July 29, 2010 at 1:00 am

Course review

Golden Fox doesn't live up to its prices

No. 16 at the Golden Fox is a tough 438-yard par 4 that features bunkers bordering the fairway and green. (David Coates/The Detroit News)

Plymouth -- Fox Hills is a 63-hole public course carved into the Plymouth countryside that features three distinctly different golf courses -- Fox Classic, Strategic Fox and the 18-hole championship course, Golden Fox.

The 27-hole Fox Classic has a traditional country-club feel to the layout with rolling hills and greens on the small side.

The Strategic Fox is the property's upscale par-3 course that's great for juniors, beginners or players shooting for a hole-in-one.

Then there's Golden Fox, an 18-hole layout that is touted as the jewel of the property.

But for a course that's touted as a championship course -- the price dictates as much -- it was a bit underwhelming.

Tee to green, the course is nice, but it doesn't offer anything you can't find at another course for less money. There was nothing in terms of memorable holes or breathtaking sight lines.

Like a number of other courses in the area, Golden Fox suffered a bit of winterkill, with the Nos. 4 and 10 greens hit the hardest. Still, doesn't seem to affect the ball when putting through. It's just an eyesore more than anything.

There are, however, some fun aspects to Golden Fox.

Arthur Hills did a great job incorporating the natural wetlands into a number of holes, especially No. 4. The hole is only a 301-yard par 4, but the tee shot has to be perfectly placed over the wetlands and short of a bunker complex. A well-placed tee shot around 160 yards will leave you 140 yards to the green and an approach shot that has to carry a second wetland area. That's two very accurate short-iron shots, which quickly can turn into a double-bogey.

Like any course, there are some difficult holes and some easy ones, some long holes and some short.

Overall, there weren't too many that leave you breathless.

Overall rating -- 3 tees

(Rating on a scale of one to four tees)

For a course thought of as one of the best around, there were a few maintenance issues, like holes from the previous day (No. 8) so badly filled. The course is nice, but nothing spectacular.

Course design -- 3 tees

Fox Hills is an open, links-style layout designed by Arthur Hills. From the tees, golfers encounter natural areas with tall grass, thick brush and water hazards. A nice mix.

Course conditions -- 2 1/2 tees

Like a number of other courses in the area, Golden Fox was hit by winterkill, with the Nos. 4 and 10 greens hit the hardest. Tee to green, the course was in decent shape. The property doesn't seem to drain that well -- a lot of soggy areas required moving balls around.

Playability -- 3 tees

The fairways are pretty generous and most of the greens are large and receptive. Six pin positions are marked on the scorecard and four sets of tees play from 6,783 yards to 5,040 yards.

Customer service -- 3 1/2 tees

Everyone was friendly, and the service at the grill/bar was good.

Clubhouse -- 4 tees

The 32,000-square-foot clubhouse can host up to 500 and has a gazebo and outdoor garden area. The bar area is large and has great food.

Pace of play -- 3 1/2 tees

Golden Fox is well marked, so there isn't a lot of time spent wandering for yardage plates. Overall, the pace is good.

Value -- 2 1/2 tees

A little pricey at $49 for 18 holes and a cart on weekdays and $59 on weekends. There's an early bird rate of $35 before 8 a.m., which is a good deal.

Practice facilities -- 3 tees

A huge putting and chipping green mirrors the speed of those on the course pretty well. The driving range is nice, but nothing spectacular.

Fox Hills (Golden Fox)

8768 N. Territorial Road, Plymouth 48170

Phone: (734) 453-7272

Yardage: 6,783 yards from back tees

Par: 72

Fees: $49 with cart weekdays, $59 weekends

Website: foxhills.com

Editors note: The Detroit News will review a public golf course every Thursday.