Golf courses

Eagle Crest a rare station

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth entry on Free Press’s Top 10 Public Golf Courses in Metro Detroit for 2022. Check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the latest courses in our countdown .

Any course good enough to house a Division I golf program must be a quality site. Not only Eagle Crest Golf Club at Ypsilanti lives up to that expectation, but also exceeds it by achieving the rare feat of being one of the few resort courses in Metro Detroit.

Even if there were no Marriott on site, the Eastern Michigan home course would still be good enough to make our rankings. But considering all it offers, Eagle Crest unquestionably deserves the No. 5 spot on Free Press’s Top 10 Public Golf Courses in Metro Detroit for 2022.

At 7,186 yards, Eagle Crest has all the length, challenge and required strategy expected of a course catering to elite amateur golfers and college tournaments. Although no one would ever describe Eagle Crest as an easy course, it is a reasonable course and offers seven sets of tees that play as short as 5,031 yards, plus two other shorter tees that can be used for US Kids tournaments, to fit almost all ages. or skill level.

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The Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti is surrounded by Lake Ford.

But what makes it an exceptional course is the marriage between challenge and beauty that comes in the form of an unadorned naturalness, like a mature person who is confident in their appearance and doesn’t feel the need to too much cologne or makeup. The course, designed by Karl Litten and opened in 1989, underwent a renovation in 2012, but retained its charming vibe of an ’80s parkland country club course.

The star of this natural beauty is Ford Lake. Several holes line its banks, but no hole makes better use of its spectacular view than the signature 16th hole. The 531-yard par-5 is as seductive as it is beastly. There is a water carry off the tee, a split fairway and finally an approach to a wide but shallow peninsula green whose shores hug the lake and are framed in sand and stone. It’s a stunner.

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The par-5 16th green juts into Lake Ford at Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti.

After a few holes, you quickly realize that Eagle Crest is designed to test the highest caliber players through a variety of holes that require moving the ball back and forth to maximize the chances of scoring. But it’s never so demanding that a player feels like they don’t have a reasonable objective option.

That’s part of why Eagle Crest is a truly thoughtful resort course. I’ve played my share of “resort” courses whose only interest is to send you off the first tee as quickly as possible and then abandon you without any guidance, leaving you confused and hopeless in unfamiliar surroundings, like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away.”

Eagle Crest is the opposite of that. Even though this is a college course, he knows who his paying customers are and serves that customer base well. The GPS system on the carts provides invaluable guidance and the QR codes at each tee box offer pro tips on each hole. The website also has a wealth of information for anyone interested in advanced scouting.

The downhill par 3 14th at Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti, with Ford Lake in the backdrop.

True to its pedigree as a resort course, Eagle Crest offers a stunning 19th hole with indoor and outdoor seating at its bar and gate that offer beautiful views of the course and Lake Ford. It’s hard to imagine any other course in the area that does a better job of serving such a wide range of golfers – from college players and kids to seniors and large groups – with equal levels of excellence.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.