June 24, 2010 at 1:00 am

Review

Moose Ridge course is as good as it gets in Metro Detroit

The par-4 10th at Moose Ridge is short -- just 319 yards from the blue tees -- but there's plenty of trouble to be found if you lack accuracy off the tee. (David Coates/The Detroit News)

South Lyon -- There are many golf courses around southern Michigan that promote themselves as "up north" courses.

I've come to the understanding that a lot of courses down here like to think their course simulates the rustic feel and tricky test of golf that most courses up north offer. But most of the time, they just don't compare.

Moose Ridge Golf Course in South Lyon is not one of those pretenders.

For anyone who hasn't been up north to play the courses at Treetops, Garland and the Grand Traverse Resort, Moose Ridge is very comparable and has a true "up north" feel to it.

Most of the holes at Moose Ridge are tree-lined incorporating elevation changes from tee to fairway or fairway to green. Accuracy and shot-making are at a premium at Moose Ridge.

The course sits on 230 acres of naturally wooded terrain with marsh and heather encompassing all of the aesthetic beauty one would see from a true "up north" course.

The use of bunkers, despite there only being 27 on the course, are perfectly placed -- especially on the short par 4s -- to guard against being too aggressive.

Smartly, Moose Ridge can lull golfers into a false sense of security with a short, 345-yard par 4 at No. 1 that's a very parable hole. Unfortunately for most, the hardest three-hole stretch on the course comes at Nos. 2, 3 and 4.

Nos. 2 and 3 are long par fours (405 and 421 yards) with uphill, undulating greens. They are followed by the No. 1 handicap on the course in the 592-yard par-5 4th.

No. 4 is flanked by heather and traps along the right side off the tee. The hole moves very slightly right to left with the green tucked behind the expansive marsh on the left. Keep every shot along the right side and you should be fine.

It's definitely a tough little stretch that playing bogey golf on those three shouldn't be a letdown. Playing it at even par should make one ecstatic.

The course was in great shape and the greens were nice. The only real problem I had was the amount of walking you have to do even if you're taking a cart. The course ropes off eight holes and makes them cart-path only, even in dry conditions. Asked why the holes are roped off, it was explained to me that those holes either have narrow fairways they don't want a lot of traffic on or steep drop-offs or large banks that golfers could potentially flip carts on.

The reasoning makes sense, but make sure and have some comfy golf shoes if you're on the opposite side of the cart path on a few holes.

Overall rating -- 3 1/2

(Rating on a scale of one to four tees)

A true "up north" feel with great views and a terrific test of golf.

Course design -- 4 tees

The 90 feet of elevation change, tree-lined views and rolling topography make it beautiful and difficult in the same light.

Course conditions -- 4 tees

I tried to find something, anything, wrong with the course and couldn't. The course is immaculate all the way around.

Playability -- 3 tees

Tree-lined fairways swallow anything too errant off the tee, but it's not exceptionally long depending on the tee box you play and the greens are mostly large and receptive.

Customer service -- 4 tees

The club had no power when we arrived. We still got off on time and everyone was great about paying later and making the golf priority No. 1.

Clubhouse -- 3 1/2 tees

The 10,000-square-foot wood and stone clubhouse includes a restaurant, banquet facility, outside pavilion and great views.

Pace of play -- 2 1/2 tees

Tee times are arranged in 10 minute intervals, which is nice, but eight holes being roped off slows things down a bit.

Value -- 2 1/2 tees

The course, in my opinion, is the best in Metro Detroit. You'll pay like it's one of the best, too, especially on the weekends ($65).

Practice facilities -- 4 tees

Two large grass ranges with target greens are complemented by a short-game practice area with a sand bunker. Also has a large putting green.

Moose Ridge Golf Course

11801 Doane Road, South Lyon, 48178

Phone: (248) 446-9030

Yardage: 6,892 yards from back tees; there are five sets of tees

Par: 71

Fees: $45 with cart weekdays, $65 weekends

Editor's note: The Detroit News will review a public golf course every Thursday.

ttwentyman@detnews.com">ttwentyman@detnews.com