Greywalls Course (2005)
1st Hole / 579 Yards / Par-5
Architect: Mike DeVries
The upper peninsula of Michigan is often not thought of like a golf destination of the highest order but for those intrepid souls opting to venture a visit to the 36-hole complex at Marquette Golf Club is well worth the effort.Most notably, the Greywalls Course is a rollicking golf adventure capturing your attention right from the outset.
The par-5 1st plays 579 yards from the championship tees with several other tee boxes of lesser distances provided. Play commences from an elevated pad and you behold an undulating fairway moving downhill and sliding to the right. The fairway is protected by a series of fairway bunkers on the left side and the longer one hits the tee shot the more demanding the task to keep one’s ball on the short grass. Those who miss too far right will find rough and a whole series of uneven lies and stances.
Architect Mike DeVries followed a similar path that he created at The Kingsley Club — also in Michigan but in the lower half of the State. The 1st at Kingsley, like that at Greywalls, gets the round off to a rousing start because so many different numbers can be made. Prudent thinking pays off and hapless play is swiftly penalized.
Strong drivers of the golf ball can reach the green in two shots, but the key begins with the tee shot. Working the ball left-to-right can assist in a major way as the tightly mowed fairway will propel the ball down the slope for additional yardage.
The approach to the green requires careful thought and top tier execution. For those attempting a bold play with the 2nd shot, the green is slightly elevated with tightly mown fall-offs on either side. The 5,000 square foot green can easily repel shots hit with less than total conviction. A frontal pin placement adds considerably to the challenge.
Often times par-5 holes are viewed as easy birdie fodder. The 1st at Greywalls yields only to thoughtful play. The skills needed in and around the green require a deft touch of the highest order as you can play a range of shots with various clubs.
There’s a tendency for opening holes featuring banal holes. That’s hardly the case with the 1st at Greywalls. The golf juices are clearly stoked the minute you step on the tee. Fun memorable golf is alive and well with the 1st serving as your gateway for what follows at Greywalls.
Who is Mike DeVries?
A 1987 graduate of Lake Forest College in suburban Chicago (Business Administration), DeVries apprenticed with golf architect, Tom Doak, before going on to the University of Michigan where he earned his Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture in 1994. Following a stint as an on-site design coordinator with golf architect, Tom Fazio, DeVries designed and constructed award-winning layouts including the Kingsley Club and Greywalls in Michigan and Cape Wickham in Australia, among others. His work also includes significant course restorations at Meadow Club in California, Sunningdale and Siwanoy in New York, Tamarack in Connecticut and The Jockey Club in Argentina, to name just a few.