The Inn At St. John’s Golf Course Review
The Inn At St. John’s Golf Course
Teachers’ Comments: A nice course, but nothing there compels me to return.
The Inn At St. John’s is a luxury hotel and conference center located in Plymouth, Michigan. In addition to the accommodations and meeting rooms, the facility has a steakhouse, gardens and a 27 hole golf course. Also on the grounds is the Plymouth branch of Carl’s Golfland, Michigan’s own golf superstore. The facility is a former Catholic seminary, and maintains a large Catholic chapel on site. The original nine were constructed for the seminary. Another nine were added in 1994. In 2000, the course was rerouted, and nine more holes were added, bringing the total to 27.
St. John’s three nines are named Matthew, Mark and Luke. I played the Mark-Matthew combination. That particular configuration tops out at 5, 835 yards, where it plays to a 66.9/119. From the middle tees, it plays at 5, 444 and a 64.7/113
The course is best described as a parklands layout, with a few holes that cut through woods. Most of the holes have elevation changes. Water was in play on six holes. It is generally a pretty course, except for the holes (Mark 1, 7 and 8) that play around the huge nets that protect the fairways from the brobdingnagian, astroturfed Carl’s Golfland driving range. They are, frankly, awful to behold.
St. John’s bills itself as a “resort course,” but I just didn’t see it. It really doesn’t differ much in character from Hilltop Golf Course, a muni just four miles away. it is also a lesser course than Northville Hills, which is less than a mile down the road. St. Johns is really old-school style golf, not modern resort. But I suppose that because it is part of a hotel complex, it qualifies.
My favorite hole was the 471-yard par five 16th on the Matthew course. Starting at an elevated position, players must fly their tee shot over a gully and pond to the fairway beyond. From there, the hole turns slightly left along a hillside, with a treeline on the right. It finishes with a slightly downhill shot to a green that drops off on three sides. There isn’t anything particularly strategic about the hole, but was a joy to play. Hit a good tee shot; bash it again on the second; lob a high shot into the green and hope it holds.
In general, I liked Matthew better than Mark. Much of that has to do with the aforementioned nets on Mark, but Matthew also is more wooded, secluded and pretty. I also thought that the design of the holes on Matthew were just generally more appealing. Matthew’s first and ninth are nothing special, but those in-between are routed over some interesting and challenging terrain.
Conditions on the day I played were good. St. Johns was better than your average southeastern Michigan public course, but not up to the standards of its self-billing as “resort style golf.”
In the end, I think I came away from the golf course at the Inn at St. Johns a little disappointed. The course’s promotional materials led me to expect resort golf design and conditions; what I played was a more traditional course routed around a hotel and proshop/range. I might have been more generous in my rating if the course had a more honest. That said, St. Johns is a solid course that compares favorably to many others in Southeastern Michigan.
The Inn At St. John’s Golf Course Review was first published November 2, 2017, based on a round played in August 2017.
More photos of The Inn at St. Johns Golf course follow: