TC Golf Guide

Traverse City, Michigan


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The course lies about a 45 minute scenic ride up Rt-31 toward Charlevoix, right off the main road. This early Jerry Matthew's design just begins to show some of his design skills. The course has a more traditional feel with a few straight-away fairways and some saucer shaped greens. The have very nice terrain with a blend of wooded holes and open holes laid over some decent elevations. It is a good course for the driver were most of the time you can let the shaft out to receptive fairways. The classic bunkering sometimes presents a spectacular challenge to your approaches with big gapping bunkers ready to eat any weak wedges to sucker pins. The course was acquired by A-Ga-Ming Resort and they continue to make it better and better. It is not on the original resort site, but just about 10 minutes north.

Just minutes north of Charlevoix and about an hour north of Traverse City, this once all private course began allowing public play in 2009. Then a few years later it became part of the Ag-Ga-Ming Resort profile. This one is a little bit of a haul north of the original resolt. The terrain is somewhat flattish for Michigan, but Jerry Matthews did a fine job of creating enough undulation, flow and mounding to make the smartly designed course pleasing to look at and enjoyable to play. The style is almost links-like but there are still a decent amount of tree line hole. The main strategic element seems to be the many marshes and water hazards that need to be avoided or carried. Many greens are a little elevated from the fairway so a little extra club is not bad advice. This modern Matthews design retains a country club like feel with some tight holes where local knowledge can be a big advantage. The big money hole is the par 5 ninth. From the tee you can't quite gauge where to hit. There is a big bunker on the right that you might be tempted to carry but there is plenty fairway to the left. A solid tee shot gives you an outside chance to get home in two but you will have to carry a lake for its entire length. A safer option is out to the right of the green just short of the bunkers and then attack the pin with a wedge.

This 2005 Jerry Matthews course is just northwest of Traverse City wedged in between the Grand Traverse Bay and Torch Lake. Wonderful routing and some great scenery. Matthews has made a very modern American Links style course here which utilizes the elevations and scenery. Generous fairways are framed by carefully contouring, strategic bunkers and wonderfully contrasting heather. It is easily the stronger of the two A-Ga-Ming courses. The front nine eases you into the round but still give plenty of challenge. Then the ninth hole, perhaps on of the best par 5s in the Michigan, signals the beginning of a truly outstanding run of ten fantastic holes. Nine is a par 5 that tees off down hill around a slight dogleg with a bog on the inside. Then it rises to the pinnacle of the course with terraced bunkers to collect short shots. Take plenty club on your approach to this stadium green, a club and half is usually plenty. Balls landing on the front on the green can spin back down into the fairway. The par 3 seventeenth is an absolute beauty with a steep downhill tee shot with the world famous Torch Lake as your backdrop. The par 4 eighteenth is unexpectedly difficult, especially when the prevailing wind is in your face. You need a big tee shot and you must hit the fairway or you are looking at a perilous shot over 200 to a green surrounded by trouble and water. There is no bailout except short and that will still leave a difficult pitch. It is a great finishing hole where any remaining wagers will certainly need to be earned. Par on 18 is a very good score. Sometimes a great course has a weakness like repetitive par 3s or unimaginative par 5s. Not here, in fact the par 3s and 5s might be the best part of the course but that would detract from all the great par 4s. Nice full practice facility which includes a driving range, putting green and chipping green. If there is such a thing as a "sporty" golf course, this is it.

The older of the two A-Ga-Ming original onsite courses. Definitely the more traditional in design of the two courses but it features more views of Torch Lake. If you had to chose between the two, go with Sundance, but this has its charm as well and is perhaps a bit easier. The Torch sports some fantastic holes especially the par 3 seventh which is all carry over a ravine with Torch Lake as your backdrop. You can feel the potential here but there are just a few too many underwhelming holes that keep this otherwise fine course from being a top tier venue. It's mostly conservative bunkering and sometimes no bunkering at all, and in need of an update. Most holes just don't lead you to an exciting conclusion full of challenges and choices, but rather a more workman like finish on saucer shaped green. There are a few quirky holes one might say, especially the par 4 tenth, where the landing area terminates at the base of a hill into a small pond. Driver is usually not the play. Fortunately, they are working a hole here and there and the ones they have reworked are clearly superior to the older holes course. This progress is happening slowly, but it is happening, and perhaps in a few years they might really have something here. They sure have the terrain, location and name.

