OLD OAKS AT OAKRIDGE GOLF CLUB (586-749-5151)
Michigan Golf Course Review
The Old Oaks Course is one of two 18-hole layouts on property at the Oakridge Golf Club. Conveniently located just off I-94 at the 26 Mile Road exit in New Haven, this facility
boasts separate putting greens for the Old Oaks, and for the more upscale Marsh Oaks Course. On property is a grass range, practice bunkers, and a clubhouse that features a
pro shop, lounge and restaurant, plus spacious banquet facilities. In fact, Oakridge is one of the areas premier facilities for golf outings, and leagues - with availability on two
courses. In addition to the dining area, a huge pavilion is set up adjacent to the Old Oaks putting green - ideal for special events.
The Old Oaks golf course is 6580 yards layout that features numerous ponds (water in play on 7 holes) and tree lined fairways, with sparse but strategic bunkering. It is entirely
possible to go through a couple rounds here without ever hitting out of sand. The course has been a mainstay in the Metro Detroit community, though it was renovated in 1998,
when the Marsh Oaks Course was introduced. The beautiful par three 15th, featuring a tee shot over a lake, was added to the layout at that time. Additionally, the par four 12th was
redesigned, and now is the number 3 handicap - and a tough par hole. The par five 16th was lengthened, and a pond and new green complex were added on the long par four
18th - now the number one handicap. Overall - these improvements have been extremely positive, creating a much more challenging finish, while leaving the front nine intact.
Yardages are marked with small stakes at the 200, 150 and 100 yard distances, and the pin placements are indicated by color coded flags (red- front, white - middle, blue - back).
With 4 sets of tees, golfers of all abilities will be able to choose a set that will fit their game. The top slope rating on the Old Oaks is 119 - so if you have distance off the tee, playing
from the blue tees is a good choice. The whites measure 6179 - a nice compromise for average players, and an alternative gold tee sets up at 5440. The forward tees measure
4897 and effectively take water hazards out of play on all but a couple shots.
The opening holes afford an opportunity for a great start, with number one playing straight forward at just 344 from the tips. The second is a pretty dogleg right. A lay up off the tee
just past the 150 yards stake is a safe play, while long hitters might try to bend one over the tree line right, setting up for a great birdie opportunity. Avoid the tree on the left and
the 392 yard par four third is also quite simple. Number four is a pretty par three with a bunker left, and water short right protecting entry to the green. The 12, 14th and 16th
handicaps are included in these first four holes, so scoring well at the start is important here. The fifth is difficult due to its length, and because the putting surface is protected by
mounds and sand. The first par five of the day awaits on six. A good drive down the middle will set up for a shot at reaching the elevated green in two. Most will approach with a
wedge on the third shot. The fairway is tree lined and becomes narrow as you approach the green, but for the # 2 handicap, this is a forgiving hole. The par four eighth is short but
narrow...a fairway wood or long iron off the tee is recommended here. This is followed by a simple par three, and the easiest hole on the course. The finishing hole on the front
invites a right to left shot shape. Bend a long one along the tree line, and you have a great chance of reaching this par five in two. This is a classic risk-reward situation. A pond
just left of the green makes aggressive play a gamble. Cautious players will drive one to the center of the fairway. Lay up with a 5 wood or long iron, and approach the green with a
short iron or wedge. In any case - this is a good scoring hole.
The back side begins with a challenging par five. Making the turn on this dogleg right is trickier than appears from the tee, as a long shot is needed to clear the tree line. If you hit it
long and just left of center, there is a good chance it will carry through the fairway. A drive of about 220 from the white tees, to the center of the fairway will just make the clearing,
and will allow for a straight path to the green. Anything short will require a lay up and zig-zag approach. Eleven is a simple par three, and precedes one of the most challenging
holes on the layout. The recent redesign has left a narrow fairway lined with bunkers, making a cut over the water hazard a difficult proposition. Most golfers will have to hit to the
left, and approach the green with a fairway wood over water. This is a tough one to reach in regulation. Thirteen is an easy par four, and is followed by a challenging par four, which
is a monstrous 471 yards from the blue tees. At 448, the whites are not much easier. A water hazard along the left juts out towards the fairway at around the 200 yard marker, so be
cautious off the tee. The fifteenth is certainly the crown jewel of the redesign - a mid-length par three with a pond fronting an undulating green - a beautiful hole. Sixteen is a score
-able par five, although it was lengthened to 586 yards from the tips. After a rather simple par three, the closing hole - one of the roughest finishing holes in the metro area-
becomes reality. A long and accurate drive - with trees lining both sides of the fairway, is a must. The approach is guarded by a pond that is about 40 yards wide, and comes into
play about 80 yards out. There is some bail out room for those attempting to lay up - which you will have to do if your drive is not near the center of the fairway. This is one of the
few greens that is well protected by bunkers.
The Old Oaks is an enjoyable round of golf - and is moderately priced. Walking is allowed at any time - don't see this very often anymore...It is complimented by its upscale sister
course - the Marsh Oaks - which is also highly recommended. The service, both in the clubhouse and on the course (cart service) is friendly and efficient. Sparky has probably
played these two courses more than any other layouts in the metro area. There is good value to be had here. Add it all up - and you have to come to the conclusion that Oakridge
deserves its fine reputation.
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.