Great to see Golf.com’s Max Marcovitch use the opportunity provided by the Rocket Mortgage Classic to highlight the sad (and endangered) state of Detroit muni’s.
In particular, the Donald Ross-designed Rackham is in danger and Karen Peek is working to keep it going.
Rackham is six miles north of Detroit Golf Club, site of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. It doesn’t get the attention that DGC does but it has rich history of its own, extending back to its opening in 1923. Ben Davis, the first black head pro at a municipal course in the U.S., taught there for 50 years. Among his students was famed boxer Joe Louis, a Rackham regular. The two would play money matches. In the 1940s, Louis hosted an annual golf tournament at Rackham, aimed at showcasing talented black players.
Rackham is also where Peek fell in love with the game. As a kid, she convinced her best friend to attend a youth golf clinic with her at the course. Volunteer pros — Davis among them — painted small circles on the 1st fairway and had the juniors swing their clubs back and forth for one carefree hour. Peek was hooked. She recounts excitedly slinging her golf bag over her shoulder and riding her bike down to the course.
Fifty years later, the details flow with a nostalgic yearn. The clinics were a staple in a vibrant golfing community. For Peek, they were the gateway to her livelihood.