Rackham Golf Club – Royal Oak Michigan – Courses Near Detriot MI

Located in Hunting Woods, Oakland County, Michigan and designed by Donald Ross, Rackham golf course is one of the golf courses in Michigan that are open to members of the public. It was established in 1924 and has 18 holes.

What is today known as Rackham Golf Course was a piece of land which was bought by Rackham in 1924. After buying these acres of land, Rackham made a pledge to give it out for the development of a zoo if voters in Detroit gave their approval. After the voters in Detroit gave their approval, Rackham went on to give 22 acres of the land he purchased for the establishment of a public golf course and for building a parking lot.

This golf course is one of the public golf courses in Detroit and made it to the list of Donald Ross’ 10 best public golf courses. This golf course is not just one of the best public golf courses, it is the home golf course of the United States’ first golf professional with African roots, Ben Davis. Also, it was frequently visited by Joe Louis, a famous professional boxer in the United States.

Rackham Golf Course is not just a golf course for professionals. It is a golf course that can be enjoyed by all level of golf players. So, if you are a beginner and interested in playing golf in this golf course, you can be certain that the money you pay will not be a waste.

Rackham Golf Course is unarguably the most successful public golf course in Detroit at the moment. It yields up to $1 million in revenue. This amounts to 49% of the revenue of the four golf courses in Detroit. As a matter of fact, Rackham Golf Course makes enough money to support itself and also to maintain the other golf course in Detroit.

Challenges Faced by Rackham Golf Course

Although this golf course is not doing badly, not all its amenities are being used. One of the amenities which used to mean a lot but is no longer in use today is a clubhouse building. This golf course was developed so regular people could have the privilege of enjoying what the rich enjoy as far as golf is involved. While this golf club is still a public golf club, there were attempts by the city of Detroit to put it up for sale. This attempt led to a legal battle which was both long and expensive.

After a long legal battle which began in 2006, the Michigan Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Huntington Woods. This ruling was based on the fact that when the Rackham family gave the acres of land that house this golf course to Detroit, all they wanted it to be was a land that would be developed for members of the public to have access to and nothing more. The panel which was made up of three judges made it known that the only condition under which the property could be sold was if it was going to be sold to a public establishment. However, this property could also be sold to a private buyer if they are going to let it remain public property. Also, for any sale to pull through, it has to get the approval of Rackham heirs.

According to Olsman, “Rackham needs very significant repairs. It’s been allowed to deteriorate over the years. Rackham itself is a money maker. In my opinion, it could make significantly more money if it was properly managed…it’s a very historic and magnificent golf course”.

While Rackham is doing better than other public golf courses in Detroit, it has some challenges in common with the other golf courses. This challenge is the issue of irrigation. For it to be in a better condition, there has to be an upgrade of its irrigation system. Furthermore, its turf, greens, fairways, and tees need to be worked on. That’s not all. Potholes are beginning to develop in the path that carts have to go through.

According to Singer, Rackham golf course has the potential to make more in revenue than it is already doing. However for this to be possible funds have to be invested in the golf course. He believes if funds are invested, more people will be attracted to come to play golf. In his words “But it’s probably not realistic that all of it (revenue) will return. But I was pleasantly surprised by the underlying quality of golf in Detroit. Even though these facilities weren’t in particularly good condition… we found a pretty loyal and dedicated following of golfers in Detroit that, despite the declining conditions and deferred maintenance, they continued to frequent them”

Why Rackham is doing well

Rackham Golf Course is not the only golf course in Detroit. It, however, is the most successful for lots of reasons. One of these many reasons is the fact that it is managed by Karen Peek. Karen has been managing Rackham golf course for a fairly long while. She has been doing this in partnership with the Recreation Department of the City of Detroit.

Karen has been able to achieve a lot as manager of Rackham Golf Course because she is from Detroit and is very well aware of how the communities in Detroit operate. Before taking up the position to manage this golf course, she worked with the American Golf Corporation in Detroit for 15 years. She worked in the position of a Regional Director, Manager, and Regional Manager. While she was at the American Golf Corporation, she was able to make the Great Lakes grow to 15 courses from 7 courses.

Karen might have a reputation as a proven leader. There is, however, more to her level of success. She is not just a leader, she is a pioneer also. She has set lots of records and also broken some. She has been able to manage Rackham Golf successfully because of her belief that one key to be successful at any level is to have operational excellence.


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