Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club – Played May 2017
- Rankings: Golf Digest #57, Golf Digest Public #13, Golf Magazine Public #28
- Location: 14710 Northwood Highway, Arcadia, Michigan
- Year: 2000
- Architects: Warren Henderson & Rick Smith
- Course Access: Public
- Walking Rules: Carts & Caddies Available
Score Card Information:
- Championship: 7,300 yards, Par 72, 75.4 Rating/147 Slope
- Black: 6,702 yards, Par 72, 72.8 Rating/137 Slope
- White: 6,244 yards, Par 72, 70.3 Rating/129 Slope
- Red: 5,107 yards, Par 72, 70.1 Rating/121 Slope
The second round of the trip was highly anticipated for me personally. I have seen the pictures of this course like many of you. The setting on the bluffs above Lake Michigan is simply stunning.
Our day certainly didn’t disappoint. It was chilly, but clear. On the back nine we were treated to some of the wind that really gives the course its bite. We were pretty beat by the end of the day, but it was great experience with some truly world class scenery.
The course is built on 240 acres that used to be apple and cherry orchards and wooded areas. Many of the mounds and native areas were molded during the routing to give it the scale it has today. Since it opened many of the greens have been modified to help with pace of play. This would also mark my first encounter with these two architects. I am always interested to see new course designers.
The course features multiple guest rooms on site as well as cottages. Once the second course is completed it will be a true destination. It is remote, but the golf is awesome. I played the white tees and all yardages reflect that.
Hole 1 – 459 yards – Par 5
The first hole is a gentle start to your round. From my tees it was a short hole that could normally be reached in two. However, on a cold day it plays longer up the hill. The fairway is massive.
I liked this hole for some reason. You have options with the front flag. You can utilize the backstop or try to be spot on with distance. Again, the main hazard here is the swath of sand to the right.
This one is definitely reachable in two. The elevated tee gives your drive a boost and the fairways can be firm. You will want to avoid the left side of this one.
This short hole gives you plenty of options off the tee. Depending on wind direction it can be driveable. A safe play though is a long iron/hybrid off the tee for a wedge second shot.
You definitely won’t mind the wind at your back on this hole. If it’s a headwind then get ready for a battle. A good line is down the right edge of the tee boxes.
This is a difficult hole, but the length makes it manageable. It obviously plays uphill all the way so take more club. The big bunker in the front is not to be trifled with.
Due to the slope this hole plays longer than the yardage. Thankfully, there is plenty of fairway. Err on the right side of the hole.
A shortish hole on the card, the real distance is longer with the slope. The smart play is to favor the left side of the fairway to set up the best angle on the second.
The first shot here plays downhill, but the real challenge is the serious slope around the green. Everything slopes from back right to front left. If you get your ball rolling the wrong way it could go for a while!
This view evoked thoughts of Scotland. The massive dunes on each side were beautiful. The drive will get more distance from the elevated position.
The slope on this hole is unbelievable. Keep an eye on the slope in the following photos. It is way downhill off the tee as you can see.
At this point the course turned the scenery up to 11. The blue waters of Lake Michigan and the huge bunker down the left just scream golf perfection. Luckily, the tee shot has room and you don’t have to hit driver depending on the wind.
There is more room short of the green than it appears. If you get a good wind the shot is not that bad. Into the wind though and this shot can become quite stressful.
I love a good driveable hole. For me it isn’t possible, but for longer hitters this hole presents some options. A drive at the green must be precise, but if you want to attack with a wedge there is more room for a lay up.
While this may seem like an opportunity to get home in two, like many things here it will depend on the wind. The severe uphill already makes it play longer than the number. Any substantial wind will make this seem like it’s 550 yards. The further left you go the more carry you will need.
The golfer is helped on this hole by the downhill slope. Additionally, you should get the opposite wind direction from the previous hole. So one of them will be an advantage. Bust one here.
This hole is a nightmare for slicers. You cannot miss right. The slope and wind will make club selection difficult.
The last hole is a worthy finisher. We played it into the wind which made it much more difficult. You can see the outline of the fairway below. Anything on the short grass is the play.
Arcadia Bluffs is spectacular. It is very easy to get distracted by the sheer beauty of the place. Once you get past that the holes are super fun. The wind can create interesting shots and you will more than likely use all the clubs in your bag. The firm conditions give you plenty of options on short game shots and make you think all day. If the second course is anywhere near the original this will be a fantastic 36 hole spot.