Forest Akers West Course (517-355-1635)
Michigan Golf Course Review - A U-tube video is available at the bottom of this review.
The West Course at Forest Akers in Lansing is home to Michigan State University's Men's and Women's collegiate golf teams. The layout has hosted numerous championships
including: NCAA Regionals, Big Ten Championships, Western Junior championships and other major amateurs events. Originally designed in 1958, The West Course was
redesigned in 1992 by renowned architect Arthur Hills, an MSU alumnus. This March, with the opening of a new clubhouse and banquet facility, the layout was once again updated
, improving on what was already selected as "One of Americas Top 100 Golfing Values" (Maxim Golf Magazine 2002/2001).
The new clubhouse hosts a classy full line pro shop, stocked with the latest equipment and MSU logo accessories. Modern meeting rooms, and conference and banquet/outing
facilities are attached to the building, which also includes a private health club for MSU faculty, alumni and paying members. A snack shop with sandwiches, salads and
beverages is open to the public. A huge putting/chipping green is located along the cart path between the first and tenth tee boxes. MSU has one of the most comprehensive
practice facilities in the nation. A huge driving range sits alongside a spacious short game area, which allows wedge practice from up to 60 yards out, as well as practice bunkers
and putting areas. Forest Akers also has another 18-hole championship layout on property, the East Course.
Golfers of all abilities will find Forest Akers incredibly friendly. Walking is allowed at any time, with short distances to cover between the greens and tees. The terrain is rolling, but
not so severely as to discourage those wishing to carry their bags. Players will find pin placement information on each scorecard, with rotating front, middle and back placements.
White flags are noticeable as 150-yard markers, and the marked sprinkler heads are measured to the center of the green on every par four and five. GAMs and yardage info are
provided for on the tee boxes, and there is a yardage/hole diagram booklet available in the pro shop.
The West Course can be aptly described as a design with character. The willows. pines and hardwoods lining the fairways are mature, and effectively define the well-conditioned
fairways. The rough, while deep in places, is playable, and the putting surfaces are quick and true with mostly mild undulations. There are 52 sand bunkers, many strategically
placed in the fairways. At 7003 yards, the tips are a great challenge. The MSU green tees play to 6413 with only 2 par fours over 400 yards, and the whites measure just under 5900.
The opening hole bends left and plays downhill. Rolling mounds surround the elevated green. Number two is pretty open though trees line the fairway on both sides on this uphill
par five. The third is a pretty par four. A marsh 130 yards out will affect your approach, which also must stay clear of the huge willow to the left of the green. There is lots of room
left off the tee on the short par four 4th. A safe play is to lay-up about 100 yards out on that side. This is one of the best birdie holes of the layout. Keep the driver in the bag on
number five also. You must be near the center of the fairway for an open approach. There are bunkers short right and left. Mature pines and hardwoods make the sixth a tight
driving hole. The approach plays uphill to a double-tiered putting surface. The par three 7th features an elevated green that is well protected by bunkers, and slopes severely from
right to left. Another tight driving hole awaits on number 8. Mature trees flank the rolling fairway that leads to an "L" shaped green, one that also slopes right top left. The closing
hole on the front demands a tee shot over a gully with bunkers right and trees left. This is a demanding par three from the tips, but very do-able from the mid-tees.
The tenth plays uphill to a green beautifully framed with 3 bunkers in front and one deep. The 11th is very tight off the tee, but opens up on the approach. Mounds surround the
green here. The par 3 twelfth is the number one handicap and plays extremely tough from the back tees. Trees on both sides and mounds and greenside bunkers provide a
formidable challenge . A short par five is next. A good tee shot may put you in good position for a birdie try. Fourteen is also a good scoring hole, if you can avoid the 2 fairway traps
near the 150-yard marker. The fifteenth has a nice size fairway, but three bunkers near the center and trees on both sides place a premium on accuracy. The view of the green,
tucked between two elegant willow trees and various hardwoods, is awesome on the 16th. *** pic 5 Distance off the tee will help as the approach is very tight. The par five 17th
plays uphill all the way from tee to green, making this a 3 shot hole for all but the longest hitters. Bunkers placed strategically about 80 yards out in the center of the fairway warrant
consideration on the second shot. Play short of the traps and take an extra club on the approach. Par is good on this one, as it is on the dogleg left finishing hole. The tee shot is
quite open. Avoid the bunkers on the left and hit 1 club more on the uphill approach. A pond left, along with deep greenside traps make this one of the most demanding and
beautiful holes of the layout. This is a spectacular finishing hole!
Compared with most of the upscale courses in Michigan, Forest Akers is an incredible value. Green fees on weekends are just $41, plus $13 for those opting for a cart. MSU
students, faculty and alumni have a separate price structure, which is a nice perk. In any case, you definitely will get your money's worth here. Rated 4 out of 5 stars by Golf Digest -
Forest Akers West is highly recommended!
Check out the Two Guys Who Golf detailed information page on this course (which includes a link to the course's website if available) - click here.