Head for the links close to home

September 26, 2014

Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze a quick nine holes of golf into today’s busy schedules.
But two Birmingham municipal golf courses — Springdale and Lincoln Hills — make it easy. Both nine-hole courses are close to home, fun and affordable for residents and their friends. For an annual $150 membership fee, golfers from nearby communities such as the Bloomfields, Beverly Hills and Franklin may play the courses as well.
“I could pretty much get a tee-time whenever I wanted,” says Michael Earl, a longtime Birmingham resident who played Springdale regularly for more than five years before retiring last month as CEO of Oakland Family Services and moving to Traverse City. “I could hop in the car and be there in five minutes. It’s convenient, accessible and challenging for the average golfer.”

Springdale’s up north feel

Tucked into a quiet, wooded neighborhood with an adjoining park, playground and picnic pavilion, Springdale is narrow and tree-lined, a picturesque par-34 course that measures 2,732 yards from the back tees and 2,196 yards from the forward tees. It’s at 316 Strathmore Road, north of W. Big Beaver and west of Kensington roads.
“You feel like you’re up north when you play Springdale,” says John Pierce, assistant manager of the course. “It’s like a hidden secret — you wouldn’t know 16 Mile and Woodward are on the other side.”
Perhaps the most memorable hole is No. 3, a par-5 dogleg that goes over the water and up a hill to an elevated green. “That’s a challenging hole,” says Earl, who also enjoys Springdale’s ninth hole, a long par-4 that tees off atop a hill and, depending on the wind, can play like a par-5.
Springdale tests a golfer’s short game and demands accuracy, according to Pierce.

Lincoln Hills — a mini country club

Hillier Lincoln Hills is longer and more open, a rolling par-35 course that stretches 3,023 yards from the blue tees and 2,336 from the red. It’s located in southwest Birmingham at 2666 W. 14 Mile, west of Cranbrook Road.
“It’s like a mini Birmingham Country Club,” says Mark Taggart, Lincoln Hills’ assistant manager. “When that course is busy, golfers love to come here and play. We’ve got great greens and lush fairways.”
Afterward, golfers may grab a beverage and burger, Greek salad or sandwich, including the “piled-high” club, at the Lincoln Hills Grill. “It’s very relaxing after a round to sit out on the patio,” says Jacky Brito, PGA, general manager of both Birmingham municipal golf courses. “We also have an excellent staff to take care of players’ whims.”
That makes Lincoln Hills a great place for small business group meetings and outings, according to Brito. Both courses also alternately host the popular “Nine & Dine Couples Night” on many Fridays, summer and fall.
With PGA Teaching Professional Matt Pesta on staff, Lincoln Hills offers youth and adult lessons, a well-regarded Junior Golf program, a golf education center, handicapping service and league play, plus electric golf car and pull-cart rentals and rental clubs. Springdale offers power carts, pull carts, league play and snacks.


Tee-times may be made seven days in advance online, www.golfbirmingham.org, or by calling 248-530-1660, Springdale; or 248-530-1670, Lincoln Hills.
Both courses are membership- based. To join, Birmingham residents (plus property owners) must buy the city’s “Membership card” — $15 for the first year, $10 for a renewal, Brito says.
Weekday nine-hole greens fees (walking) are $14.50 for adults and $9.50 for juniors 17 and under and seniors 55 and up. Rates are an additional $1 on weekends. Power carts are $8 and pull-carts, $2.50. Nonresidents who buy a $150 annual Membership Pass also qualify for these rates. The courses are open to the public early and late in the golf season. Rounds generally take about two hours. NS

Other popular area public golf courses

Bay Pointe Golf Club, West Bloomfield Township: Golfers enjoy views of boaters, kayakers and water-skiers on Middle Straits Lake while teeing up on this par-71 course that measures 6,231 from the gold tees and 4,906 from silver. baypointegolfcourse.com; 248-360-0603.

Fieldstone Golf Club, Auburn Hills: One of Oakland County’s top public courses, this par-72 Arthur Hills design served for 10 years as a qualifier for the Buick Open. It stretches 7,002 yards from the tips. fieldstonegolfclub.com; 248-370-9354.

Shenandoah Country Club, West Bloomfield: Known for rolling terrain, manicured fairways and large greens, this par-72 Jerry Matthews design stretches 6,493 yards from the back tees. shenandoahcc.net; 248-683-6363.

Sylvan Glen Golf Course,
Troy: This 18-hole course features 6,566 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 70. The course rating is 71.3 and it has a slope rating of 115. golftroy.com/sylvan-glen; 248-619-7600.


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