Forest Dunes Golf Club – Played May 2017
- Rankings: Golf Magazine #72, Golf Digest Public #23, Golf Magazine Public #33
- Location: 6376 Forest Dunes Drive, Roscommon, Michigan
- Year: 2002
- Architects: Tom Weiskopf
- Course Access: Public
- Walking Rules: Carts & Caddies Available
Score Card Information:
- I: 7,116 yards, Par 72, 75.2 Rating/146 Slope
- II: 6,550 yards, Par 72, 72.4 Rating/139 Slope
- Combo II/III: 6,330 yards, Par 72, 71.3 Rating/135 Slope
- III: 5,888 yards, Par 72, 69.2 Rating/127 Slope (Men’s), 74.8 Rating/143 Slope (Women’s)
- IV: 4,993 yards, Par 72, 69.6 Rating/136 Slope
The last stop on my Michigan golf itinerary was the well-respected Forest Dunes. The drive in was quite interesting. I had vaguely remembered reading about the way your GPS would take you in and that there was an alternate route. In my early morning mindset I forgot this information. Which lead me to this…
About six miles out from the course the paved roads stopped. The dirt road was solid and very wide and looked like it was set up for logging trucks or something similar. I kept on going as my tee time was approaching. A few turns the GPS recommended were a little sketchy and I passed. Eventually I made it back to paved road and the course. So let that be a lesson to anyone headed to Forest Dunes, give the shop a call if you want to stay on the asphalt.
I do have some history to share about the course. The course was built on glacial deposits within the Huron National Forest. It was originally completed in 1999, but the lenders ended up foreclosing on it before it ever opened. Two years passed until one of the original investors, The Detroit Carpenters Pension Trust Fund, stepped in to save it. There was plenty of work to do as the course was overgrown after all that time. Eventually the restoration was finished and the course opened with 56 members. It has been described as a combination of Augusta National and Pine Valley.
There are also other activities at the resort along with wonderful accommodations. I recommend checking out all the details at forestdunesgolf.com. Let’s get into the tour.
The sign at the front entrance is large and welcoming.
Hole 1 – 375 yards – Par 4 – Eagle’s Perch
So out to the side of every tee box is a post with the Roman numeral of your tee and then a pine cone shaped marker is on the tee. I thought this was a unique touch and made it easy to recognize your teeing ground without having to guess.
This hole bends slightly to the left. With a draw you can wrap your drive around the trees and be in great position.
The name of this hole is apropos. The green is sitting up and pretty flat. You will want to avoid the bunkers, but the green is quite large so you should be able to hit it in regulation.
This one flips you around from 2 and bends to the right. You will be blocked out if you push your drive to the right. Fairway bunkers await up the left side.
The landing area is very wide here and presents a downhill slope to get more out of your drive. Wail away from this tee.
I had mixed feelings about this hole due to the tree in the middle. I’ve never been a huge fan of trouble in the middle of a fairway. Oh well, it’s still there. You must account for the tree and fairway bunkers on your tee shot.
A shorter par five here and you can see the trees that give the hole its name. A draw around the trees will get the most distance.
The shot is fairly open, but if you hit your driver straight you may run out of room and run into the trees. The further right you go is better, preferably with a fade. The bunker is in play.
We are fully out of the trees on the ninth and your new challenge is the water. The setting here in front of the clubhouse is nice, but when the wind whips this can be a tough shot.
The name of this hole is fitting. On this one more than any of the others I wished I had a caddie. You can go left or right off the tee, the choice is yours.
You can see the Pine Valley inspiration on this hole with the bunkering. The green is quite large though so the shot is not overly difficult.
I like the visual challenge on this hole. The landing area is more forgiving than it appears and the hole is only tight for a short distance. A draw works best.
There isn’t much to this tee shot, especially at this distance. You can certainly go with less than driver and have a short approach.
There is room here to drive, but water will come into play up the left side. The shorter precise drive may be the best option here.
This will be a three shot hole for many, which gives you options on the tee shot. There is plenty of room for driver if you want it.
Plenty of sand to traverse here and the name is an obvious homage to Pine Valley. The challenge is certainly there, but with a large green good scores can be had. Focus on a solid strike and you should find a par.
Weiskopf loves a short par 4. I agree with him. There is plenty of sand on this hole as well as options. You can lay back for a full shot, go for it, or hit driver like I did to leave myself with a pitch.
The last is definitely a chance to get a shot back. Avoid the fairway bunkers and you will have a shot at getting home in two.
I can’t say enough about Forest Dunes. It was one of my favorites from the trip. It was probably the best conditioned course of all of them. While I was freezing at first I still had a great time. I can’t think of a much better endorsement for a golf course!