Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill (Senator)

Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill (Senator) – Played May 2013

  • Rankings: None of the four lists
  • Location: 2600 Constitution Avenue, Prattville, Alabama
  • Year: 1999
  • Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Sr
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 7,654 yards, Par 72, 77.4 Rating/132 Slope
  • Purple: 6,941 yards, Par 72, 74.1 Rating/125 Slope
  • Orange: 6,410 yards, Par 72, 70.9 Rating/126 Slope (Men’s), 76.4 Rating/134 Slope (Women’s)
  • White: 5,831 yards, Par 72, 68.1 Rating/121 Slope (Men’s), 73.6 Rating/123 Slope (Women’s)
  • Teal: 5,137 yards, Par 72, 64.7 Rating/110 Slope (Men’s), 69.6 Rating/116 Slope (Women’s)

I want to again thank Brian for the pictures on this post.  Check out Brian’s other photos @virginiagolfguy on Instagram.

The second course we will tour is the Senator Course at Capitol Hill.  It’s at the same complex as the Judge, but couldn’t be more different.  The links style course has much less elevation change and water hazards.  It’s a great 36 hole day due to the polar opposite courses.  Let’s get into it!

Continue reading “Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill (Senator)”


Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill (Judge)

Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill (Judge) – Played May 2013

  • Rankings: None of the four lists
  • Location: 2600 Constitution Avenue, Prattville, Alabama
  • Year: 2000
  • Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Sr
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 7,813 yards, Par 72, 78.5 Rating/147 Slope
  • Purple: 7,082 yards, Par 72, 75.1 Rating/142 Slope
  • Orange: 6,517 yards, Par 72, 71.7 Rating/131 Slope (Men’s), 76.4 Rating/134 Slope (Women’s)
  • White: 5,910 yards, Par 72, 68.7 Rating/128 Slope (Men’s), 74.4 Rating/137 Slope (Women’s)
  • Teal: 4,951 yards, Par 72, 64.7 Rating/115 Slope (Men’s), 68.4 Rating/123 Slope (Women’s)

Before I start I want to give a special thanks for the pictures on this post to Brian who runs @virginiagolfguy on Instagram.  I didn’t have photos from my trip, but he stepped in on this one and helped out.  Thanks again Brian!

I went to the Trail in May of 2013 with a bunch of golf buddies.  It’s still one of the only actual buddies trips I’ve ever taken.  That’s just a fact of life for me as a lot of my golf buddies love the game, but don’t travel near as much for it.  Most of them do a few trips a year, but I plan out a bunch and we usually can’t make the timing work.  I’m also more into playing new courses a lot, but that’s part of the quest baby!  Alright, mini-rant over.

We played 36 per day over a few days and the heat really got to us.  I would say May is not the best time to go as the summer heat gets going early in Alabama.  I think the Trail is best suited to a spring or late fall trip.

So the first course we will take a look at is The Judge which is part of the Capitol Hill stop on the Trail.  It is one of the most popular sites and has two other courses in The Senator and The Legislator.  We’ll look at The Senator in a following post.  Located in Prattville, the site has garnered a lot of praise.  Let’s get into the tour.  All yardages are from the orange tees.


Continue reading “Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill (Judge)”

Forest Dunes Golf Club

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  Let’s get into the tour.

Continue reading “Forest Dunes Golf Club”

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa (The Bear)

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa (The Bear) – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #72
  • Location: 100 Grand Traverse Village Boulevard, Acme, Michigan
  • Year: 1984
  • Architect: Jack Nicklaus
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 7,078 yards, Par 72, 76.1 Rating/150 Slope
  • Blue: 6,601 yards, Par 72, 73.3 Rating/147 Slope
  • Blue/White: 6,347 yards, Par 72, 72.0 Rating/144 Slope
  • White: 6,122 yards, Par 72, 71.1 Rating/139 Slope
  • White/Yellow: 5,688 yards, Par 72, 66.2 Rating/134 Slope
  • Yellow: 5,281 yards, Par 72, 67.0 Rating/128 Slope

This was the sixth round of the trip and it was at this point that I was realizing I needed to get in better shape!  I was feeling it a little bit.  The weather was supposed to be bad, but I was the first one out and played in just about 3 hours to beat it.  Those are the best days!

Alright, a little bit of background.  Per the website the resort  is owned by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.  It opened in 1980 and features almost 600 rooms, suites, and condos.  It has ample meeting space dining options, shopping, and a spa.  I encourage you to check out the website for the resort to check out all the options.

The facility has three golf courses highlighted by The Bear.  It also has a golf academy on site featuring a Dave Pelz Short Game School.  The Bear is an apt name for the course because it is very difficult.  It is ranked on the toughest courses list for a reason.  I got a good chunk of the back nine in a stiff wind.  Believe me, it was no joke.  That is probably why the course hosted the Michigan Open for 28 years as well as a Champions Tour event in 1990. Continue reading “Grand Traverse Resort & Spa (The Bear)”

Boyne Highlands Resort (Heather)

Boyne Highlands Resort (Heather) – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #73
  • Location: 600 Highland Drive, Harbor Springs, Michigan
  • Year: 1968
  • Architect: Robert Trent Jones
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Brown: 7,143 yards, Par 72, 75.4 Rating/147 Slope
  • Purple: 6,647 yards, Par 72, 72.7 Rating/143 Slope
  • Orange: 6,207 yards, Par 72, 70.3 Rating/139 Slope
  • Green: 5,743 yards, Par 72, 68.3 Rating/130 Slope (Men’s), 73.9 Rating/137 Slope (Women’s)
  • Silver: 4,845 yards, Par 72, 64.0 Rating/120 Slope (Men’s), 68.6 Rating/123 Slope (Women’s)

Right down the road from where we stayed is the Boyne Highlands resort.  It is a beautiful resort that has four golf courses and ski slopes for the winter.  They have multiple activities such as zipline adventures and dogsledding.  The resort is really full service and has something for everyone.

The Heather course was the first course at the resort.  It is plenty long to challenge players, which is evidenced by the course hosting the Michigan Amateur three times.  It is also known to be friendly for women and seniors making it a versatile course for visitors.  I also learned that Boyne Golf owns multiple courses in the area including Bay Harbor Golf Club that we toured recently.  It is quite easy to make tee times for many of these courses with one phone call. Continue reading “Boyne Highlands Resort (Heather)”

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. Continue reading “Black Lake Golf Club”

Bay Harbor Golf Club (Links/Quarry)

Bay Harbor Golf Club (Links/Quarry) – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #65, Golf Magazine Public #49
  • Location: 5800 Coastal Ridge Drive, Petoskey, Michigan
  • Year: 1996
  • Architect: Arthur Hills
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 6,827 yards, Par 72, 73.0 Rating/145 Slope
  • Blue: 6,414 yards, Par 72, 71.2 Rating/141 Slope
  • Gold: 5,936 yards, Par 72, 69.8 Rating/132 Slope
  • White: 5,175 yards, Par 72, 66.2 Rating/119 Slope
  • Red: 4,319 yards, Par 72, 65.1 Rating/116 Slope

Next up on the trip was the course associated with our hotel.  It was a short drive, which was much appreciated from some of the earlier driving.  The facility has 27 holes that all have their own flair, but fit together well.  I was playing the Links/Quarry combination that makes the lists. Continue reading “Bay Harbor Golf Club (Links/Quarry)”