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All Things Michigan Golf.....The Three Putt


knickerbocker
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6 hours ago, Chanceman said:

What's the earliest you can likely play again in Michigan? And what would be a certain open-up date? I guess the UP is later than the rest.

 

Depends on how hard core you are.  I generally get a round or two in March in with April being the start of the season.

 

I have played every month in Michigan many years.  I think my longest streak was 34 months. 

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Had a great day at American Dunes today!  I definitely need iron lessons but my woods were on point.  I'd currently put this course right next to Stoatin Brae in my personal rankings, right behind Whistling Straits, Greywalls, and Arcadia.  Today was the last day they will be open.  I definitely will play again next Summer.  Everything is so patriotic and really tugs at your heart while you play with all the videos that come up in your cart.

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On 10/31/2021 at 3:44 PM, Timbo Slice said:

Had a great day at American Dunes today!  I definitely need iron lessons but my woods were on point.  I'd currently put this course right next to Stoatin Brae in my personal rankings, right behind Whistling Straits, Greywalls, and Arcadia.  Today was the last day they will be open.  I definitely will play again next Summer.  Everything is so patriotic and really tugs at your heart while you play with all the videos that come up in your cart.

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Looks like a good father/son round. I played there in August. I liked it, but seemed like a few holes were shoe horned in there, but overall I like the military stuff and the massive flag on 9. Cool course, I will end up playing it again. I am sure as it matures it will get better. 

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Greetings from Tennessee! I am in the middle of watching No Laying Up's Tourist Sauce - Michigan and I cannot believe how much good golf you all have for such a short season. I am insanely jealous. Just watched the Grand Rapids episode and I might be sold on taking a golf trip there. Especially love the amount of solid public options you all have. I don't really know if there is a question or useful comment in here but just...wow. 

 

The question now is do I fly straight to Grand Rapids or take a direct to Chicago or Detroit and try catch a round in between. Literally planning a trip now. 

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8 minutes ago, blackbdmillsaps said:

Greetings from Tennessee! I am in the middle of watching No Laying Up's Tourist Sauce - Michigan and I cannot believe how much good golf you all have for such a short season. I am insanely jealous. Just watched the Grand Rapids episode and I might be sold on taking a golf trip there. Especially love the amount of solid public options you all have. I don't really know if there is a question or useful comment in here but just...wow. 

 

The question now is do I fly straight to Grand Rapids or take a direct to Chicago or Detroit and try catch a round in between. Literally planning a trip now. 

 

Wait until you see the courses in the NW part of the state. They blow away what you've seen so far!

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21 hours ago, blackbdmillsaps said:

Greetings from Tennessee! I am in the middle of watching No Laying Up's Tourist Sauce - Michigan and I cannot believe how much good golf you all have for such a short season. I am insanely jealous. Just watched the Grand Rapids episode and I might be sold on taking a golf trip there. Especially love the amount of solid public options you all have. I don't really know if there is a question or useful comment in here but just...wow. 

 

The question now is do I fly straight to Grand Rapids or take a direct to Chicago or Detroit and try catch a round in between. Literally planning a trip now. 

 

Any option would work.  

 

Honestly, Grand Rapids is solid, but I would recommend a trip to Forest Dunes and Arcadia over GR

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24 minutes ago, knickerbocker said:

 

Any option would work.  

 

Honestly, Grand Rapids is solid, but I would recommend a trip to Forest Dunes and Arcadia over GR

 

But wouldn't flying into GR make the logistics easier for him for most anything?  Unless he's getting onto some of the privates there really is no reason to fly into DTW is there?

 

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21 hours ago, blackbdmillsaps said:

Greetings from Tennessee! I am in the middle of watching No Laying Up's Tourist Sauce - Michigan and I cannot believe how much good golf you all have for such a short season. I am insanely jealous. Just watched the Grand Rapids episode and I might be sold on taking a golf trip there. Especially love the amount of solid public options you all have. I don't really know if there is a question or useful comment in here but just...wow. 

 

The question now is do I fly straight to Grand Rapids or take a direct to Chicago or Detroit and try catch a round in between. Literally planning a trip now. 

Hey, I live there - Diamond Springs (seen in the NLU video) is listed as my home course on TheGrint.  A couple other gems in the area include Macatawa Golf Club in Holland (though I've heard pretty solid rumors that they're going 100% private again next season), I personally enjoy Wallinwood Springs in Jenison (some in this thread have poo-pooed the course, but it's still got good bones), and Winding Creek (also in Holland) has a very similar vibe to Wallinwood.

