Stony Creek Metropark Golf Course
Oakland County, Michigan
Teacher’s Comments: Very poor conditions marred a decent layout.
Stony Creek has a lot of potential. It has a spacious layout with a lot of hole variety. The terrain is wooded and gently rolling. The setting is peaceful.
But the entire thing was marred by poor conditions.
Stony Creek is advertised as an “Up North Michigan” style course, meaning that holes are wooded and isolated. That’s not quite true, although it certainly is more so than the other Metropark courses. While there are trees lining every hole, only the final stretch of holes 15 – 18 run without any view of adjacent fairways.
Elevation changes at Stony Creek are another hallmark of “Up North” golf. Given that much of the course plays through watery bottomland, architect Bill O’Connor managed to squeeze as much out of that as possible. One (photo top of page) and ten play from elevated tees down into the valley. Five plays upward; six back down. And again, 15 – 18 have that “Up North” feel, with fun elevation changes.
From the back tees, Stony Creek measures 6, 928 and plays to a 73.4 / 126. The white tees measure 6,485 and play to a 71.4 / 123. There are five doglegs left, eight right and water on eight holes. I counted some thirty bunkers.
My favorite at Stony Creek was the par 4 18th (above). An uphill dogleg left, it measures 405 from the tips; 387 from the whites. A large sand trap guards the outer edge of the bend. A good drive will get you left of the trap, and then offer a clear view of the front of a very deep, but narrow green. Golfers will need to add at least a club to account for the elevation change.
The 16th (above) is a good risk-reward hole. From the tips, it is a 333 yard dogleg right par four, with trees hugging the entire right side to the green. The safe play is to fly the ball wide left; there’s no trouble there. A riskier play is to drive the ball close to the left treeline, with a fade around the corner. This should leave even medium length hitters with a wedge to the green. A long hitter can actually reach the green in this way. Make a mistake, though, and you will end up in the trees with absolutely no line to the green.
I also liked Stony Creek’s ninth, a 403/377 yard par four, with a slight turn to the right, and a marsh guarding the left. It has a big landing area off the tee. The green is guarded on the left by a large tree.
Overall, the design is friendly, with no forced carries and green complexes that let you get up-and-down if you miss. Some of the greens are very deceptive, though, and local knowledge from repeated play would really help. On several occasions, I was completely fooled by a straight line that appeared to turn. I do not often get completely fooled by greens.
Conditions on the day I played were terrible. Fairways were full of dead spots, hard as a rock and in places cracked like an old plate. The greens were better, with only a few dead areas. They were, however, were heavily pocked by pitch marks.There is something about the players at that course that makes them not want to fix their marks.
Stony Creek is a very easy walk, with just a couple of long, but gentle uphill treks. Again, holes fifteen through eighteen are the most taxing.
A recommendation: After the round head to the Stony Creek Roadhouse on 26 mile, just outside the park. I had the Jim Bean Pulled Pork sandwich with onion rings, and it was excellent. I played the round with a lovely couple who recommended the place, and I’m thankful they did.
If conditions were better (and they may indeed be at other times during the summer), and I lived in the area, I would play Stony Creek again. It is fun and friendly.