This is the fifth of a multi-part post on various golf courses that I have played over my 50 years of playing golf.
Follow the links to Google Maps to see what these courses look like now. Be sure to look at them in Satellite view.
In 1985 I bought a 90 year-old farm house in Galien, Michigan which was 71 miles from my condo in Chicago.
I bought it to get away from town and to find a nice uncrowded golf course that I could play on the weekends. It took me 3 years to find one. Orchard Hills is 12 miles from my farm house and fronts the St. Joe River.
OHCC was originally a 9-hole course built next to the river in 1917. It was later expanded to 18 holes when the owner of the land above the course gave it to the club with a covenant attached that it was to be used by a private club. The 10th tee on the upper part is 70 feet higher than the 1st tee.
The course is quite compact, sitting on approximatly 110 acres. It measures 6000 yards from the tips but plays much longer than that. The fairways are soft with little roll and tight–trees and ravines border many of them. The greens are small, fast, and severely tilted. They are in great shape most of the time. When other courses in the region are losing their greens because of weather, OHCC greens are alive and green.
Guests routinely putt balls off the first green when the pin is in the front. On some greens, the pin cannot be placed on 40% of the surface area because of slope. Only one green is flat enough to get a Stimp-meter reading. Our playing mantra was stay BTH (below the hole). Local knowledge is key to good scoring.
The club has 200 members and tee-time reservations aren’t required. There are regular games on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and both 9 and 18 hole leagues for men and women during the week. The leagues are small enough that the course remains open for general play. I played every weekend from April through November with friends.
In summary, this a great place to play and will hone your scrambling and short game after it humbles you for a month.