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2 hours ago, knickerbocker said:

but I would recommend a trip to Forest Dunes and Arcadia over GR

 

I certainly like to formulate my own opinions (for example, I found I liked True Blue in SC much better than Caledonia in SC which is not a very popular opinion) but listening to the guys talk about Forest Dunes (specifically the Loop) probably scared me off. It sounds extremely difficult which is not generally what I am chasing during my golf trip. As a 5 HDCP I have some shots but definitely not all the shots and it sounds like I am not good enough to hang out there. And yes, sadly, I am one of those people that cannot really enjoy a golf course if I am shooting in the high 80s. It is a personal problem and I'm working on it, hahaha. 

 

1 hour ago, golfortennis said:

Unless he's getting onto some of the privates there really is no reason to fly into DTW is there?

 

I am not even getting on privates in my hometown so definitely not in Detroit, haha. 

 

1 hour ago, HappyGilmoresBoots said:

A couple other gems in the area include Macatawa Golf Club in Holland (though I've heard pretty solid rumors that they're going 100% private again next season), I personally enjoy Wallinwood Springs in Jenison (some in this thread have poo-pooed the course, but it's still got good bones), and Winding Creek (also in Holland) has a very similar vibe to Wallinwood.

 

Thanks for the recs! I will look them up on Google Earth and see what's what!

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1 hour ago, blackbdmillsaps said:

 

I certainly like to formulate my own opinions (for example, I found I liked True Blue in SC much better than Caledonia in SC which is not a very popular opinion) but listening to the guys talk about Forest Dunes (specifically the Loop) probably scared me off. It sounds extremely difficult which is not generally what I am chasing during my golf trip. As a 5 HDCP I have some shots but definitely not all the shots and it sounds like I am not good enough to hang out there. And yes, sadly, I am one of those people that cannot really enjoy a golf course if I am shooting in the high 80s. It is a personal problem and I'm working on it, hahaha. 

 

 

I am not even getting on privates in my hometown so definitely not in Detroit, haha. 

 

 

Thanks for the recs! I will look them up on Google Earth and see what's what!

The Loop isn't difficult -- it's one of the widest courses you'll ever play. The green complexes are where it gets wonky, and you may end up with a lot of long putts, but it's not somewhere where you'll slog around searching for balls all day. I don't like it, and wouldn't pay what they ask to play it, but difficulty isn't the reason. The original Forest Dunes course is more challenging and you can get into trouble if you're hitting it sideways, but I wouldn't consider it to be one of the more difficult courses in the state by any stretch. 

 

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4 hours ago, blackbdmillsaps said:

 

I certainly like to formulate my own opinions (for example, I found I liked True Blue in SC much better than Caledonia in SC which is not a very popular opinion) but listening to the guys talk about Forest Dunes (specifically the Loop) probably scared me off. It sounds extremely difficult which is not generally what I am chasing during my golf trip. As a 5 HDCP I have some shots but definitely not all the shots and it sounds like I am not good enough to hang out there. And yes, sadly, I am one of those people that cannot really enjoy a golf course if I am shooting in the high 80s. It is a personal problem and I'm working on it, hahaha. 

 

 

I am not even getting on privates in my hometown so definitely not in Detroit, haha. 

 

 

Thanks for the recs! I will look them up on Google Earth and see what's what!

 

I'm a 5 handicap, well technically I'm a 7 as I played some bad golf this year and had some low scores drop off my GHIN, but I shot 79 on the Loop Black routing this summer. It has the widest fairways I think I have played. The green complexes are fun and the course allows you to play the course in a variety of ways.  I listened to the NLU podcast and they sort of crapped all over the Loop. One thing to keep in mind, they played it during the Duel event which is 36 holes, both routings, same pins. That makes it tough because the course is turned up and very tough pins from both sides. I found the course to be super fun. We had a 5, 7, 9, and a 25 handicap in our group and all 4 of us walked off that course with great things to say. I would not pass up on that course based on things you read on here. 

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22 hours ago, blackbdmillsaps said:

 

I certainly like to formulate my own opinions (for example, I found I liked True Blue in SC much better than Caledonia in SC which is not a very popular opinion) but listening to the guys talk about Forest Dunes (specifically the Loop) probably scared me off. It sounds extremely difficult which is not generally what I am chasing during my golf trip. As a 5 HDCP I have some shots but definitely not all the shots and it sounds like I am not good enough to hang out there. And yes, sadly, I am one of those people that cannot really enjoy a golf course if I am shooting in the high 80s. It is a personal problem and I'm working on it, hahaha. 

