By Geoff Larcom / EMU
YPSILANTI – Eagle Crest Golf Club, the home course of the Eastern Michigan University women’s and men’s golf teams, has been named the 16th best college golf course in the country in the annual Golfpass list compiled from ratings by golfers who’ve played the respective courses.
Eagle Crest, an 18-hole layout that features distinctive holes, spectacular lake views, and an extensive practice facility, climbed nine places from last year’s rankings, which was the first time the course cracked the top 25 list.
Golfpass bills itself as the ultimate destination for traveling golfers who love to play, travel and learn more about how the sport of golf can be experienced around the world. The website seeks to be a one-stop, customized experience for golfers of all levels to find honest recommendations from their peers – and to offer feedback of their own – about any golf course they play.
Course has undergone extensive improvements
The annual list, which this year changed its name from Golf Advisor to Golfers’ Choice by Golfpass, determines its rankings lists from ratings and reviews submitted by members of its reviewing community throughout the year. The college courses must offer public access to be eligible.
Eagle Crest was designed by international golf architect Karl Litten and opened in 1989. It is the home course for the EMU men’s and women’s golf teams and features ten different sets of tees for various skill levels and ages.
The course has undergone considerable improvement since the implementation of a Jim Lipe master plan in 2012 that laid out the goal of becoming one of the premier resort golf courses in Michigan, said Wes Blevins, director of golf at Eagle Crest.
“For us to be recognized in this way for the second consecutive year says a lot,” Blevins said. “This is a significant way to get noticed – by those who’ve played the course – and there are some terrific university courses on that list.”
Blevins said recent improvements at Eagle Crest have included cart path removal, added drainage and a new cart path on the course’s signature hole, the par-5 16th, which features a peninsular green and views of scenic Ford Lake.
“Over the past eight years we have performed tree removal for improved playability and visibility, constructed new tee box complexes to lengthen the course to 7,186 yards, and undertook renovation of bunkers and additions to greens along with continuing to focus on excellent customer service,” Blevins said.
A distinct layout, on water, but with no homes bordering course
The Eagle Crest clubhouse, named after former EMU Regent and longtime administrator Roy Wilbanks, sits on a bluff overlooking Ford Lake in Ypsilanti Township. A bar & grille and patio offer some of the best views in Washtenaw County.
For three years, EMU has hosted Division I college women’s golf teams during the fall at the Shirley Spork Invitational, and plans are in the works to host a Division 1 men’s college invitational as well, Blevins said.
“(It’s rare) to have a university golf course like this on a body of water, with no homes on the shore or bordering the course,” Blevins said. “That’s really what makes us special. This is a great thing for the University and the community. The planning and hard work is paying off.”
“I can’t wait to play it again”
Reviewers cited a variety of factors in ranking Eagle Crest highly, including the lake views, fast and playable greens and the golf shop and grille.
A first-time player at Eagle Crest savored how well the course played late this fall, during a warm day in November. “The views were awesome,” the reviewer wrote. “The course was in really good condition for so late in the year. There are a variety of holes with different styles. I can’t wait to play it again since I now know the layout.”
A repeat Eagle Crest player added this endorsement: “This course gets a lot of play, but that never stops me from coming back. It’s challenging and well cared for – up there with the best.”
Another player came after hearing about Eagle Crest, and was not disappointed with the course or the food. “I heard so many good things about this course that I had to see it for myself, and I was not disappointed,” the reviewer wrote. “The golf shop staff was super friendly to us … We also had dinner at the restaurant, and the food was superb. I can’t wait to come back next year.”
For more information on the course and clubhouse, see the Eagle Crest Golf Course website.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University’s website.