This Warren Henderson design from the Rick Smith design group is considered one of the very best golf courses in the entire United States. It brings a serious Scottish links course to the Midwest, in the midst of all the "up-north" courses in Michigan. Standing on the veranda of the club house, you can see the spectacle unfold right in front of you. The course flows down hundreds of feet from sandy bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan to the very edge of the lake. Just about everywhere you stand on this course you have a spectacular view. Every hole is a postcard and if you ever imagined a golf heaven, this could be it. The course has a raw look with all the wild areas, waste areas and wind blowing in off of the lake, but the fairways, greens and bunkers are finely manicured. The first fairway is wide as a railroad yard, but each fairway following seems to get a bit narrower. By the time you get to eighteen, the fairway looks like a winding sidewalks compared to the first hole. Not only do you need to drive the ball well here, you need to work on your lob shot for this course. There are many pedestal greens where the only recovery from missed approaches is a high soft lob. Different approaches to many greens and options to play each hole. The best positions are rewarded with a reasonable shots to the pin or simple run up shot to a long green. Poor positioning leaves dangerous approaches that can require semi-blind lobs over a deep sod-faced pot bunker to a narrow greens. And when you get to the green, the game within the game is revealed at the highest level. You will need to deal with fast, sophisticated, and undulated greens which require shots to the correct pin zones if you hope to score. You might find yours putting ninety degrees away from the hole in order to catch the slope. Other times you might consider taking the undulations out of the green with a deft chip over a big ridge, even from the putting surface itself, although that is perhaps not looked upon favorably. The eighteenth green has the most undulations and zones. Onlookers from the clubhouse often get a kick out of all the four putts here, so take extra care on your approach. The more you play this course, the more interesting it seems to become. At first your senses are overwhelmed with the entire atmosphere. But each round seems to reveal something new, a spot where you can hit a run up shot, a better approach to attack a pin, a backstop on the green that might put your ball in close. Some just go there to stand on the veranda and have a sandwich or a whiskey and not even play golf. That might be a good ideas for those that can't break 100 because Arcadia Bluffs can really demoralize a high handicappers. Arcadia is THE golf course in the area, even with all the stiff competition.

The newest of the Arcadia duo opening initially in 2019 and about 2 miles down the road from the original bluffs course. They wanted something dramaticall different from the Bluffs course and they sure go one. Called a parkland style golf course, with no trees and generally flat terrain and raised greens. When viewed from above, the design features large squared off greens, squared off fairwairs and bunkers and square tee boxes. Some said this lends itself to novelty out on the course, you really don't notice the squareness. In fact, its an awesome and unique course, well designed and a great test all the way through even though there is no view of the lake.  It is linkys in nature, promoting a ground game. The big fun may be with the driver. It looks wide open but you need to navagate the fairway mazes of bunkers and if you do, you can be rewarded with a good bit of bounce and rollout. The geometric greens are like napkins that has been ruffled with the corners folded. The don't look square at all. Theses large and very fast sectional greens can break your mind. Well struck balls may find the seams in the green and roll right to the hole. But balls flirting with the fringe can fall right off the green leaving steep uphill chip shots from tight lies. Even the bunkers are a bit different. The flat and sometimes narrow bottomed bunkers have steep grassy sides that may cause you to play sideways. After getting yourself beat up at the Bluffs course, this is a little more relaxing.  

Formerly the  Leelanau Club, this Gary Pulsipher design playing through forest and cherry orchards in the hilly terrain north west of Traverse City, Michigan. The course gets high points for a uniqueness in appearance and design. It definitely is a course when you can enjoy a round a golf in a fantastic environment and its local favorite reputation is well earned. Spectacular elevations on some tee boxes where you ball drops down to winding ribbons of fairways leading to semi-pedestal greens. Many great opportunities to play your driver but beware of the few tight driving holes where a go with a driver puts a lot of risk in play. The par 5 fourth is one such hole where a driver can take you right through the fairway on the right and also brings the junk on the left into play. Even the very accomplished golfer cannot get home in two, so take less club off the tee and stay in the round. Pulsipher really did a commendable job with four excellent and varied par threes. The par four 14th is perhaps the most devious of all holes. The big tree on the right has taken many tee shots. Steer clear. There is more room left than you think. Finding the fairway on 18 is a must if you want to stick the very difficult elevated green, it is at least a club and a half more.

