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THE ORCHARDS GOLF CLUB (586-786-7200)

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Michigan Golf Course Review

The Orchards Golf Club

The Orchards Golf Club in Washington, Michigan (20 miles north of Detroit) is unique in that it presents an opportunity to play one of the only Robert Trent Jones designs in the area. Winner of numerous prestigious awards including Top Ten New Courses - Golf Magazine 1994 and Golf Digest 1995. The orchards at varying times has been named  among America's 100 Best Modern Courses,  #1 Public Course in Michigan and Number One Public Course in the Detroit Metro Area.  Orchards played host to the US Publix Links Championship in 2002, won by Ryan Moore (details at the bottom of this review). The Orchards will be greeted at the bag drop by professional employees who are obviously content and proud of the quality of golf experience they offer. After checking in, we headed first to the expansive putting green - larger than anything we encountered all year, and then to their beautiful grass driving range. A short game practice area is also on property.

The Orchards Golf Club
The Orchards Golf Club

Though most Robert Trent Jones courses are known for their tremendous challenge, we found the Orchards to be infinitely playable. Most of the holes have ample landing areas and a good tee shot will generally be rewarded with fairly flat lie. There are tons of bunkers, expanses of high grasses and marshlands, and subtle elevation changes to challenge your shot making ability. Consistently large greens that put fast and true demand accurate approaches as there are some pretty tricky pin placements utilized. Doglegs, both left and right, are also abundant. The variety of directions and lengths require you to use every club in your bag. We certainly enjoyed that aspect of our round.

The Orchards Golf Club
The Orchards Golf Club

The opening hole is a good starter - a playable par 4 with a rather undulating green. The pin placement we encountered was the toughest on the course. A signature par 3 over wetlands on the second is followed by a reachable par 5. If you cut it a bit to the left side, you might be putting for eagle. You must avoid the 5 green-side bunkers to the left and the single one to the right to have that opportunity. The next hole, a short par 4, also is well bunkered with 6 sand traps to the right and 1 to the left, most of them bordering the fairway.  The par 3 5th is almost all carry over a marsh but is one of the lowest handicapped holes. The sixth is an interesting par 5, demanding a short carry over marshlands off the tee, followed by another carry over a narrow expanse of marsh on your fairway shot. Navigate these two and you will have a good opportunity for birdie. Reasonable doglegs left and right on the next two par fours prepare you for the toughest hole on the course - an uphill par 4 which usually plays into the wind. Your uphill approach to the green must avoid the cluster of bunkers to the left of the green. The right side of the fairway is also protected by a group of bunkers (there are 11 bunkers total on this hole) - so hopefully you are confident in your sand game!

The Orchards Golf Club
The Orchards Golf Club

The back opens with a challenging uphill par 4 followed by a beautiful par 5. Play it safe and hope for pars or bogeys on these two holes, which are the #6 and #2 handicaps. The next three holes provide some relief and a chance to bring your numbers down. Two short par threes sandwich a par 4 with trees guarding both sides of the green. This sequence of holes is beautiful - the par 3 twelfth in particular. Fifteen is another reachable par 5 - and another good birdie possibility. The next hole is of postcard quality, requiring an accurate lay-up and an approach over a deep marsh with a small pond.  The dogleg right 17th requires a long accurate tee shot, followed by an iron to the correct portion of the green, as the subtle decks of this putting surface will result in a number of three putts. The finishing hole - It does not look like much from the tee, but gets more interesting as you approach the green. In fact, the view from the green back to the tee area is awesome. This hole has probably the greatest degree of elevation change on the course. Your tee shot will carry well. The water on the right comes perilously close, and will swallow anything long in that direction. There is more room to the left than it appears. Hit it straight or left, and you may be looking at a birdie finish.

This is upscale golf experience - with excellent yardage and pin placement systems to boot. It is a most enjoyable and memorable golfing experience. Spring and fall rates are great deals and a good way to introduce yourself to one of the top golf properties in the Metro Detroit area. Visit the Orchards page on the Two Guys Who Golf web catalog of courses in Michigan for more info The Orchards Golf Club played host to the 77th U.S. Amateur Publix Links Championship in 2002.  This exceptionally groomed course was an excellent venue for this championship, which is the fourth oldest tournament in the country. The starting field of 156 players consisted of Amateurs that are public golf course players with a handicap of 8 .4 or less, that do not hold privileges at private clubs not open for play o the general public. 36 holes of play, scheduled at approximately 68 sites between June 15-23, determined the qualifying field. After two days and 36 holes of play, the field was cut to 64 players, who entered a match play format. After 5 rounds, the two finalists were scheduled for 36 holes of match play on Saturday, July 29th, to determine the Champion. Scroll down for photos of the awards ceremony. The team championship for this event (Harding Trophy) was awarded to Sacramento. Some local excitement was generated when two Michigan State players reached the final 8 .Eric Jorgensen (of Grandville) and Casey Lubahn (from East Lansing) were eliminated on Thursday however, despite excellent play from both. The finalists, Ryan Moore (Puyallup, Washington) and Lee Williamson (Crawfordsville, Indiana) played 18 holes on Saturday morning, with Moore establishing a huge lead going onto the afternoon round. Ryan continued his hot putting, draining birdie and par putts from varying distances to take the championship in the afternoon before the turn was made. The final tally was Ryan Moore over Lee Williamson 10 and 9.

The Orchards Golf Club
The Orchards Golf Club

The Orchards Golf Club played host to the 77th U.S. Amateur Publix Links Championship in 2002. This exceptionally groomed course was an excellent venue for this championship, which is the fourth oldest tournament in the country. The starting field of 156 players consisted of Amateurs that are public golf course players with a handicap of 8 .4 or less, that do not hold privileges at private clubs not open for play o the general public. 36 holes of play, scheduled at approximately 68 sites between June 15-23, determined the qualifying field. After two days and 36 holes of play, the field was cut to 64 players, who entered a match play format. After 5 rounds, the two finalists were scheduled for 36 holes of match play on Saturday, July 29th, to determine the Champion. Scroll down for photos of the awards ceremony.

The Orchards Golf Club

The team championship for this event (Harding Trophy) was awarded to Sacramento. Some local excitement was generated when two Michigan State players reached the final 8 .Eric Jorgensen (of Grandville) and Casey Lubahn (from East Lansing) were eliminated on Thursday however, despite excellent play from both. The finalists, Ryan Moore (Puyallup, Washington) and Lee Williamson (Crawfordsville, Indiana) played 18 holes on Saturday morning, with Moore establishing a huge lead going onto the afternoon round. Ryan continued his hot putting, draining birdie and par putts from varying distances to take the championship in the afternoon before the turn was made. The final tally was Ryan Moore over Lee Williamson 10 and 9.

Winner Ryan Moore

Runner Up - Lee Williamson

Pictured here are Ryan Moore (left) and Lee Williamson (right) at the awards presentation. The main prize for the champion at this tournament was, of course, an invitation to play as an amateur at the 2003 MASTERS. Ryan Moore is now a regular on the PGA Tour!

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.

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