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Grande golf course

By Don Vanderveen / Photography by Dave Richards

While several of the outstanding courses in Southeastern Michigan compare themselves favorable to their Northern Michigan Counterparts, The Grande is drawing its comparisons from a little further south.

“ There’s nothing anywhere around here like this,” general manager Steve Southard says. “When you’re out here, if feels like you’re in South Carolina.”

The Grande features a lot of elevation changes for a golf course being located in the “flatlands” of Southeastern Michigan. The fairways are large, yet challenging.

“ It rolls just beautifully,” Southard said.

The Ray Hearn design is laid out among 297 acres of a 650-acre development.

“ He had his pick of the land and divided the course among it,” Southard said.

Wetlands covering up to 60 acres surround many fairways and greens. Despite the watery surroundings, only one stretch of wetlands requires a carry.

“ The big thing is that you get the wetlands features, but it’s not one of those target golf tests like a lot of wetlands courses are,” Southard said. “And they don’t constrict the hole like wetlands often do.

“ Sometimes it seems like courses are squeezed into areas. People often envision wetlands as forced carries and narrow landing areas, but here they are more aesthetic than hazardous.”

The finishing holes at The Grande are awesome. The final seven holes on the South Side feature elevated tees with 50- to 70-foot elevation drops.

Most of the wide fairways are tree-lined with indigenous hardwoods. Southard contends that there are 62 acres of fairway landing area, about twice the size of many courses. Three split fairways offer risk-and-reward decisions.

“ We have twice as much bent grass as you might normally have,” Southard said. “There is some cross bunkering, but there are some choices out there as well.”

The Grande, which features five sets of tees, plays 7,156 yards from the back tees. A few holes are being lengthened. Wall-to-wall cart paths run continuously around the course.

“ It’s big,” Southard said. “It’s not just the holes, but the land, the hills and the wetlands are just big in scale.”

   
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