Playing Maple Lane and Marshall Country Club
This past week, I added three new courses to my “collection” of Michigan courses played.
Marshall Country Club
Marshall Country Club is a delightful old school golf course that dates to 1922. The original nine was designed by Tom Bendelow, the “Johnny Appleseed of American Golf.” The back nine was designed by William Newcomb in the early 1970s.
I think Newcomb did a good job of keeping the flavor of the original nine, but the routing is a giveaway that it is not original. The back nine is literally on the back side of the property; to get there, players must travel past the first tee and cross over the third hole just under the tee box, then travel past another hole’s green to the tenth tee. In the days before powered carts, that would not have made any sense.
Marshall Country Club is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I’m going to add it to my list of classic golf courses in Michigan you can play.
Maple Lane is a 54-hole facility in Sterling Heights. Constructed in 1926, the design is credited to Clarence Wolfrom.
Wolfrom is an interesting character. He worked under Donald Ross during the construction of Western Golf and Country Club, before becoming superintendent at Maple Lane. Wolfrom is a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame for his contributions to the development of Michigan turfgrass. He was known as “the dean of growing grass” in Michigan and designed the “Maple Lane Spiker,” a tool widely used in golf course maintenance.
In a weird coincidence, one of the greenskeepers at Washtenaw Golf Club brought his name up in a conversation two days after I played there. It was not until I started writing this that I realized the guy we were talking about was the Superintendent at Maple Lane for 54 years.
Unfortunately, current conditions at Maple Lane did not honor Wolfrom. The course was in bad shape.
Still, I could see the bones of a pleasant old school course, with surprisingly wide tree-lined, back and forth fairways. Hopefully, better days are ahead for the classic course.
I walked both West and East in a single day. The North was busy when I finished the East, or I would have done all 54.