Teacher’s Comments: Elevation changes and lots of doglegs make this an interesting course.
Dating to 1921, Chemung Hills is a former private country club turned public facility. A friend who has an endless knowledge of Michigan golf has told me that the 1921 date is for the original nine, and that Chemung Hills was later expanded to 18 and rerouted.
Legend has it that Walter Hagen played there.
I found Chemung Hills to be a very interesting and tough course. As the name suggests, there are lots of elevation changes, some of which require as much as two clubs difference. Water comes into play on ten of the holes. Fifteen of the holes have turns and doglegs of varying degrees; a couple are severe, but must have just enough bend to require thought about proper ball placement for a shot into the green. About half the holes play through wooded areas that will punish the wayward shot.
In all, it is a course that requires many interesting decisions.
From the back tees, the course measures 6,438 and plays to a 73.2/132. The mens’ forward tees are at 6,197 and play to a 71.3/129. It is a relatively short course, but the terrain and design more than make up for that.
One nice feature of Chemung Hills is that—unlike many old school courses—the holes do not run in tightly packed, parallel, back-and-forth fashion. While it is not as spacious as an “Up North Michigan” course, the design does allow play with a minimum of distractions from other golfers.
Conditions on the day I visited were good, but not great. Greens were in good shape, but the fairways needed some work.
My favorite hole was the 290 yard par 4 eighth (above). It is a about a 160 degree angle dogleg left that plays about one extra club uphill to a green surrounded by bunkers. The entire hole is nicely framed by trees. A good tee shot needs to be wide enough to clear the trees at the inside corner, but no so wide that you add too much extra length. A long iron uphill will not be able to hold the smallish green.
I enjoyed Chemung Hills and look forward to returning.