Black Lake Golf Club

Black Lake Golf Club – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #69
  • Location: 2800 Maxon Road, Onaway, Michigan
  • Year: 1999
  • Architect: Rees Jones
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Gold: 7,035 yards, Par 72, 74.8 Rating/143 Slope
  • Blue: 6,736 yards, Par 72, 73.4 Rating/140 Slope
  • White: 6,391 yards, Par 72, 71.9 Rating/137 Slope
  • Silver: 5,823 yards, Par 72, 69.0 Rating/126 Slope
  • Green: 5,049 yards, Par 72, 70.2 Rating/131 Slope

I couldn’t find much on this course’s website, but it did make clear that the course is owned by the UAW.  That makes sense since Michigan is the home of American auto manufacturing.  The Black Lake Conference Center is also nearby and I think I accidentally drove up to the gate.  I asked for the golf course and was told I was in the wrong spot.  They were very nice, but I was wondering what they were keeping back there!  It is a little eerie because the site is in the middle of nowhere and it is very quiet.

The course was about an hour from Bay Harbor.  I was able to get out first and I played super fast.  You can’t ask for better than a Top 100 course and no one in front of you.

The sign below is your welcome committee.  It is easy to miss in the early morning light, trust me!

The logo on front of the carts makes the UAW connection clear.

The modest, but well appointed clubhouse is seen below.

All distances are from the white tees.

Hole 1 – 483 yards – Par 5

Below is a look at the tee markers.


The first hole is definitely a birdie opportunity.  The drive is straightforward and the only trouble is the pond in front of the green.  If you can maneuver a draw around it you should be in good shape.  The green has some mild undulation, but offers plenty of chances to make a putt.

Hole 2 – 387 yards – Par 4

The tee shot on this one is pretty low stress, but you must avoid the bunker on the left to have a good shot into the green.

Below is a look at the approach and the green.

Hole 3 – 362 yards – Par 4

This one bends to the left and is a little tight.  Due to the length you don’t have to take driver.  It is hard to play a fade on this hole with the trees lining the right side.

The approach is a green light with no trouble in front of the green.  Avoid the bunker on the left and you are on your way.

Hole 4 – 424 yards – Par 4

The distance cranks up a notch on this hole.  Consequently, the fairway widens to give a little break.  The fairway angles uphill a bit so a long drive will need to have a lot of carry.

The green is elevated and guarded by some deep bunkering in the front and on the left.

The putting surface has some mild internal contouring as you can see below.

Hole 5 – 197 yards – Par 3

It’s pretty obvious that the danger here is the sand all down the right side.  There is a small bailout to the left.  If you can block out the sand it is not too difficult of a hole.

A closer look at the green is below.

Hole 6 – 335 yards – Par 4

They tried to get me wet!  Honest mistake as I was flying around at a quicker pace than they were expecting.  This is a short hole, but with my length it didn’t make sense to go for it.  For me the best play is a 3-iron to the fairway.

The green is raised a lot around the surface as you can see by how far below the green the bunker sits.  You don’t want to be long here.

Hole 7 – 386 yards – Par 4

This one doesn’t fit my eye that always sees a draw, but that doesn’t mean it’s an ugly hole.  The slight bend to the right is evident.  Additionally, the bunkers are lurking for anyone who tries to cut off too much.

Below is the view of the approach and the putting surface.

Hole 8 – 146 yards – Par 3

This is a fun hole with this pin position.  When the flag is to the right of the bunker it takes a bit of the excitement out of the shot.  It looks downhill, but I found that it played closer to the actual yardage.

The green has some serious slope compared to what we have seen so far.  You will have to judge the break precisely here.

Hole 9 – 533 yards – Par 5

Just a long, straightaway hole here.  Let her rip.

The third shot plays slightly uphill to the green.  The only trouble is the bunkers on either side.

The green is mostly flat as seen below.

Hole 10 – 396 yards – Par 4

The back nine starts out with a mid-length par 4.  Due to the trees you can’t get too wayward here.  The bunker up the right is in play.

The green is nicely framed by the two bunkers and is open in front.  Bunker shots will be difficult because they don’t sit right next to the green.

Hole 11 – 317 yards – Par 4

A hazard makes this a forced carry, but it’s a short one.  I took 3-iron here to set up a wedge to the green.  Aim right at the bunker.

There’s not much to the approach shot.

The green is seen below.

Hole 12 – 136 yards – Par 3

This hole plays slightly uphill.  The bunkers sit well below the green that doesn’t have much room behind.  Distance control is key.

Hole 13 – 336 yards – Par 4

Bending to the left, this hole calls for a draw.  At this yardage you can hit one through the fairway so be sure to keep it up the left side.

The second shot is tough due to the partially obscured green.

Hole 14 – 163 yards – Par 3

I liked the look of this hole because of the bunkering.  It reminded me slightly of the Pinehurst area bunkering just on a smaller scale.  Other than that there isn’t much strategy, just get it on the green.

Hole 15 – 481 yards – Par 5

This is an interesting hole that doesn’t seem to play as short as the yardage would suggest.  It does slope downhill, but you need to have the ball working left to get the most out of your tee shot.  As you round the corner to the left there is a large hazard all the way to the green.

Here is a closer look at the hazard guarding the green.

Below is a look at the small green.  If you look close you’ll see your author stuck one in there.

Hole 16 – 411 yards – Par 4

Judging by the sign below the nines were flipped at some point.  I liked the sentiment and recognition of the hard work it took to make the course.

Once you finish with the sign you will face a difficult hole.  The fairway extends to a crest and then plunges over the hill bending to the right.

Below is the approach.  Watch out for the deep bunkers on the left.

A view of the green from the trees.

Hole 17 – 358 yards – Par 4

This a pretty hole, but danger lurks to the left.  There is a hazard all along the right side that will grab anything leaked right.

The green has two distinct tiers.  Anything short of this flag will come back to the front.

Below is a look back towards the tee to show the hazard.

Hole 18 – 540 yards – Par 5

No doubt about this one, it will most likely take you three shots to get home.  It is long in yardage, but also uphill the whole way back to the clubhouse.

I will say this for Black Lake, the value is really good.  I paid $50 plus tax and got a really solid golf course.  That being said I’m not sure of a Top 100 ranking.  It was a good track for sure, but it didn’t wow me that much.  If you’re in the area give it a play because I guarantee you will get your money’s worth.

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