine is significantly shorter than the back, which comes in at 3, 588. The middle tees come in at 5, 839 yards and play to a 67.2/109. Forward tees are 4, 895 and play at 67.9/114.

The first at Gateway is a 509 yard par 5.

My favorite hole was the 509 yard par 5 first. In its design, it sort of sets the tone for the remaining seventeen. Large mounds to the left and smaller ones to the right give a nice definition to the fairway. Closer in, (below), more mounding and bunkers define the green. The narrow open front reminded me of a few Robert Trent Jones holes I’ve played.

Gateway Hole 1 From Fairway

Conditions on the day I played were good. Not country club quality, but certainly a significant step above a muni.

Prices are mid-range for a course in Southeastern Michigan: $47 on weekends before noon; $35 after noon. It is cheaper to walk. You should walk. There are no hills that make eighteen at Gateway anything more than a leisurely stroll.

There’s a lot to like about The Links at Gateway. That said, there are a couple of negatives:

First is that the holes all possess a certain sameness. They’re all relatively straight, and don’t require much decision making.  Gateway has no doglegs, and no real risk-reward decisions. Every four and five is “hit it as far as you can between the mounds; then hit it again at the green.” There is very little risk of running into trouble.

I would not be surprised to learn that the nearly uniformly straight holes was an accommodation for the housing project. which brings me to my second negative: It’s a housing development course. The presence of houses  on every hole detracts from the golf experience. With no trees to block line-of-sight, I got more views of people’s domestic lives than I cared to experience.  That aesthetic downgrades the course for me whatever its other virtues.

I enjoyed the round, but it’s not going on my replay list.

The Links At Gateway Golf Course Review was first published July 24, 2017.

A photo tour of The Links At Gateway follows:

 

 

 

 

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