Construction Begins on Golf Course Designed To Benefit Kids in Urban Detroit
DETROIT - Tom Doak has designed golf courses in the dunes of southern Oregon, on the sand hills of northern Colorado and along the edge of 400-foot cliffs in New Zealand. His latest project, a practice facility that is beginning to show signs of life here on the cozy campus of Marygrove College, may not inspire awe like some of his other credits, but it will inspire hope.
"It's rare for a piece of land like this to come up," Doak said Thursday, talking over the clatter of bulldozers and backhoes. "I think this facility could make a great difference."
It's rare because this five-acre plot is just 10 minutes from the center of a major city - a city, lest we forget, in the midst of a debilitating economic slump. It's a potential difference-maker because the mini-course will not only introduce thousands of Marygrove students and other urban-dwellers to the game, but also serve as the learning center for participants of Midnight Golf, a hugely popular Marygrove-based youth mentoring program that helps keep Detroit high schoolers off the streets and on the path to college.
Construction began a couple of weeks ago, and Doak's team has already carved out the hole corridors and sculpted dirt into plateaus that will become tees and greens; seeding will begin in a week or so. You won't soon mistake the site for, say, Pacific Dunes - it's flat and flanked on one side by a parking lot and on another by a busy thoroughfare - but the location does have its charms. There are a variety of large, leafy trees, and the college's gothic architecture will serve as a handsome backdrop.