Whispering Willows Golf Course Review
Whispering Willows Golf Course
Teacher’s Comments: An above average muni.
Whispering Willows is one of three golf courses owned by the city of Livonia, Michigan. All three are enjoyable, but Whispering Willows is a step above. (See also Fox Creek Golf Course Review and Idyl Wyld Golf Course Review)
Designed by Mark DeVries (apparently no relation to the more famous Mike DeVries) in 1968, Whispering Willows offers a good bit of variety. At the heart of the course is a small stream which through the centuries has carved a rather impressive depression in the otherwise flat land. The stream, along with some ponds and some smaller feeder creeks, is surrounded by dense patches of woods. DeVries routed about half the holes to take advantage of the stream’s topography and wooded areas. While the stream itself doesn’t really offer any hazard, the elevation changes are engaging. Accompanying woods offer both visual interest and traps for wayward balls.
Further from the stream, Whispering Willows is more flat and open. Here, Whispering Willows is a much more traditional design, with closely packed, parallel fairways.
It’s an enjoyable mix.
Whispering Willows has three sets of tees: Gold, Black and Silver. From the gold tees, Whispering Willows stretches to 6, 252 yards and plays to a 70.9/129. The black tees come in at 5, 959 and play to a 69.1/115. THe silver are at 5, 160 and play 70.6/120.
My favorite hole at Whispering Willows was the par 4 eleventh (above). From the tee, the hole turns slightly left and downward before rising up again to the tee. Players with local knowledge will know just how far to hit the ball off the tee to get a good second shot into the green, while avoiding a problematic downhill lie.
Trees frame the hole beautifully, but can be trouble. One of my playing partners got caught on the branches of the tree in the right foreground trying to hit a big draw. Another hit a big drive that went straight into the tree line on the right. Both were reminders that pegging your ball in the center of a tee box and hitting it straight out is not always the best option. Teeing ground are often at an angle to the best line.
Whispering Willows has a reputation in the area for slow pace of play, and on my autumn visit, I found that to be true. I had a tee time, arrived twenty minutes early, and teed off twenty minutes late. One of my playing partners quit on the fourteenth hole.
Conditions on the day I played were decent — about what you’d expect from a muni. The fairways were grown in, and the greens smooth. There were some low-lying waterlogged areas that had caused damage to the fairways. On the positive side, the fairways and rough were for the most part free of the autumn’s leaves.
Residents of Livonia are luck to live in a city that provides three nice munis to play.
The Whispering Willows Golf Course Review was first published January 31, 2018 based on notes on a round played on October 20, 2017.
More photos of Whispering Willows follow: