The golf season at Red Oaks Golf Course in Madison Heights, along with Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s other four courses, officially opened April 1.

The golf season at Red Oaks Golf Course in Madison Heights, along with Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s other four courses, officially opened April 1.

Photo provided by Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Oakland County Parks and Recreation golf courses open for a new season

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published June 22, 2022


FARMINGTON HILLS/MADISON HEIGHTS — After enduring frigid temperatures and some occasional snow for months, local golf enthusiasts recently had the opportunity to resume their game, as multiple golf courses opened for the season.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s five golf courses opened April 1.

The county’s five courses are Glen Oaks, in Farmington Hills; Red Oaks, in Madison Heights; Lyon Oaks, in Wixom; White Lake Oaks, in White Lake; and Springfield Oaks, in Davisburg.

Red Oaks is a 9-hole course, with the other four facilities offering 18-hole courses.

Tom Hughes is the chief of park operations and maintenance for Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s south district.

He discussed how things have been going since the start of the season.

“So far, when the weather’s been favorable, we’ve been really, really busy,” Hughes said. “All our leagues have started for the season. Our leagues have been up from last year.”

According to Glen Oaks Park Supervisor Doug Ammon, on nice days, the course has been nearly sold out of tee times.

Red Oaks Park Supervisor Matt Hardy shared similar news.

“Things have been going great,” he said. “People are very excited to get out and golf, be outside. … (The) course has been hopping.”

Aside from participating in the game itself, golfers have other reasons for looking forward to the start of a new season.

Hughes shared some of his reasons.

“The whole coming out of winter,” he said. “Seeing the green grass, smelling that first cut. That’s something you can’t replicate throughout the year — seeing people get out and enjoying the golf course.”

By the time the golf season starts, from Hughes’ perspective, people are more than ready for it.

“Everybody’s ready to get out,” he said. “You can’t beat fall golf with the fall colors and the cool weather. (There’s) three different seasons for golf, and they’re all fantastic in their own way.”

Local resident Stanley Pitts recently teed up at Red Oaks on a sunny Tuesday morning.

He likely echoed the sentiment of golfers across the state.

“It’s very exciting because, No. 1, you’re outdoors; we’ve been cooped up all winter — long Michigan winter,” Pitts said. “Spring has finally sprung. … It’s just good to be out here, especially Red Oaks. It’s a great course.”

Although golf has been a popular game for many years, Hughes has noticed a change since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

“Our usage has gone up,” he said. “There’s a demand.  … There’s a lot (of) new golfers.”

Hughes is of the opinion that during the pandemic people ventured out and realized, “It’s nice being outside.”

Getting people outdoors is one aspect of the pandemic that Hughes said has been a “blessing in disguise.”

“All they could do is go outdoors, and (they) got to experience things maybe they didn’t realize were there — not just golf (courses), all our parks,” he said. “Ever since that started, our parks have been packed, and they continue to be. … Our golf courses are busy, our campgrounds are busy, our main parks are busy. So, it’s been positive on that end.”

Ammon has been in the golf business for more than 20 years, and he noticed an increase in participation in the game after so many other options for entertainment were taken away.

“We opened 30 days after the shutdown,” he stated via email. “We have not seen these kinds of numbers since Tiger Woods came into the scene in the early 90s — if not, busier.”

Hardy also thinks people were ready to get out and golf after the pandemic hit.

“We were super busy all season last year,” he said. “I think (there’s) so much pent-up demand from the pandemic.”

According to Hughes, it isn’t just locally that golf has had a spike in popularity.

“Across the country the last two years, there’s a demand for it, just like all outdoor recreational activities,” he said. “It hasn’t slowed down yet. … Hope it continues.”

Pitts shared how nice it was to have golf as an outlet when so many other avenues of entertainment were shut down in the early stages of the pandemic.

“Great to get out of the house,” he said. “It was beautiful to get out, to be in the fresh air, and (when) everyone else is inside during the pandemic, you’re outside working on your game.”

Pitts has three children, and he discussed what is perhaps the most important role golf plays in his life.

“Golf gives me a chance to play with all my kids,” he said. “We play a foursome a couple times a month during the year, and it’s a great opportunity to hang out with them. … I introduced it to them when they were really young. Now they’re beating me, but it’s still fun.”

From Hughes’ perspective, golf provides a way to be “almost disconnected” from the ordinary world, with Glen Oaks, Red Oaks, Lyon Oaks, White Lake Oaks and Springfield Oaks providing an opportunity for escape.

“They’re all unique in their own ways, and (have) different levels of challenge — wide range of different courses to get different skill types out there,” Hughes said.

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