Barton Hills

Barton Hills is a really good Donald Ross course in Ann Arbor. It has very interesting greens that have many irregular shapes, lending themselves to interesting pin locations from day to day. The course recently went under a renovation by Ron Prichard and more recently Tyler Rae. Many trees have been removed providing Barton with restored playing angles. Prior to the renovations, Barton didn’t have their own water source thus having to pay high fees for city water. During the depression era, Barton had slot machines in the clubhouse to pay for their water bill. With the last renovation, having their own water source was a great priority. Two ponds were created to overcome this deficiency, first one to the left of 3 tee and the pond to the left of the 12th fairway was added, making their water sources sufficient. The fairways at Barton are generous, but they reward proper angles. You could call it a 2nd shot course, where putting is challenging when in the wrong spots. The course has some long par 4’s, however the short par 4’s are really good (#4 & #12). Long irons can be played off the tee and can yield birdies, but a misplaced approach can end with a 3 putt or a difficult up and down. The strongest asset of Barton is the par 3’s. The are top 3 in the State as a collection (5, 8, 11, & 16). 17th I’m indifferent about it. I feel the green is too small for how much movement is in the fairway and the fact it’s a blind 2nd shot that is over bunkered for its scale imo. The stand out holes at Barton are 2, 4, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16. The 9th is the weakest hole imo, just that the other holes are so much stronger. Two ways for Barton to improve itself imo, would be to move the pond in front of 10 green to in front of the 9th tee, it’s not original and it ruins a great hole. The 6th hole is a cool blind tee shot and a really good green, however there is literally a puddle in the fairway that is a wetland. I’m pretty sure the club could pay a wetlands mitigation fee to have it filled in. It wouldn’t cost that much money in comparison of what top clubs spend on clubhouse renovations. Ann Arbor has 3 really good courses and Barton shouldn’t be missed.