 

 

I am not even getting on privates in my hometown so definitely not in Detroit, haha. 

 

 

Thanks for the recs! I will look them up on Google Earth and see what's what!

 

THE NLU guys played the Loop during a tournament and really difficult setup.  I personally would play the Loop everyday over the Mines in GR.  Nothing against the Mines, but it is super quirky.

 

I find the Loop to be super playable and disagreed with their assessment.  The original Forest Dunes course is the best public in the state by far.  I recommend FD for that course over the Loop.    

 

 

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9 hours ago, knickerbocker said:

 

THE NLU guys played the Loop during a tournament and really difficult setup.  I personally would play the Loop everyday over the Mines in GR.  Nothing against the Mines, but it is super quirky.

 

I find the Loop to be super playable and disagreed with their assessment.  The original Forest Dunes course is the best public in the state by far.  I recommend FD for that course over the Loop.    

 

 

 

Can I ask what about FD makes you say its the best public in MI by far? Personally I dont think it is even close to Arcadia Bluffs. I thought it was a really nice, well manicured course but I dont think it came close to living up to the hype. I did a trip to Forest Dunes, The Loop, Arcadia South, Arcadia Bluffs, and American Dunes in August and I would put FD in 4th out of those just ahead of American Dunes. I honestly didn't think there were any truly memorable holes on that course. And to be honest, when I planned that trip, I was most excited about FD, least excited about The Loop, and I ended up pretty disappointed in FD. For years I have always heard people say things like you that it's the best in the state, and I just don't get it. Nice course, but not number 1 in my opinion. Just curious as your thoughts as I know everyone has their owns reasons. 

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8 hours ago, N8dogg2669 said:

 

Can I ask what about FD makes you say its the best public in MI by far? Personally I dont think it is even close to Arcadia Bluffs. I thought it was a really nice, well manicured course but I dont think it came close to living up to the hype. I did a trip to Forest Dunes, The Loop, Arcadia South, Arcadia Bluffs, and American Dunes in August and I would put FD in 4th out of those just ahead of American Dunes. I honestly didn't think there were any truly memorable holes on that course. And to be honest, when I planned that trip, I was most excited about FD, least excited about The Loop, and I ended up pretty disappointed in FD. For years I have always heard people say things like you that it's the best in the state, and I just don't get it. Nice course, but not number 1 in my opinion. Just curious as your thoughts as I know everyone has their owns reasons. 

Agree with everything you wrote. I've only played it 1 time so am not quite qualified to comment yet, but I have a sense people like it for the way the holes blend in to the surrounding terrain and topography but also how they evolve through the forest to conclude in the dunes. The native landscapes change through the round but it evolves slowly and seems natural (it doesn't seem like they moved much dirt but I could be totally off)...

 

That said, I still don't care to play it again. I had heard that the greens were pure and some of the best in the state. Not the case when I was there. It reminded me of some forgettable Fazio designed ocean resort course overcharging because people are there to play it for the first time on vacation.

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18 hours ago, N8dogg2669 said:

 

Can I ask what about FD makes you say its the best public in MI by far? Personally I dont think it is even close to Arcadia Bluffs. I thought it was a really nice, well manicured course but I dont think it came close to living up to the hype. I did a trip to Forest Dunes, The Loop, Arcadia South, Arcadia Bluffs, and American Dunes in August and I would put FD in 4th out of those just ahead of American Dunes. I honestly didn't think there were any truly memorable holes on that course. And to be honest, when I planned that trip, I was most excited about FD, least excited about The Loop, and I ended up pretty disappointed in FD. For years I have always heard people say things like you that it's the best in the state, and I just don't get it. Nice course, but not number 1 in my opinion. Just curious as your thoughts as I know everyone has their owns reasons. 

 

Golf course opinions are subjective. I say it is best public in the state, but certainly not the best course.  

 

I think the course has zero weak holes.  I have played it four times over the years and each time, I want to go play it again.  Conditioning and mix of risk/reward across the course is awesome.  I love Arcadia and it's one of my favorites, probably my #2 public course.  

 

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13 minutes ago, knickerbocker said:

 

Golf course opinions are subjective. I say it is best public in the state, but certainly not the best course.  

 

I think the course has zero weak holes.  I have played it four times over the years and each time, I want to go play it again.  Conditioning and mix of risk/reward across the course is awesome.  I love Arcadia and it's one of my favorites, probably my #2 public course.  