Just minutes east of Traverse City in the TV tower hills over looking the West Branch of the Grand Traverse Bay. Founder in 1995, it offers two shortish nine hole courses, an executive 9-hole course and a par 3 nine hole course. A great place for a quick round or to bring out the family and kids. Lots of elevation changes and you can bring out the driver on a few holes. Nice range and practice facility.

27 fantastic holes in Petoskey, about an hour north of Traverse City. Arthur Hills, in collaboration with Stephen Kircher, has laid out one of his most spectacular routings in the Great Lakes region. Arthur Hills has always been known for great courses but he out did himself here. Completed in 1997, it claimed the top spot in Michigan for a long time. The property is part of Boyne Resort and is certainly their crown jewel. It does have private members but rotates tee times so that members tee off on one of the three nines while the public will tee off on another. There are three distinct nines, the Links, Quarry and Preserve, and each presents their own distinctive look and feel. The Links nine is the most popular and characterized by having its tall fescue lined holes in close proximity to Lake Michigan. While great views may help your attitude, winds that whip up from the lake, play havoc with your game. Four of the nine Links holes are treeless and hard against the lake in a splashy Arthur Hills Scottish-like effort. Standing on the edge of the fairway of Links hole 7, you can look straight down 150 feet to the crashing waves of Lake Michigan. The views from the bluffs overlooking Little Traverse Bay are probably worth the heavy greens fee alone. The Quarry nine has the most interesting holes of the three nines where several holes play around, down into and out of a rock-sided quarry. As a bonus, your final two holes on the Quarry play against the lake. The Preserve nine might be the strongest in terms of hole layouts. It rolls through mature birches and pines and incorporates marshes and even a double green. The entire complex is nicely tied together with mostly wide and forgiving fairways which lead you to good sized greens which are not overly undulated. Mr. Hills really did an outstanding job with the par 3 on all 27 holes, especially where the greens hang against the lake. The bottom line is that you cannot go wrong with any of the three nines, all are a blast to play. But if someone held a gun to your head, chose the Quarry and the Links.

Founded in 1925, this semi-private traditional masterpiece allows public play. Here you will truly get the sense of the tradition and privilege that this high ground course offers. Its about an hours drive north from Traverse City, just short of Charlevoix. Designed by Scotsman Willie Watson in a day and age where carefully attention was paid to details and position on the golf course had a purpose. Over the long decades the course lost some of its original nuance with the growth of trees and bunkers getting filled in. But since the accidental discovery of the original plans in 2016, they have attempted to restore it to its original design as close as modern times will allow. The course is fantastically kept and the restoration has made it even better. Occupying some of the highest ground around, it is almost as if the golf course touches the sky in a holy alliance with the ghosts of past champions such as Walter Hagen and Tommy Armour. You want the challenge of old school golf with modern conditions, here it is. The course offers plenty of chances to play a ball and let it feed to a pin position or run a ball in old school style with a bump and run. Use of the landscape as part of your strategy was how it was designed and how you are expected to play. A bit on the expensive side and not much in the way of public amenities.

A family owned and built golf course that first opened in 1993 just outside of Bellaire. They put the finishing touches on this par-70 6098 yard course about a decade later.  Formerly the Farm. Sometimes known as Bellaire Centennial. No review available.

