Marshall Country Club Review
Marshall Country Club
Teacher’s Comments: A delightful old-school course
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Marshall Country Club is an appealing old school course that should be on the “to play” list of Michigan’s fans of classic layouts.
The front nine Tom Bendelow design that dates to 1922. The back nine was added in the early 1970s, with William Newcomb doing the honors. Newcomb did a good job in keeping the back nine in spirit with the front. The only real “tell” is that to get to the tenth tee, players must go past the first tee and cross over the third fairway. There’s no way Bendelow does that in the pre-power cart era.
Marshall CC is — as you might expect — a parklands course, with tree lined fairways and gentle elevation changes. Fairways are moderately wide, and for the most part, missing one won’t ruin the hole. The trees that line the fairways are widely spaced, and it is really only on the periphery of the course that a golfer could lose a ball.
Greens are on the small side, and generally are pretty flat. The bunkers tend to be shallow. The combination bodes will for a good day around the greens.
I played several Bendelow courses this past summer, and all of them had at least one hole with what I can only describe as a “trench bunker” — a long narrow furrow near the green.
As an aside, while not as well known as many golden age architects, Tom Bendelow is a significant figure in the history of the American game.
From the 1890s to the 1930s, Bendelow designed some 700 courses. He worked for both Spalding and Wilson to promote golf and design courses. His most famous designs are perhaps Medinah No. 3 in Illinois and Birmingham Country Club in Michigan.
As with many old courses, it is hard to say how much of the original remains. I like to think, however, that much of Bendelow remains in Marshall.
Marshall Country Club is a par 72 that has four sets of tees ranging from 6, 578 to 5, 129 yards.
A bogey golfer can have a good day at Marshall CC. There’s nothing there to beat you up.
My favorite hole actually was not from the Bendelow side, but the Newcomb: the par four tenth.
The 399 yard hole begins with a slightly rising line to a crest, and then heads downhill and to the left. The tees shot is a little tight, but it opens up quite a bit over the small ridge.
A tee shot to the right side of the fairway ensures a clear shot at the green. Too far left, and a pinch in the fairway will force a decision about laying up right or trying to draw a shot in. Bunkers guard left and right.
On the Bendelow side, my favorite hole was the par four first (tee shot photo at top of page). This too looks tight off the tee, but it opens up past the pinch. An unseen drainage channel lies at the bottom of the downslope.
On the approach to the green, there’s a bunker left that is really too far from the green to come into play, and another greenside right. Behind it is one of those trench bunkers I wrote of earlier.
Conditions on the day I played were excellent. Fairways and greens were what you would expect from a country club. It is a lovely place. The maintenance staff obviously cares about the course and its environs.
While Marshall is a private club, it is open to the public Friday through Sunday (weirdly. I would think members would want the course to themselves on the weekends). Their website says “Of Course You’re Welcome.” at the top. It is indeed a welcoming place.
Eighteen holes with cart was $45 in 2022; I paid $25 to walk. At that price, ti was an outstanding bargain.
A photo tour of Marshall County Club follows: