By Don Vanderveen
Hall of Famer Randy Erskine has achieved
tremendous success as a longtime player,
teacher and club professional. He knows a
great golf course when he plays one. Now,
he has built one.
The five-time Michigan Open champion is unveiling his crowning achievement this
summer with the opening of Quail Ridge Golf Club near Ada.
Quail Ridge, located in Cascade Township
just southeast of Grand Rapids, is one
of the newest additions to upscale golf in West Michigan and course designer
Ray Hearn has added a couple of notable features to the project that set it
Quail Ridge, located in Cascade Township just southeast
of Grand Rapids, is one of the newest additions
to upscale golf in West Michigan and course designer
Ray Hearn has added a couple of notable features
to the project that set it apart.
Two holes share one expansive green. Another green
has a cascading waterfall bubbling behind it. These
added features accentuate an already outstanding
setting for a golf course.
Quail Ridge is a golf course complete with elevation
changes, beautifully rolling terrain and a combination
of trees and water. Perhaps the most prominent
natural feature on the landscape is the beautiful
wetlands that are incorporated throughout the course.
Erskine’s partnership group originally purchased
178 acres in an attempt to develop 27 holes. But
after a wetlands determination was made, there
was hardly enough room for nine holes. The 18-hole
championship golf course is now spread over 300
It gives you a real up-north feeling when in fact
you’re real close to a metropolitan area,” Erskine
said. “You will see very few homes from
our golf course. There is definitely a feeling
at Quail Ridge will ever hit another player on
another hole, and very rarely will they see
another player in any other group than their own.”
Quail Ridge features five sets of tees on every
hole, from black, to blue, to white, to gold,
to red. From the back tees, the length of the
is 6,930 yards. From the front, the length 4,865
People will always have a very nice teeing surface
because the teeing areas are so large and they
will have plenty of options as to how they want
to play the course,” Erskine said.
The bluegrass fairways have plenty of width
between, around and through the trees, bunkers
The greens are large and receive shots well.
It’s a very playable golf course for all
people,” Erskine said. “It’s
very pleasing to the eye and you won’t see
anybody else other than those on the hole you are
The par-72 championship layout features two
par-5s on the front side that provide both
and challenging options for players of varying
skill levels. One is a 520-yard dogleg right
that runs uphill and downhill alongside Quiggle
The other is a 560-yard dogleg left that
wraps around wetlands and trees. Both holes
risk-and-reward shots (with plenty of risk)
for the big hitters.
The No. 9 green is shared with the No. 18
green. The reason for the shared-green concept
not for economy of space, but rather the
uniqueness it creates. The No. 9 hole is
a long par-3
the No. 18 hole is a par-5. The fairways
are separated by trees — to the left on No. 9 and to the
right on No. 18 — and the double green is
140 yards across.
It’s just a different way of presenting a
hole and it works perfectly,” Erskine said. “It
is right near the clubhouse and people
can watch a couple of different groups
come in at one time.
We could have easily built two separate greens,
but it presented itself perfectly for a
double green. In Scotland, they have that
set up a lot
and we felt it was a perfect time to present
Behind the green at No. 7 green — a 360-yard,
par-4 — golfers at Quail Ridge are treated
to a soothing spectacle that will put one’s
round into perspective. A waterfall meanders down
and over rocks, bubbling and cascading its way
into three separate pools until it reaches a small
lake at the bottom. The waterfall creates both
a calming effect and one of those postcard-like
visions golfers take with them from spectacular
golf courses they play.
It’s a different experience,” Eskine
said. “You don’t see too
many waterfalls on golf courses here
in Michigan. “
It’s just a beautiful setting that sets a
person at ease.”
Continuous cart paths from the first
tee to the 18th green provide a smooth
us to keep the golf course open for carts during
wet weather when otherwise it would have to be
shut down,” Erskine said.
The back nine is fairly straight forward
on the rolling land. It was developed
of the natural terrain intact for both
drainage purposes and the outstanding
features it presents.
You’ll find it an extremely playable golf
course,” Erskine said. “Literally a
first time player could get around this golf course.
It is not overly restricted and there is no need
for long carries, depending on which tees you play
Quail Ridge is an upscale golf course
in every way, except for the greens
$50 for weekend play.
Along with being an accomplished player
in Michigan, Erskine, who is head professional
at Great Oaks
Country Club, also is a highly sought
after teaching professional. Practice
to teaching pros and the range at Quail
The range itself has three tiers to
hit from with five separate bent grass
combination of bentgrass driving area
and bluegrass rough emulate conditions
to the fairways at Quail Ridge.
Ranges are very important nowadays and we put a
lot of thought into ours,” Erskine said. “If
people don’t want to play golf,
they can come out and hit balls,
practice out of a super
chipping area or a large bunker area
set off into trees.
I’m very proud about our practice facility.
People won’t ever have to hit off of dirt,
you’ll have the north wind behind your back
and you can hit anything you want and watch the
The 16,000 square foot clubhouse
is arranged with a lounge area, pro
facilities that seat over 300 people.
Unlike the golf
course itself, the banquet facility
will be open 12
of the year.
In addition to his work as a club
professional and player, Erskine
runs his own golf
school in Florida and has a marketing
The Quail Ridge project — which eventually will include
a limited housing development of 27 lots — represents
a move to West Michigan for Erskine, who has spent
much of his career on the east side of the state
as a head professional at Washtenaw Country Club
and currently Great Oaks Country Club.
I think it gets back to me always trying to be
two steps ahead of everybody else,” Erskine
said. “I’ve always wanted to diversify
and this is my last bit of diversification — and
my biggest by far.”