About a 35 minute drive west of Traverse City near the Crystal Lake resort area. A tough and rugged poor-man's version of Arcadia Bluffs but at less than 1/4 of the price. Deep bunkers, lots of windswept fescue and distant high elevation views of Crystal Lake are featured on this very challenging links-style course. Don't let the price fool you, this is a well designed course with lots of high end golf architect features, just without the price. The rough areas are a bit penal but the fairways and greens are usually in very fine shape. If the wind is blowing in from the lakes on this high elevation course, it plays at least five strokes harder. All the holes flow along the hillsides and up and down valleys and ravines with virtually no housing. Don't let the simple first hole lull you into a sense of security. The holes rapidly get more difficult but always remain fair. The notable 11th is a terribly long and slightly uphill par three were some may find a driver is necessary carry the fronting pot bunkers and reach the green. It looks nice but man is it brutal. Fine back to back par 5s finish your round and each one will dare the accomplished golfer to try to get home in two.

City owner nine hole course within the city limits of Charlevoix. Not to be confused with the Charlevoix Country Club. Very flat and open. Easy to walk. No review available.

A hidden golf course about 55 minutes East of Traverse City near the coastal town or Arcadia. Mostly local play. 

Opened in 2000 and located in Bellaire, between Traverse City and Gaylord. Cut mostly through wooded terrain and the high ground of Bellaire, Canadian John Robinson designed a very unique layout with plenty of Michigan "Up North" feel. Robinson gives you room off the tee, only to tighten up the approach with pedestalled greens and sparse chipping areas. Other times you need to be precise off the tee as well as your approach. There are few grip it and rip it holes here since much of the course is tight and tough for just about any golfer. It does play much longer than the yardage on the card. The first hole is the entire course in a nutshell. You've got to plan your line or you are in trouble. There is a constant presence of tall lumber lining the left side of the fairway and the opposite falls away into a ravine. The tree-lined side rises from the fairway with heavy rough and tall grasses which sometimes deflect balls back down to the short stuff but more often than not, the heavy grasses and uneven lies torment those intent on aggressive recovery shots. Now if your unlucky enough to miss a savior bunker on the right and end up in the ravine, take your stroke and distance. The approach is no picnic either since the green sits below your uneven lie defended with bunkers, ravines, and grassy hollows ready to rob you of par or bogie should your stray from your target even a little. The greens are receptive but expect a fast pace on the roll. This theme pretty much repeats itself for much of the course with twists in the story line. This is not your typical course where you can just bang it out there, direction and distance are key. There is almost always something to avoid. If you normally do not find many fairways you are going to find it a long round unless you take less club and register a fairway. The short par 4 fourth hole is almost like two par 3s in one. Your downhill tee shot mUst not only be accurate in terms of direction, you must hit it the correct distance. If you do not manage that, you will be short of the corner or through the fairway, and either may turn your approach shot into a disappointing lay up. Hole 10 and 11 are absolute round killers so be forewarned. This course is tough, the combination of nature and Robinson's design makes this course stunning to the eye but somewhat lacking in the playability department. Many just don't like the course. A layup mindset might be a better strategy all day, as underwhelming as that sounds. If your looking for something different and engulfed by nature, here it is. Just don't expect something it is not. You are surrounded be other wonderful course.

Par 71 designed by Harry Bowers. One of the many Boyne golf properties located in Petoskey. 

Gary Pulsipher rehabbed the original nine and added another nine routed through the forest hills behind the course. A modern style course just minutes from Traverse City and fun to play. The course only gets better as you move through the 18 culminating in some spectacular holes on the backside. Conditions are usually pretty good. You can tell the front side was the original nine with a sort of underwhelming start and a few holes in between a condominium development. But over the years they keep improving the course and even with the addition of a housing developement on the back nine in 2022 hasn't slowed the progress.  One the back Pulsipher built the holes from scratch and there his real architectural prowess is demonstrated. Hole eleven is a very tough par 4 wrapping a hillside around to the left, culminating in a very elevated green. This is perhaps the toughest tee shot since you do not want a long iron into this green. You need to direct your tee shot left of the fairway, carry the rough and it should feed down to the right side of the fairway. Leaving the ball up in the hillside is death and not hitting it high enough on the hill will cause the ball to feed into the rough on the right. A big draw might hold the fairway. The par 5 fourteenth is both beauty and beast. A semi-blind tee shot does not reveal the trouble awaiting for you in the landing area. Tee shots must be kept to the left or you may find the massive ravine. But a driver could also find the end of the fairway or the left woods.  Consult you GPS carefully. Laying up off the tee makes it harder to clear the ravine and set up your approach. Lots of confusion and complaints are often heard about the short par 4 fifteenth when played for the first time. Recent improvements in 2022 have made it much better. Just keep in mind that all you need to do is get it up on the fairway plateau with a mid hybrid or long iron, then attack the green with a wedge or short iron. Any other approach is folly. It is actually a great birdie hole once you get past the optical misdirection. Then get ready for the fantastic final three holes. 

