The Country Club of Detroit commissioned Harry Colt to design the golf course at Grosse Pointe Farms in 1912. Robert Trent Jones Snr remodelled it half a century later, prior to the club hosting the 1954 US Amateur and he returned 40 years later to carry out further work.
The Colt/Alison partnership made their mark mostly in the UK and a number of classics in Japan. When it comes to the United States, their success is much more limited, with Milwaukee CC and Kirtland CC being the stars in their American portfolio. I was really looking forward to my experience at the Country Club of Detroit, especially with greens reconstruction by Tom Doak in 2010. Sadly, it’s a flat piece of land which failed to impress me much. I felt like I had the same flat visuals far too often with very similar bunkering throughout the property. There also aren’t many doglegs on the course, which gets a little boring playing straight holes on dead flat land. I did enjoy the reachable par 5 9th hole which plays uphill to the clubhouse with impressive cross-bunkering. After that, you’re back to the flat land with many holes looking alike. The routing is enjoyable despite the many straight holes, and a number of the green-sites are raised which allows for beautiful bunkering, especially on the par 3s. I’m always skeptical of a course that hires Robert Trent Jones Snr to meddle with a Colt/Alison. However, to Doak’s credit, the green surfaces were very well shaped.
Interesting review -- both good and bad points. It would have been helpful if the reviewer explained why he does not like the work of RTJ Sr, but he leaves us to imagine that something is amiss with the course. The reviewer tells us the course is flat and unimpressive at one point and then later the routing is enjoyable. Not sure why the club chose to build on flat land, but perhaps that is all that is in the area and Colt/Allison did the best they could with the limited amount of terrain to play with. In addition, the reviewer first says "...the same flat visuals far too often with very similar bunkering throughout the property." and later says "... a number of the green-sites are raised which allows for beautiful bunkering,". I would assume it would be either boring bunkers or beautiful bunkers, but not both. I would like to play the course to determine the truth, but that is unlikely to happen.