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Copper Hills
by Susan Bairley

It's new, but because of its mature trees and landscaping, it doesn't look like a brand new golf course. And according to course architect and owner Curtis Wright, an even more lush nine -- The Jungle, has yet to come.

Located 12 miles north of Rochester, between Oxford and Lakeville, Copper Hills Golf and Country Club is a semiprivate course that serves as the central feature of a budding, 367-acre residential community. Eighteen of its 27 holes are open this spring, offering as close to a northern Michigan feel as one can get on a golf course located in Southeast Michigan.

Wright, who as a result of 30 years in the excavation business, said "pushing dirt is second nature" to him, bought the Addison Township parcel to build his dream course and housing development. A former automotive designer, he says he had the artistic background needed to design a course and the practical knowledge from years of playing golf courses worldwide to know "what a good-looking golf course looks like." As an excavator, he also gained course construction experience when he built Oakland County Parks and Recreation's Springfield Oaks golf course in 1974.

Blessed with some nice elevations of up to 150 feet, Copper Hills offers rolling terrain amid mature stands of trees, a course feature Wright says he'll maintain even as the residential community's 100 home sites, all with golf course frontage, are developed. "The way it's designed, you can almost play golf without the feeling that there are any homes around," he said. "I also designed each hole so when you're playing you'll feel like you're the only one there."

The Hill nine is, as its name implies, quite hilly. And true to its name, The Marsh nine brings water or wetlands into play on every hole. All of the fairways and greens are Providence bentgrass and each hole has five sets of tees, with yardages ranging from about 4,700 to 6,800 yards.

The sixth holes on both nines are among Wright's favorites. The Hill's number 6 is a 150-yard, par three whose green rests atop a 12-foot high boulder wall. The tees are elevated about 50 feet, and the hole requires a marshland carry to the green. A long narrow bunker also threatens to penalize those who pull their shots to the shorter left.

The Marsh's sixth hole is a beautiful, 213-yard par three that features a 60-foot elevation drop from the tees, across a large crescent-shaped pond, to an hour-glass green that's protected by two side bunkers. A walking bridge traverses the pond on the right.

The Jungle nine, for which the Copper Hills logo -- a Tiger prowling across a green -- was designed, will open next spring. Wright said that nine is so named because it will be carved through dense woods and marshlands, much like a jungle.

Greens fees, including mandatory cart, are $29 for nine and $47 for 18 holes on weekdays; $31 for nine and $52 for 18 on weekends. Those wearing soft spikes also receive a $2 discount.

Located at 2125 Lakeville Road, call (810) 969-9808 for tee times or more information.

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