This 1970s Bruce Matthews design got a renovation in 2010 by Jerry Mattews bringing new holes and redesigned old ones. Its a nice piece of property with some distance views of Crystal Lake. They have taken this course into the 21st century with a major lengthening and improved bunkering. The major update was needed to keep pace with all the fantastic course in the area. The solid layout is mark by unexpectedly difficult greens that require a deft touch on and around the serious undulations. While not lightning fast, the tacos, backstops, and swales, combined with the tilted fairways that always seem to break toward Crystal Lake, make the greens the main defense of the course. The front is more open and the back winds through mature trees utilizing a valleys for several holes. You may get used to the wide fairways and pleasant course but the two closing holes force precision off the tee and require renewed focus or you risk ruining your round. The par four 17th requires an accurate fairway wood or hybrid to keep out of the heavily wooded slopes, driver is not the play. There are options, short of the fairway downslope takes the trees out of play and gives you a level but longer approach. If you can get to the downslope with a draw, you can pick up an extra thirty to fifty yards leaving a wedge in to an elevated but receptive green. Eighteen is a longish and difficult par four gently fading out of sight into the trees. A good drive will leave a mid-iron in but it requires a well struck fade. Too much fade and your lost in the woods, not enough and your through the fairway into the rough blocked by trees. Par-par is a great finish.

Considered the more up-scale of the two resort courses at Crystal Mountain, William Newcomb's Mountain Ridge layout features some nice elevation changes and beautiful vista from the top of the ski resort mountain. No, you don't play down the ski slopes and the lift towers are not on the fairways. They have plenty of land here for both golf and skiing. The course features big shouldered fairways hemmed in by mature forests of pine and hard woods with plenty bunkering. It seems to play a good bit tougher than it looks, partly due to a lot of timber around these fairways. You really need to keep it in play. Ironically, there is not that much "mountain ridge" about the course except for the cart ride to the first tee and the last three holes. A lot of tee shots are slightly downhill but most fairways are relatively level for a "mountain ridge" course. The greens are of medium sized and run at a conservative resort pace. Of course you will find some spectacular holes here, particularly the great stretch of holes from seven to ten. The two par fives on the back, holes 14 and 18 are truly excellent holes with providing ample options for the golfer. The front of the 18th green is actually sloped toward the middle making the front pin very difficult. The only complaint might be that there are just a few to many par 4s featuring the same theme. Not that there are any bad or weak holes here, just a few seem to blend together.

Even though the Mountain Ridge course at Crystal Mountain Resort gets the accolades, they put a lot of work into William Newcomb's Betsie Valley course over the years and then a huge moderninzing renovation happened in 2021 where they widened and recountoured fairwars, added longer tee boxes, enlarged or rebuilt some greens and basically made it a legit rival of the Ridge Course. Playing in part of the flood plain of the Betsie River you still see the peaks of the mountain resort but never quite get to those slope like you do on the Mountain Ridge Course. Occasionally, you will glimpse a beautiful house hidden in the forest, but they are never in play. Good routing utilizing little valleys, water features and dense forests gives you enough to deal with. The new par 5s took a lot of work but they are well worth it. Much flatter than the Mountain Ridge course except for the crazy uphill 10th hole. You can't see the landing area up the hill, but there is more room than it looks and you absolutely need to get up there on your tee shot.  Bag the driver up there and perhap you can get home in two.

Located about thirty minutes west of Traverse City toward the Sleepy Bear Dunes. Front nine completed in 1982 and the back nine was added in 1991. Par 72 but only 5730 yards from the tips. No review available.