 

 

I get that, and I'm by no means trying to create an argument, I was just curious as to someone's opinion why they ranked it that way. It's a great course, no argument there. Maybe I built it up in my head to something it could never live up to. Very possible. I want to play the Red routing of The Loop, so I know I will end up playing FD again. Maybe my opinion will change. 

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I'll just throw in my two cents for fun:

 

The Loop - thought it was boring, and the greens require too much local knowledge for a course most people will never play enough to get to know that well. Some green complexes really don't work both ways, IMO.

 

Forest Dunes - I love the way it winds through the changing landscape, and seems to blend in well, like there wasn't a ton of dirt moved. The variety of holes provide different challenges, and I feel like the course tests your whole game. About 10 years ago, I would say it had the best public greens around, but when Troon stopped managing it, and the course started getting a lot more play, I feel like the conditions became less immaculate, and the greens don't roll quite as well as they used to. Still upper-tier, but noticeably different.

 

Arcadia - visually, it's the most stunning course in the state. You can't compete with the views. But as the course goes, some hoes get a bit repetitive going up and down the hill. There are definitely some standout holes, and it's very nice, but as a whole, I've always enjoyed Forest Dunes more. I do want to get back there soon to play it again, as it has been a while, and I'd like to play the South (if I decide to end my golf hiatus next year). 

 

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I definitely want to get back to the loop and give it a try again.  

 

I really love the NLU crew.  They really blasted The Loop for being too hard and unfair, but thought Greywalls was good.  I think Greywalls is way more unfair and overdone vs the Loop.  

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I have to laugh when I read responses to questions about Michigan trips. They almost always end up with recommendations to go to Arcadia and Forest Dunes, then frequently Boyne.  I know many are chasing the top 100 course lists and have the money to spend on them.  But for the question by @blackbdmillsaps about Grand Rapids, yes definitely fly into GR and stay downtown.  There are 8-10 good-to-great golf courses within 20-30 minutes of downtown.  If you are willing to drive up to an hour or so, that number is probably 25-30 great choices for golf.  With GR as your home base there’s many good food choices and nightlife if that’s what your group would enjoy. 
 

West Michigan has so much great affordable golf but it flies under the radar nationally due to not having the “elite” level facilities. You can spend half as much for great golf in our neck of the woods versus peak season up north.  
 

@blackbdmillsaps - post questions if you want feedback about courses in the area.  

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23 hours ago, knickerbocker said:

They really blasted The Loop for being too hard and unfair, but thought Greywalls was good.  I think Greywalls is way more unfair and overdone vs the Loop

 They did go in on the Loop more than any other course but I also thought they were fairly critical of Greywalls. They seemed to suggest it ran a lot of balls into the same places and was quite penal in other spots. But the caveat was also that it was the last course on the trip so they were probably fried by the end of it. Also, I like Big Randy as a personality but his opinion on the golf courses means the least to me because (a) he is the weakest player and (b) doesn't really seem to be that "into" golf and doesn't really care what he shoots. Just my two cents. 

 

For what it is worth, I think that the Loop, as a concept, seems like it is probably worth playing regardless of whether it always "works." I do think Doak as an architect seems to have a "if you don't like you don't get it" kind of vibe and maybe you have to have that mentality if you are going to design remarkable golf courses. But ultimately, I have determined what I like in a golf course and what is "fun" to me, especially if I am doing a trip. And the Loop seems to have at least a few of those things (1) width (2) conditioning (3) memorable holes/design. The one thing I don't particularly like is getting my teeth kicked in, especially off the tee but also on the greens. 

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On 11/12/2021 at 4:02 PM, blackbdmillsaps said:

 They did go in on the Loop more than any other course but I also thought they were fairly critical of Greywalls. They seemed to suggest it ran a lot of balls into the same places and was quite penal in other spots. But the caveat was also that it was the last course on the trip so they were probably fried by the end of it. Also, I like Big Randy as a personality but his opinion on the golf courses means the least to me because (a) he is the weakest player and (b) doesn't really seem to be that "into" golf and doesn't really care what he shoots. Just my two cents. 

 

For what it is worth, I think that the Loop, as a concept, seems like it is probably worth playing regardless of whether it always "works." I do think Doak as an architect seems to have a "if you don't like you don't get it" kind of vibe and maybe you have to have that mentality if you are going to design remarkable golf courses. But ultimately, I have determined what I like in a golf course and what is "fun" to me, especially if I am doing a trip. And the Loop seems to have at least a few of those things (1) width (2) conditioning (3) memorable holes/design. The one thing I don't particularly like is getting my teeth kicked in, especially off the tee but also on the greens. 

