Warwick Hills Golf Course Review
Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club
Grand Blanc, Michigan
Teacher’s Comments: Fair and Fun.
Warwick Hills gained fame for hosting the Buick Open from 1958 – 1969, and then again from 1978 to 2009. The course now hosts the Ally Challenge on the Champions Tour.
I had the opportunity to play Warwick Hills on the Ally Challenge media day, and absolutely loved the course.
Designed by Joe Lee, Warwick Hills dates to 1957. While not a name known to casual golfers, Joe Lee — often paired with Dick Wilson — had a hand in some of golf’s most renowned courses, including Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill, the Blue Monster at Doral, Cog Hill #3, and Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Course. In all, Lee designed some 200 courses. Jack Nicklaus said of Lee that he “never built a bad course.”
Warwick Hills is a parklands style course that is laid out in the shape of the letter L. It is relatively flat, except for the holes that play toward or out from a hill at the vertice of the “L.”
From the middle tees, Warwick Hills is a fair and enjoyable course. The fairways are accommodating, and the greens complexes not overly difficult. A bogey golfer can have a good time. There’s just enough challenge to appreciate the good shots, but nothing that should cause a quadruple bogey disaster (assuming you’re playing judiciously from the correct tees).
The pro tees are something else again. From the tips, Warwick Hills stretches to 7, 127 yards and plays to a 74.1/132. We media hackers played from the middle tees at 6, 489 yards, which play to a 71.2/126. The forward tees are more my style at 6, 183 yards and a 69.6/124.
My favorite hole at Warwick Hills was the par four sixth.
From the pro tees, the sixth measures 421 yards. The middle tees come in at 382. The green tees (from which the course plays at 6, 183 yards overall) measure 353. That makes the sixth a hole that a bogey golfer can usually reach in two (assuming the golfer is playing from the correct tees.
The landing zone on this dogleg left is threatened on either side by bunkers. A slight draw should take the ball around around the corner and into position for a good shot at the green.
Two bunkers guard the front of the large green, with a narrow opening between them. A third sits on the left side.
I do not normally like bunkers blocking (or partially blocking) the front of a green because it limits options, but in this case, the green is large and relatively easy to read. A shot lobbed into the green — even from a mid iron or hybrid — should stay in play for a couple of puts.
Another really fun hole was the par 3 seventeenth (at the top of the page, and above). Measuring 197 yards from the back tees and 149 from the middle, it spans the distance from one hillock to another, traversing a pond. The green is heavily fortified with bunkers. Short, left or long, you’re dead. The only possible decent miss is short right. From there, you could pitch up and hope for a one putt.
It’s scary fun.
Conditions on the day I played were what you would expect to find at a country club that hosts PGA TOUR events. Everything was in top shape. It is a pleasure to occasionally play a course where every square foot is groomed.
If you ever get the chance to play a round at Warwick Hills, don’t miss out. It’s worth a drive and a day off from work.
The Warwick Hills Golf Course Review was first published March 10, 2020 from notes and photos taken on a round played in the summer of 2019.
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A photo tour of Warwick Hills follows.