This par 72 expansive gem is laid over 842 acres just north of Charlevoix in the heart of summer golf capital land. Its sheer size and scope is breathtaking. The Larry Mancour and Dean Refram's design first opened in 1992 but despite its beauty, it was allege to be too tough to play with sprawling and excessive bunkering. Since 1995, the course has been softened with the removal of many penal bunkers making way for more forgiving lines of play. But don't think the course is now a push over, it remains a stiff test, even for accomplished golfers, just a bit more enjoyable. There are more than plenty bunkers remaining, but they may have softened hole 18 a little to much by the removal of the bunkers guarding the left hand side of the fairway. This blend of northern Michigan and Scottish style golf provides a golf experience unlike almost any other. The underwhelming clubhouse and paltry entrance to the course might lead you just drive by, but don't. This beauty is hidden away in the dune hills, wooded valleys and expansive meadows. Not until you arrive at the first tee can you begin to appreciate the golfing wonder you are about to embark on. The vistas, the serenity, the pure nature, the fascinating holes, all combine to reward your senses. The course doesn't bother to slowly introducing itself. On the very first elevated tee box, wow, a dangerous but stunning looking tee shot down into a valley where the river like fairway flows slightly uphill to a protected green. There are many more famous golfing courses and resorts in northern Michigan, but this under-appreciated golf experience can carry its own weight and then some. Conditions are a little down recently.

Located right off of and actually visible from US-131, outside of Cadillac, Michigan, an hour south of Traverse City. This 1996 design from Mat Meyer is refreshingly different from your run of the mill cookie cutter courses. Clever routing through plentiful marshes and tree covered hills. Besides the double green shared by holes 9 and 18, the course is famous for the classic Eldorados in the clubhouse. With a solid layout and usually fine conditions, Eldorado can hold its own against the other high end resort courses in Northern Michigan. It provides a natural, relaxing environment, with a delightful and fair design, all at a reasonable price. Right from the first hole, you encounter the primary feature of the course, a dissecting marsh fronting the green. These marsh hazards pop up all over the course and you will need to be constantly aware of them. The par 4 eighteenth is a fine finishing hole and a great example of the course's philosophy. You see a lot of scary marsh from the tee box. It borders all down the right side and then pinches in on the fairway, cutting short part of your landing areas. You need a long and well positioned tee shot, preferably to the left side of the fairway, otherwise your approach will have to carry 160 to 200 yards of a marshy lake. Eldorado is a bit unheralded and as such, it is an unexpected pleasure sure to encourage you to return. 

Located in scenic Elk Rapids about twenty-five minutes north of Traverse City. This nine hole 1923 Donald Ross design is an absolute delight to play with fantastic views of Elk Lake with holes right up against the lapping waves. It is all old style, but with views like this, who cares. At 3067 yards, don't expect this Donald Ross production to have all his signature bells and whistles. The course is rather simple but there are ample hand-cut Ross nuances from an era long past that can be appreciated. The small saucer shaped greens have some sneaky break and you will be surprised how hard they are to hit. And yes you can play driver here. Easy to walk. No range but a 100 yard wedge practice area that is fantastic.

Located in scenic Elk Rapids about twenty-five minutes north of Traverse City. This nine hole 1923 Donald Ross design is an absolute delight to play with fantastic views of Elk Lake with holes right up against the lapping waves. It is all old style, but with views like this, who cares. At 3067 yards, don't expect this Donald Ross production to have all his signature bells and whistles. The course is rather simple but there are ample hand-cut Ross nuances from an era long past that can be appreciated. The small saucer shaped greens have some sneaky break and you will be surprised how hard they are to hit. And yes you can play driver here. Easy to walk. No range but a 100 yard wedge practice area that is fantastic. A great course for women and seniors but even the accomplished golfer can appreciate a tune up here. 