 

I will provide this observation:

 

I run a 16 guy trip every year and we do different places in Northern Michigan.  Pretty much every year, one of the better handicap players win because better players struggle less on many Northern Michigan courses.  The year we went to Forest Dunes, it was the opposite.  The 12 - 20 handicaps did better due to playing the loop which I found very forgiving for those players. 

 

I think I shot 77 and 80 on the Loop routings as a 3 or 4 handicap at the time.

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28 minutes ago, knickerbocker said:

 

I will provide this observation:

 

I run a 16 guy trip every year and we do different places in Northern Michigan.  Pretty much every year, one of the better handicap players win because better players struggle less on many Northern Michigan courses.  The year we went to Forest Dunes, it was the opposite.  The 12 - 20 handicaps did better due to playing the loop which I found very forgiving for those players. 

 

I think I shot 77 and 80 on the Loop routings as a 3 or 4 handicap at the time.

 

I had a conversation with my 15 handicap buddy earlier this year after playing both Arcadia Bluffs courses. I was complaining about the south course being too difficult because my good shots weren't being rewarded, whereas I felt like they were on the Bluffs course (I'm a 4 cap). He had the total opposite opinion, saying he thought the south was easier because he could spray it all over the place and not lose a ball or have to hack out of deep rough on the side of a steep hill. I'm thinking this is very similar to what your group experienced at FD.

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On 11/12/2021 at 1:29 PM, dobesbsoon said:

I have to laugh when I read responses to questions about Michigan trips. They almost always end up with recommendations to go to Arcadia and Forest Dunes, then frequently Boyne.  I know many are chasing the top 100 course lists and have the money to spend on them.  But for the question by @blackbdmillsaps about Grand Rapids, yes definitely fly into GR and stay downtown.  There are 8-10 good-to-great golf courses within 20-30 minutes of downtown.  If you are willing to drive up to an hour or so, that number is probably 25-30 great choices for golf.  With GR as your home base there’s many good food choices and nightlife if that’s what your group would enjoy. 
 

West Michigan has so much great affordable golf but it flies under the radar nationally due to not having the “elite” level facilities. You can spend half as much for great golf in our neck of the woods versus peak season up north.  
 

@blackbdmillsaps - post questions if you want feedback about courses in the area.  

Which are the top courses in GR area? For an out of stater not able to get access to the privates. 

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On 12/11/2021 at 11:29 AM, okie21 said:

Which are the top courses in GR area? For an out of stater not able to get access to the privates. 

 

If you include the greater Grand Rapids Area and only pure public courses, this would be my rankings based on what I know:

 

A List (Must Plays):

Pilgrim's Run

American Dunes (haven't played it)

 

B List (Solid Tracks worth playing

Diamond Springs

The Mines

Thornapple

The Meadows

 

C List (Enjoyable Courses)

Kaufmann

Macatawa Legends (Might be going private)

Scott Lake

Cedar Chase

 

 

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Anyone playing today, tomorrow or Friday?  

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18 hours ago, knickerbocker said:

Anyone playing today, tomorrow or Friday?  

I played yesterday at Fox Hills. It was pretty squishy, but it was golf in December in Michigan (my first round in over 2 months). I played with a driver, a full set of irons, and one wedge, carrying my bag. That gave me the opportunity to hit driver off the deck twice, which I discovered that I'm pretty good at -- I even managed to pull off a shot where I needed to bend it around some bushes about 20 yards in front of me. It was one time where my ability to hit a 50 yard banana slice was helpful, and it was nice that it was intentional that time.

It was fun. I didn't keep score, but I hit it pretty well, other that a few tee shots early on, and made a few putts. It was just nice to be out there on a 55 degree day in mid-December.

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Ping G410 LST 9* (set to 7.5*), 45", Fujikura Ventus Black 6x
Ping G410 LST 14.5* (set to 13*) Fujikura Ventus Black 7x
Tour Edge CBX Iron-Wood 17* (Black Pearl) Fujikura Ventus HB Blue 9x or Tour Issue TaylorMade M2 Tour 18*, Fujikura Rombax P95x
Cobra King RF Forged MB - 4-PW, KBS C-Taper 120 Stiff or Scratch SB-1 3-4 & 6-PW Nippon Modus3 120x
Corey Paul 52*/Titleist Vokey Forged 58* K-Grind, Nippon Modus3 125 Blue Wedge shafts,  Titleist Vokey SM6 62* M-Grind DG S200
Byron Morgan long pipe neck B-17, Brushed Mystic finish, 34" or Byron Morgan long pipe neck beached 007x
 

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