July 8, 2010 at 1:00 am

Review

Inkster Valley's out-of-control wetlands a nuisance

From left, Jason Grace of Redford hits his tee shot on the par-three, eighth hole as Mike Rankin of Westland and Dan Newton and Brian Zieman, both of Redford, wait their turns. Wetlands have grown so much at the course workers are beginning to trim them. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)

Inkster -- Inkster Valley Golf Club seems a bit out of place.

Just 10 minutes from Metro Airport, one wouldn't expect such a secluded 18-hole layout with extensive wetlands and natural areas so close to an urban setting.

The course has approximately 100 acres of wetlands that provide hazards on 14 of the 18 holes.

But I found those same wetlands that are the heart of the course's design hinder the experience on a number of holes.

The weeds, bushes and small trees in the wetlands areas have grown so much this season, they are beginning to obstruct sightlines from tee boxes to fairways and fairways to greens.

Golf is a hard enough game when you can see what you're shooting at.

The wetlands are so overgrown on Nos. 1 and 13 that you can't see most of the fairway from the tee boxes.

Even worse, in my opinion, you can't see the green from the par-3 eighth hole or the par-3 17th.

The approach from the fairway to the green on the par-4 18th is completely blinded by high wetlands. The approach on the par-4 11th also is getting close to no-see territory.

The problem is there isn't any way to see how much room you might have short or long of the green, and it's impossible to see if there is any trouble around the green or even how big the green is.

"It was great for us that we had such good weather in April, but it also allowed the wetlands to grow quicker than we anticipated," said Ernie Brito, manager of golf operations at Inkster Valley. "It's really all hands on deck getting those cut. We cut them once a year and we do it by hand and we've now just begun cutting them down."

Good thing.

The use of wetlands, forced carries and small landing areas were designed beautifully and fair, it's just a case of letting the natural areas and weeds get the better of the course.

I also didn't like the fact a number of fairway bunkers didn't have rakes, so the chances of landing in foot marks or bad areas were magnified.

In terms of the fairway, rough and the greens, the course is in good shape and there aren't any issues there.

I'd just like to see when I make a good shot and not be surprised when I drive up on one.

Inkster Valley Golf Club

2150 Middlebelt Road, Inkster, 48141

Phone: (734) 722-5030

Yardage: 6,709 yards from back tees; there are four sets of tees

Par: 72

Fees: $39 with cart weekdays, $49 on weekends ($39 weekend after noon)

Overall rating -- 2 1/2 tees

(Rating on a scale of one to four tees)

The course is in good shape but the price doesn't fit the experience and the blind shots get a bit annoying.

Course design -- 2 1/2 tees

The course features expansive wetlands and natural areas that make for forced carries off the tee and on approach shots. The horseshoe-shaped par-5 second is a bit quirky but overall the design is fair and challenging.

Course conditions -- 2 tees

Tee to green, the course is well manicured and the greens rolled smooth. Some of the wetlands are out-of-control overgrown, and don't even bother attempting to find your ball if you go in some of them.

Playability -- 2 1/2 tees

There are four sets of tees, but the two longest sets play to 6,709 and 6,100 yards. An option between 6,709 and 6,100 would be nice because 6,100 plays a bit short and 6,700 is all the course you want with the forced carries.

Customer service -- 2 tees

I was asked for my e-mail address when I made the tee time so the course could send me a $5 off coupon. I never received the coupon and when I asked about it before my round the gentleman said they just hadn't gotten around to sending them out yet. Really?

Clubhouse -- 2 tees

The large clubhouse can seat 144 people with inside and outside seating, but it's basically just one large room with a snack counter in one corner and a pro shop desk in the other.

Pace of play -- 3 tees

Didn't have to wait much on a Monday morning, but I remember seeing a ranger only once during the entire round. I wonder what a Sunday morning or busy weekday would be like.

Value -- 2 tees

$39 on weekdays and $49 on weekends is a bit much for what the course is offering. It's in good shape and there are some fun holes, but $39 is a bit steep.

Practice facilities -- 1 tee

There is no practice range and the course only has a medium-sized putting green with no chipping area.

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