Located in Manton just 35 minutes south of Traverse City right off the US-131. This is perhaps the biggest secret in our area due to its sort of middle of nowhere location. This fantastic course by Bruce Matthews has all the bells and whistles of big destination courses but without the price. It is owned by the good people of Manton themselves and they don't advertise much. Right from the first hole you know you bought into a very nice tee time. One is not the best hole here, but the gentle left to right par 4 could be a signature hole at many middle tier courses. The course features a mix of tree-lined and prairie type hole across rolling hills with a few lakes and excellent bunkering surround sophisticated greens complexes. The "barn hole" tenth features a dramatic downhill tee shot where the old barn is a good target line and gives the hole its character. A big tee shot is required since the hole is relatively long and the well protected green is elevated a good bit. In fact, the whole back nine seems to step up a bit in detail with holes weaving in and out of dense pine forests which demand more precision from the tee. A tough finish awaits all golfers with a 200 yard plus downhill par three followed by the beastly par 4 eighteenth. It is long with a lake on the right and the wind always seems to play a factor. Driver-long iron or fairway metal will likely be your play, so hit the fairway and make a solid second shot, the green complex is more receptive than it looks. it is a little rough around the edges and but the greens and fairways are very good. The odds are that after your round, you will compare this course, dollar for dollar, against your favorites back home and find there is no comparison. You will be back.

18 unique holes by Tom Weiskopf, about 15 minutes southwest of Grayling, Michigan. Close to 80 minutes from Traverse City, but its one of those course you might consider on the way up or down. This expansive course has many great golf holes routed in natural sand dunes and an Audubon Signature Sanctuary forest of pines and ferns. Much of the course plays through the solitude of the forest while others twist through the dunes in a sort of links like fashion. Weiskopf masterfully routed the holes to seamlessly fit into the environment. Much of the course has a bit of a rugged and wild feel which features dunes fashioned into waste areas surrounded and punctuated by wild grasses. Additional definition comes from the splashy, numerous and deep bunkers which are everywhere. While the terrain sports mild elevations, the utilization of every inch of elevation change coupled with natural contouring of tees, fairways and greens, makes the course feel more rolling than the underlying terrain. The par 3 ninth is completely over open water with little protection from the wind and usually features a small audience up at the clubhouse. If you fail to take enough club, you might opt for a stiff drink at the turn. The tenth hole contains a split fairway that at first glance might not appear so. Study your yardage book well. Sixteen is called "hell's acre," a brutal 231 yard par 3 over scrub brush and dunes. There is about twenty yards of an apron in front of the green but anything short of that, you can forget about par. Don't ruin your round here. Seventeen offers a great chance for birdie with a short par 4 if you can stay our of the bunkers. Few actually go for it. Eighteen presents a perfect ending with a gorgeous and exciting par 5. Even though water lurks behind the green, going for it in two is a good play for the long hitter because behind the green and before the water is a bunker and about ten yards of a collection area. They are very proud of their greens here and rightfully so. They are large, undulated, always guarded and lightning fast and smooth. A first class full practice facility and clubhouse are at your disposal, so take advantage of it. They have a great par three 19th hole to settle bets. It is over water to an extremely undulated green with a bunker set right in the middle, par usually will win the bets. Four sets of tees and occasionally a fifth tee for juniors. Pricey and bring some bug spray during bug season.

Tom Doak's famous and honestly amazing reversible course which first opened 2016. Technically two courses in one, forward and backwards, Red and Black. The Red and Black courses cannot be played the same day, they are alternated every day. The holes are not actually played in reverse order, rather, there are corridors of fairway that lead to a common greens. Sometimes you do play a fairway backwards, sometimes you play a totally different fairway to a particular green. One day the first green is the 17th green the next day. And on opposite days you can approach the greens from 90 or 180 degrees causing them to play very differently. No tee boxes and none needed. They just put the tee markers on the ground and thats where you play from that day. One the next day the tee are someplace totally different. If you play both Red and Black, it can be difficult to say which hole is which since the designers did such an amazing job disguising the oposite direction of play. And neither direction is weaker than the other. Our sampling favors 60% Red and 40% Black. Just play both. The terrain has a lot of openness but is not flat. The fairways are wide and fast and usually framed in by rugged wispy grasses and shrub. This is links style golf. Real links golf. Firm and fast. Learn how to use the bumps and hollows to get it close. Get ready for greens carefully maintained with stimpmeters and hydrometers to assure super firm and fast surfaces. Flying to the middle of the green may leave you off the back. This is the hardest course to photograph. A photo of a hole is a photo of two differnet holes played from different angles. And even FHD photos cannot reveal the intense nuisances here. It is just special.