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Lyon Golf Course

By Don Vanderveen / Photography by Oakland
County Parks and Recreation Commission

The one architect that has put Michigan golf on the map more than any other — north, east, south and west — has to be Arthur Hills.

“ Michigan has a reputation as a Golf Mecca,” Hills said. “Twenty-five years ago there were only a handful of really good public courses available in Michigan. Now golfers in the middle United States know what great golf Michigan has available.”

So impressive has Hills’ work been on a national scale, Golf World named him No. 2 among the game’s 25 hottest architects in 1998 and listed Bay Harbor among America’s Top 100 courses in 2001.
Now witness the pride of Oakland County – Lyon Oaks.

At Lyon Oaks, Hills let nature take its course.

As a result, this shining gem of the Oakland County Parks system — that also includes Glen Oaks, Springfield Oaks and White Lake Oaks — is as close to a resort setting as it gets for municipally owned golf courses.

“ Lyon Oaks is situated on a beautiful piece of property with rolling hills, trees and natural wetlands,” Hills said. “Individual holes were placed carefully so as not to disrupt the natural character of the site.”
It is the only municipally run course in Oakland County to feature all bent grass tees, greens and fairways.

The 18-hole championship layout near Milford is set on 230 acres complete with hardwoods, natural wetlands and ponds.

“ Lyon Oaks is a beautiful, sandy, wooded, wetland site that is nicely spread over a large acreage,” Hills said. “It has the potential to be another excellent course because of the attributes.”

The upscale daily fee course — scheduled for a May 2002 grand opening — is a par-72 layout, featuring five sets of tees. The course plays 6,837 yards from the back and 4,539 up front with distances between 6,427 and 5,413 in the middle. A Kirby fairway yardage system is in place with markers set in two rows at 25-yard intervals that are laser-measured to the center of the greens on all par-5 and par-4 holes.

“ The course is already in great condition and looks like it has been here for 10 years,” Lyon Oaks PGA professional Gary Berschbach said. “It’s so natural. It feels like you are playing one of the Boyne courses without the elevation. It is really a fun golf course to play.”

Wide fairways with generous landing areas are accented by sand bunkers and freshwater lakes, creating a challenge for golfers of all abilities.

“ We played several Art Hills designs prior to him being chosen as the architect,” Berschbach said. “The (Parks) Commission was happy about his philosophy of maintaining the natural beauty and making the course challenging, yet still playable.

Eight wood bridges adjoin the course across the water and wetlands. Some holes require two bridged crossings.

“ It can be visually intimidating on a lot of holes, but it is very playable if you do a little thinking off the tees,” Berschbach said. “It looks a lot more intimidating than it really is.”

A large clubhouse and conference facility features a grillroom and accommodations for up to 450 for large golf outings, wedding receptions and other conferences.

Lyon Oaks’ large practice area also features bent grass conditions. Over two acres of bent grass teeing areas with four bunkered target greens allow players to hone their skills with playing conditions.

“ Our philosophy is that we believe in creating a playable, beautiful, strategic course,” Hills said.
We believe that there is always the opportunity to design the best course ever, better than anything done before. We strive to achieve that goal within the framework of our client’s goals.”

Lyon Oaks should prove to be one of the best golf courses in Oakland county for years to come.

   
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