(Cbs detroit) – The history of the Detroit Golf Club dates back to the 19th century. But the Club recently came to the PGA Tour, hosting its first event, the Rocket Mortgage Classic just two years ago. The newly established tournament is another first for the region. This was the first time a PGA Tour event took place within Detroit.
Detroit was a very different place in 1899. Henry Ford recently built his first car, but the city was still known more for its carriages than for its cars. Local businessman William Farrand and several partners founded the Detroit Golf Club at 45 ares farmland on the north side of the city. Initial membership fee $ 10 and another $ 10 in fees allowed access to six holes of golf.
The club developed from there, expanding to nine holes and then 18 holes over the next few years. By 1916, it had two 18-hole courses. Donald Ross, famous for creating Pinehurst No. 2, Plainfield Country Club and East Lake Golf Club, among many others, are credited with this design. With the expansion of its presence, Detroit Golf Club added two clubs and increased its membership during the first two decades.
Ford, who came to work in 1915, was the most famous member time. (In recent years, they have been joined by legendary running back Jerome Bettis and singer Kid Rock.) Alec Ross, brother of Donald Ross and winner of the 1907 US Open, became the club’s top professional in 1918.
Donald Ross preferred nature to determine the design of his fields. And this classic approach is evident on both tracks at the Detroit Golf Club. But at the time, players were not, on average, more than 300 yards from the target. Flat golf courses developed 100 years ago often fail to compete with today’s PGA Tour professionals.
The Club’s North Course has been updated in preparation for its first event in 2019. Par 72, 7370 yards long, the Tour’s oldest course, was still lit by a good, but not the best, course. Nate Lashley, the alternate player, led from start to finish and scored 25-under in four days and won. While he beat the field with six strikes, many others fell. Cut line 5 or less was the lowest since 2016. Three different holes gave birds over 40 percent of the time. Last year there was another decent but not spectacular course that Bryson DeChambaut surpassed 23-under.
North course front ninetree-lined is slightly more complex than the back nine. Any course rewards distance, but target accuracy helps. IN open holePar-4, 397 yards, is original to the field and emerges at the base of a bent oak tree that marked the Native American trail between Detroit and Saginaw. The fourth hole, one of two par-5s on the front nine and the longest on the course, extends to 635 yards. Two shots to the green are still very reachable.
On the back nine, holes 14, 15 and 16 converged last year to form “Zone 313” where birds can fly. Fans will be there again this year to create a festive atmosphere for a series of holes that will provide some scoring opportunities. The streak starts with 555 yard par-5s with risk rewards depending on how you approach it. Hole 15 is a par-3 playing longer than its 160 yards would suggest. Hole 16, 446-yard par-4, offers scoring opportunities for those familiar with the green.
Detroit Golf Club is kind of an anachronism on today’s PGA tour. This is a classic course in an era where sports fields are being modernized to withstand power play. But Detroit Golf Club also offers a welcome change of pace along with a sense of the roots of the game. The oldest Tour venue will look to solidify further with the second Rocket Mortgage Classic this week.
Watch Rocket Mortgage Classic Saturday, July 3rd and Sunday, July 4th from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET on CBS.