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Northville Golf Course

By Randy Prichard

It is hard to believe that the 400 acres that is now home to the model land reclamation golf project in America was just three years ago a square mile of urban blight in the heart of suburban Northville.

The land is where the old Wayne County Child Development Center and Plymouth State Home and Training School once was. The buildings stood vacant for 20 years.

Northville Hills Golf Club is a cooperative effort of national and local government agencies partnering with Toll Brothers, Inc. to provide the city a high-end residential community and a spectacular 18-hole championship golf course, which acts as a buffer to the area’s commercial district.

Toll Bros. never conceived of embarking on a project of this scale without having one the most renown and respected names in the golf industry involved from day one: Arnold Palmer and his team of golf architects that comprise the Palmer Course Design Company.

The Toll vision is now available for everyone to play, forever.

“This will always be a public, daily-fees course,” said General Manager Martin Fuchs. “The land purchase agreement from Wayne county makes it so.” But no one would fault you if you mistook Northville Hills as a private residential country club.

“Had this been opened as a members-only course in spring of last year, we would have sold out in 30-days,” said Fuchs. As it is, the popularity of the “player friendly” Palmer design has made it necessary to schedule your tee times well in advance.

“Word gets around,” said Fuchs, “if a course beats you up. This course is easy.

“It was specifically designed to be visually very challenging from the moment you arrive and stand at the first tee. The object is to have you say WOW!” added Fuchs. You will. And you will say it again when your round is completed.

Easy is a matter of opinion, however. But unless you’re a scratch golfer, you will want to play the third set of tees, or the blue, which presents a less than formidable challenge of only 6,200 yards. Gold is the fourth or furthest set of tees and that length—7,000 yards—will test even the best golfer.

Big is a common theme at Northville Hills. The fairways are enormous, bordered by Kentucky bluegrass and various fescues. The bentgrass greens are massive—averaging 8,000 square feet. You’ll have a big ego if you can par all the par 3’s. “They are toughest holes on the course,” said Fuchs, “because of the hazards associated with each hole”. But from the blues, the longest par 3 (hole No. 11) is only 184 yards.

The bunkers, however, are not overly foreboding. Forty-five of them dot the course. The fairway bunkers are mostly directional. Green side bunkers are minimal.

One unique feature of Northville Hills are the numerous water treatment basins and newly constructed wetland areas. They were designed into the layout to act as a storm water filtration system and for the water used on the course. The environmental stewardship program at Northville Hills is certified and monitored by The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System.

You can live big at Northville Hills, too. Executive home floor plans range in size from 2,500 to 4,300 square feet. Yet the homes and villas at Northville Hills don’t drape over the course, conflicting with your game and your enjoyment.

Northville Hills Golf Club adheres to every principal of an Arnold Palmer course design: to provide a traditional, straightforward golf experience that is both exciting and enjoyable.

As word gets around, Northville Hills is sure to be ranked among the finest in southeast Michigan.

   
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