Franklin Hills

The current Franklin Hills is the not the original location. The original club, Redford CC, was only a 9 hole course on a 113-acre parcel in Redford, MI and it was designed by Tom Bendalow. The demand and long-term goals were strong enough to find a new location on 180-acre parcel in Farmington Hills. Donald Ross was retained and club member Albert Kahn who was a famous Architect went on to design the clubhouse. Franklin Hills is one of the best Donald Ross courses in the country period. It’s rare for one course to have a few “World Class” holes (#2, #9, #13) on it. The 2nd has two speckled centerline bunkers and a 3rd bunker in the center that offer options off the tee. The green is sloped severely back to front and is one of my favorite greens out there. The club is currently consulting with Andrew Green and they have softened the 2nd green. Unfortunately, FH members like many private clubs, like their greens too fast some days, which can make this green a nightmare and borderline unplayable. I wish more clubs sought out Firm and True conditions. Many modern greens are fast & flat boring greens that lack the character found at Franklin. The par three 9th, has a wild green with some bold internal contours throughout the green. There is a bold false front on the front right portion of the green. I personally enjoy when the pin is on the far right left of the green. It demands confidence in distance control to carry the bunker and find a sliver of the shallow portion of the green. Many 3 putts can be had on this green if you are on the wrong section of the green. The pin placement options provide great interest from day to day which few par 3’s can say. The par 3’s as a collection are probably the best in the state imo. Now one of the best versions of a “Volcano” hole one can play, FH #13. This 300 or so yard par 4, temtps’ folks to pull out the driver. The fairway sits below the tee box and green. Modern equipment has enabled more long hitters to reach the green off the tee, though a it was initially intended to be a great drive and pitch hole. The green is the size of many car hoods. You really need to be in the fairway to be able to control your spin and hold the green. A front bunker stares you in the eye as the green sits up on a hill like a Volcano, good luck! The course has firmed up over the last few years. The fescue native areas are really well maintained with balls being able to be found, especially considering it’s on a heavy soil. I could do a write up on every hole at Franklin, that is how good this course is. However, the 17th hole is the weak point of the course. The tree by the pond needs to be removed. The tee needs to be raised while blended into the surroundings. The entire pond needs to be visible on the tee. Blind shots are great and should be welcomed in golf, but not when a water hazards isn’t presented. The club is currently working on a plan with Andrew to improve the hole. All in all, an invite to play FHCC is a very nice treat. If you are fortunate to get an invite to FH, don’t walk, run! The club hosts AM qualifiers frequently, which is a nice way for some to see this impressive course.