I could move to Michigan, at least during the warmer months. Winter? Not so much. The golf in Michigan is so astoundingly good and interesting. The topography and vegetation lend themselves to such fantastic golf which can compete and even crush competitive golf destinations like Florida, South Carolina, California, or the northwest. The terrain with its great rolling hills and elevation changes makes a great canvas for golf architects to paint their masterpieces.
One such masterpiece is the Arthur Hills designed Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Club, located northwest of Detroit about 45 minutes in Clarkston, Michigan. Shepherd’s Hollow is secluded in a densely wooded area, not near any kind of visible development. Each hole has its own space. Nothing shared. No side-by-side fairways.
Shepherd’s Hollow features 27 holes. Unfortunately I was only able to play 18 of the 27 during the HOG World Tour stop. I MUST get back there soon to play those again and experience the nine I missed.
There are five sets of tees at Shepherd’s Hollow, allowing the course to accommodate players of all ability levels. The tips for each set of 18 runs roughly 7,100 yards. The primary 18 is an absolute beast of a golf course, rating at 76.0 with a slope of 147. A scratch player would do well to break 80 from the tips.
Tee shots at Shepherd’s are impressive. The view from each tee is of a hole lined by trees on each side and landing areas which are anything but flat. Tee placement is crucial to have a chance at par, and on this course pars are good. Nearly every tee shot features some kind of elevation change, requiring good strategy and calculation from the golfer.
I really like the different tee sets at Shepherd’s. Different tees don’t just mean a change in yardage. The angle and even elevation of each tee shot is different based on the play of the day.
A very unique feature with regards to the tees is how they are marked. Rather than having two tee markers sitting on the ground which the player must tee off between, one pole on the side marks the teeing area. See image below:
If you manage to hit the fabulous fairways at Shepherd’s Hollow, you’ll be presented with challenging lies and approaches.
The stance may promote a draw but the approach may require a fade. One other course does that very well, Augusta National Golf Club.
Ah the greens. What lovely surfaces these are. Such great conditioning and such fun to putt. Tiers, slopes, and swells make putting a fun (but fair) challenge.
Hitting the proper area of the green on approach is as challenging, for finding the wrong spot makes two-putting an accomplishment. Once again, not unfair, but very challenging.
The clubhouse and its setting are tremendous. The clubhouse’s classy architecture perfectly fits in with the environment.
Inside the clubhouse is very warm and inviting. The pro shop is full of great gear and apparel while the food and beverage provides some fantastic selections.
The back patio is magnificent! I could hang out there all day. See below.
If asked to come up with one word to describe the whole experience at Shepherd’s Hollow I’d use the word “pure.” The whole experience from the facilities to the course to the area… PURE.
More Hooked On Golf Blog Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Club photos.