I have a history with Radrick Farms Golf Course that stretches back to the summers in 1975 and 1976 while my dad and I had playing privileges. Fast forward to July 2014 - this course was amazing and today it is still amazing.
This is early Pete Dye designing and is masterful. Dye didn't overcook his now famous misdirection tee alignments at Radrick Farms but there is the hint of what was to come. RFGC is a kinder, gentler looking layout but has all the bite of a cornered Wolverine (had to slip that in there for all the UM fans and patrons).
The 18-hole layout begins with a gentle but testy par-5 and from then on golfers must think of how to piece together POWER with COURSE MANAGEMENT. On RFGC you are much, much better off being in the fairway with a mid to long iron than trying to be precise in order to get a 9-iron or wedge in your hand. There is simply too much trouble when you stray left or right from the fairways. I believe the tee shot is what drives this course to greatness.
Don't get me wrong. The green complexes are tremendous. Most are large but carry subtle if not roller coaster breaks. The elevation changes on the greens makes uphill putts slower than they appear and downhill putts a nightmare. Sidehill putts? Just hang on. The greens during my round in July 2014 were rolling at a USGA speed of about 9.5 to 10.5 and they were swift.
I found the back nine at RFGC to be more a greater challenge than the front nine and I base that solely on the available fairways to hit. Simply, the back nine has trees lining both sides of almost every hole and missing a fairway is a visit to Alcatraz. And I loved it all.
If you can find a way to play Radrick Farms Golf Course - do it! The University of Michigan's gem is truly an ingenious Pete Dye marvel of golf.
I have been working here for over a decade so I might have be a little biased but this course is amazing. It is such an escape from the world. You drive down the long driveway and are transported to a golf haven. Yes the course is difficult but Pete Dye had a vision the he claims truly came to life in one of his favorite courses.
To put it simply, this course is HARD. Beautifully designed by Pete Dye, Radrick Farms lives up to its billing as one of the premier courses in the Ann Arbor area. The fairways are mostly tree lined and unforgiving. Even a precise tee shot is not good enough on this course as cleverly designed traps and strategic tree placement are there to collect the slightest mishit. The greens are brutally fast and contoured which turn short chips into daunting prospects.
Radrick isn't all doom and gloom however, the windy conditions I played under contributed considerably. With friendlier weather this is a fun and challenging course. It is also exceedingly picturesque and beautiful.
If you know someone and can manage to get on this private course, I highly recommend it.