If you are an addicted golfer, the time to play golf is right now. Sure gas is more expensive and times are tougher, but golf can be found on the cheap if you look around a bit. No, I am not speaking of your local, run down, out of shape and forlorn municipal golf course. In Michigan, bargains can be had all over. Case and point; Sunday morning I played Blackheath Golf Course north of Detroit in Rochester for a paltry $34 with cart on a Sunday morning. To be quite honest, I had read a poor review of Blackheath a while ago, but paid it no mind and made my tee time a week in advance.

Blackheath golf course was designed by Kevin Aldrich; a largely unheralded golf course architect. In fact, his only claim to fame is designing the Gailes Course at Lakewood Shores Resort in Oscoda, Michigan. The Gailes course is ranked in the Top 100 public golf courses. I will be playing there in a three weeks, so I cannot compare the two courses yet. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Blackheath.

It is an excellent golf course located in the middle of a ton of fine public golf courses struggling for golf dollars.  I am a huge fan of links and heathland style golf courses and Blackheath certainly fits the bill.  More heathland than links, but I use the word links loosely. I was really surprised with how much golf course Aldrich packed into a fairly tight piece of property. The course was built on a fairly scant 128 acres 10 years ago. Interestingly enough, I never really felt crowded while playing nearby the adjoining holes. The fairways are very forgiving at Blackheath, the heather grass appeared to be well under control for the most part. The greens were nicely contoured, not too severe, but did not give up a ton of birdies even though they were quite receptive to incoming golf balls.

As with most heathland style layouts, the bunkering is not really severe here, with the exception of one deep pot bunker that sports a long ladder to get down to your ball. This particular pot bunker is not really in play though, but errant shots that find it will be punished with nothing short of sheer torture. Had Aldrich so desired, he could have deepened a great many bunkers or even made them of the hated, stacked sod variety. 

You’ll score well on this par 71 beauty with some honed shot selection and local knowledge, what I mean is, leave your greed for reward in the parking lot. There are many risk-reward opportunities at Blackheath, more golf courses should have these in my opinion. After my round I was perplexed why this place isn’t packed day in and day out.

There are no stupid golf holes here; just pure heathland and links style (minus the ocean) golf and a ton of fun to be had for a great price in these tough economic times. The clubhouse is spartanly designed, but it serves its’ purpose.  I don’t play golf for the clubhouses; I go for the course. Don’t believe what you may have previously read about Blackheath golf course, but believe you this, it is well worth $34 to play here.

The biggest complaint that i could think of was that there are only three sets of tees at Blackheath. The championship tees are pushing 6800 (73/137) yards and the next set only tips out at approximately 6100 (69.3/119) yards. They really could use a second set somehwere inbetween those two sets. Other than that small gripe, I was very satisfied here.

For more information on Blackheath Golf Course, go here.

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  1. You will love the Gailes. Aldredge has done a lot of quality work and is currently touching up Indianwood for the 2010 Sr. Open. When you play the Gailes take your girl and drop some cash on a room at the Huron House. I think she will be impressed.