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Michigan Golf Course Review

Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course

If awards were to be given out to golf courses for renovations and improvements, Devils Ridge in Oxford would get our vote as the "Most Improved Course in SE Michigan". Those who have not played there in the last year or so, will be pleasantly surprised! A layout once known as beautiful & even spectacular, but also extremely challenging and even unfair - can now add the moniker of "fair and playable" to its list of accolades. The changes are so extensive that you will not recognize the first few holes. The tremendous views (especially from the clubhouse dining area or first tee) are still there, but a considerable amount of trees and brush have been cleared out, providing more room for error. The pressure of having to make perfect shot after perfect shot is no longer a factor here. Instead of a "once a year play", Devils Ridge is now a layout that can be enjoyed frequently, without getting "beat up". To make improvements so sweeping, without changing the technical design on any of the holes is quite an achievement.

Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course
Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course

150 yard stakes and marked sprinkler heads also help with club selection. .For added convenience, carts at Devils Ridge have ball & club washers. The plastic yardage/hole diagram cards that are also attached, provide valuable information and help to speed up the pace of play. This is especially true on doglegs and holes with blind shots off the tee. We give Devils Ridge high marks for taking all this into consideration, and for making improvements that will help all levels of golfers to better enjoy their experiences here.

Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course
Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course

Hole number 1 is still gorgeous. Much of the bush on both sides of the fairway has been cleared out. In the past, too many tee shots ended up in trouble - putting many golfers in the hole right off the bat. A decent tee shot here will now result in a great birdie or par opportunity. The second has also "lost" some trees and brush - and there is a tremendous amount of bailout room to the right. The Demon Drop affords a wonderful view from the tips. The tee shot on # 3 looks similar, but you will find wide open spaces for your second shot, if you land it any where near the fairway. A creek 90 yards out and pond on the left side protects the green. The par 3 fourth is all carry over a small lake. There is bail out room left for those faint of heart. Veteran golfers at Devils Ridge will not recognize the par 4 5th, once one of the toughest holes anywhere. It is still a dogleg left - but with lots of room off the tee. The approach to an extremely undulating green is the challenge. The #8 handicapped par 5 sixth opens with an easy tee shot, where distance is more important than placement. Grip it and rip it, and hopefully you will have a good approach to the peninsula like fairway that fronts an enormous green. This is definitely a three shot hole. The seventh looks completely different - a wide open tee shot that must carry the pond that was recently added. Land safely and you should be in good shape for a safe approach. A pond also fronts the wide green on number 8. This is a very score-able par three. It is important to do well on the eighth, as the finishing hole on the front will demand your best effort. This par 4 is a great challenge to reach in two from the tips and tournament tees. It bends gently to the left, but cannot be cut off very much. The approach is narrow, with trees on both sides near the green.

Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course
Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course

There is a half way house to pick up some sandwiches/beverages - as the back nine does not pass near the clubhouse. Hole # 10 is still a tough one - especially for newcomers. The best bet is to bend a high tee shot right to left onto the second tier atop the hill, leaving a downhill approach to green that is sloped severely from right to left. Unless you hit a whale of a tee shot, you will most likely have a blind approach. This is one hole that still seems unfair... but some space has been cleared out to the left of the green. Two golfers in our group hit it far left, and thought they were out of bounds - but found their ball to be in good shape below the green. Eleven is a great risk/reward hole. You can play it safe and aim for the fairway on top of the hill, or bend a long shot left to right and hope you catch the descent that will leave you with a 200 yard or less downhill approach. The green is very reachable in two. Plateaus on various intervals on the way may provide you with a level lie if you decide to lay-up and play it safe. The twelfth plays extremely uphill, and like many of the holes on this course, has been "cleared out" considerably. Par is still a good score here. The number 1 handicap remains the par 5 13th. There is lots of room off the tee, but the second and third shots become increasingly narrow. If you do not get tremendous distance off the tee, you may want to aim just over the 150 stake on your next shot, leaving a reasonable approach to a tight green. There is lots of room left on the next par four, but its length and undulating green make it the # 3 handicap. There is approximately 50 yards of space on the left, that used to be OB in the past. The fifteenth is perhaps the best birdie opportunity on the course. Bend your tee shot left to right over the fairway bunker and tree line, and you will have a short wedge approach to a very putt-able green. The 16th is a gorgeous par 3, with a deep bunker fronting the putting surface. A lay-up is recommended on number 17, leaving an approach of 100 yards or so. The water that fronts the green is very reachable off the tee, so be careful here. The approach demands a high soft touch, as the putting surface is guarded by water on three sides. The closing hole has undergone a significant face lift. The smart play is to land it near the 150 yard stake, and take your chances with an accurate approach to a lofted green. With all the brush that was removed, this hole is 50% more playable than the original layout.

Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course
Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course

Obviously, this is a wonderfully improved golfing experience. Those looking for some bite will have all they can handle from the tips (6754 yards), as this is still a challenging layout. Ladies, beginners and seniors will find it incredibly playable from the front tees, and mid handicappers will appreciate the fairness from the 2 sets of middle tees. You will still be challenged, but a good shot will net a fair result. Play here is highly recommended - a good value!

Devils Ridge Golf Club | Michigan golf course

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