Golfers improve their game at Riverview Land Preserve Practice Facility

DAVE GORGON

Golfers interested in tuning up their game before playing a round on the Riverview Highlands Golf Course can work out on the adjacent practice facility located on the eastern edge of the Riverview Land Preserve.

The practice facility features a driving range and three practice holes for golfers of all ages and abilities.

The driving range has two tee areas and five target greens on the hill. The bottom tee covers more than an acre of driving space. The hill’s top tee has three levels of hitting space.

There is also a chipping green next to the lower tee with a bunker and a putting green that is 100 yards long and has 18 holes.

Golf customers who purchase a bucket of balls (small, medium or large) may use a cart for no extra charge.

The three practice holes are located on acreage between the driving range and Sibley Road. The three holes are designed for golfers to use every club in their golf bag. Golfers typically take about 30 minutes to play the three holes.

The first hole is a par 4 playing 370 yards from the back tee, 330 from the middle tee and 280 from the forward tee. The second hole is a par 3 that plays 135, 125 and 90 yards. The third hole is a longer par 3 that plays 210, 155 and 110 yards.

The top hole on the practice course offers a beautiful 360-degree view of the surrounding area, including Southfield, Dearborn, Downtown Detroit and the Detroit River.

The practice facility is located on the old footprint of Riverview’s ski and sledding areas, which were phased out in the late 1990s. After the ski and sled areas were closed, the location – which was designated for recreational use – was converted into a golf practice facility to compliment the neighboring Riverview Highlands Golf Course. Ground was broken on the practice facility in May 1999 and the grand opening took place Aug. 26, 2000.

According to former Riverview City Council member James Weaks, the top of the practice facility needed one million yards of soil to finish. It just so happened that the Detroit Metropolitan Airport expansion project was taking place at the same time and project leaders were looking for a way to dispose of one million yards of soil. It was a perfect match.

“While serving on City Council, we had a vision (and county requirement) that the landfill have a productive end use when closed,” Weaks said. “The practice facility fulfills that long-term goal. The driving range, 100-yard putting surface and three-hole practice facility is a very productive end use for the closed portion of the landfill. It compliments the golfing experience and is a wonderful place to take your children to learn the great sport of golf.”

The Riverview Highlands Golf Course maintenance staff mows and grooms the practice facility at the land preserve.

Woodhaven resident Craig West, who said he “golfs for fun,” said he has been making the most of his $400 annual range membership, which “has been packed all summer.” The engineer said he has used the driving range two or three times a week.

The facility also serves as a practice site for a number of high school golfing teams, including Riverview Community High School. Jordan Hunt, a senior at Southgate Anderson High School, said her 12-member team has averaged one match a week at a golf course, but practices three times a week in Riverview, using the practice course and its greens, plus the driving range.

“It’s really nice,” said Jordan, who is in her fourth year of golfing with the high school team. She said that the practice facility “has the feel of a real course.”

The entire RLP is 403 acres. There are 211.28 acres dedicated to solid waste disposal on which 3,000 tons of material on average are processed daily.

Officials said whether it is the daily disposal of refuse for Riverview’s 16 surrounding communities or providing a truly unique recreational opportunity, the Riverview Land Preserve is a responsible and innovative leader in managing waste and recyclable materials for residents, neighbors and the Downriver region.

To learn more about the RLP, visit the website riverviewlandpreserve.com or contact a team member at riverviewlandpreserve.com/contactus.

Golf outing to offsets costs of improvements

Twenty-eight foursomes got a close look at all of the improvements made at the City of Riverview’s golf course in September during the inaugural Riverview Highlands Invitational.

The tournament also raised funds to help offset the cost of the upgrades, which have led to an improved reputation for the golf course as well as an increase in golfers. In fact, Riverview Highlands recently was named the fourth best municipal course in Southeast Michigan during a recent survey sponsored by WDIV-TV (Channel 4).

The winning team at the outing was sponsored by Alta, a heavy equipment company. Golfers Joe Emry, Scott Sebastian, Keith Crosson and Bruce Davis combined on a 16-under-par 56 to earn the championship. All four received trophies. The sponsor’s name was added to a plaque for what is expected to be an annual tournament.

The improvements at the golf course are getting noticed, according to Jeff Dobek, the assistant city manager and director of the Riverview Land Preserve.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in rounds,” Dobek said. “A lot of these rounds are coming from players who have been golfing at different golf courses – people who haven’t been coming to Riverview in a few years.”

Riverview Highlands Golf course is located at 15015 Sibley Road. There are three nine-hole courses, a three-hole practice facility, a driving range and an indoor practice facility.

Mike Kettler, the director of golf operations, said the “gold nine” opened in 1973, followed by the “red nine” in 1976. There is also a “blue nine” across the street, plus a clubhouse, pro shop and restaurant/bar that have been around since 1979.

In addition to a stream of golfers, the golf course hosts 34 leagues, which rotate from course to course, and offers lessons.

The improvements were wide ranging. Among them:

● Cart path improvements on the gold and red courses.

● Improvements to the entire parking lot, including seal coating and repainting.

● The clubhouse and pro shop were sided with mansard.

● Landscaping at the Sibley Road entrance and welcome sign.

● Landscaping around the clubhouse and the first tee.

● New equipment was purchased.

● The greens were “profiled” by Michigan State University, which involves testing soil samples and tweaking the greens.

● The indoor training facility has been improved. Memberships are available.

In recent years, the golf course has received improved bunkers and a new pump house.

The improvements were all important and needed and the golf season is long, Dobek and Kettler said.

“The golf course has been in really good shape this year,” Kettler said. “With COVID-19, we were the first industry to open.”

“We play golf here until the snow flies,” Dobek said.

Kettler said officials are already looking forward to next season – and a second annual Riverview Highlands Invitational.

For more information about the golf course and other features, call (734) 479-2266.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *