Lake Doster Golf Course Review

The sixteenth at Lake Doster is a 409 yard par 4.
The sixteenth at Lake Doster is a 409 yard par 4.


Lake Doster Golf Course Review

Lake Doster Golf Course
Plainwell, Michigan
Grade: C+
Teacher’s Comments: A very pleasant course.

Lake Doster Golf Course is a fun layout, with lots of interesting and scenic holes. I scored well, but never felt as though the course was easy.

Technically speaking, Lake Doster is a residential course, but it didn’t really feel like one. While many of the holes play past people’s backyards, the homes are set far enough back that I generally forgot they were there. The homes that you can see are also less ostentatious than on most development courses. A few are downright humble. The entire vibe made me wonder if some of the homes existed before the course was built, and the architect just routed around them.

Lake Doster has a nice mix of wooded and open holes. Fairways are wide, and elevation changes come frequently into play. The first, for example, offers a wide, steeply downhill tee shot, then rises to the green. The second, a dogleg right, starts at an elevated tee and requires a carry over a ravine (although the ravine is grassed in and playable) to a landing area at the same elevation. From the corner, it dips steeply downward to the green.

The third at Lake Doster is a 10 yard par 3.
The third at Lake Doster is a 100 yard par 3.

The third is Lake Doster’s “signature hole” — a steeply downhill 100 yard par three. The green is wide and narrow,  surrounded on three sides by water, and protected by three traps. Treacherous, but fair, since most players will have a wedge in hand. I hit the green with a 52 degree wedge. The course’s logo incorporates the design of the green complex on thi shole.

And on it goes, uphill and down, turning left and right. Four of the holes at Lake Doster bend right; four bend left. Aside from the par threes, just three are really straight shots — and those involve elevation changes. There really is quite a lot of variety here.

The elevations at Lake Doster are not insurmountable to the walker though. I worked up a sweat pushing my cart around, but I’ve navigated far, far worse. Casual walkers, however, may want to take a cart.

From the tips, Lake Doster stretches to 6, 540 yards and plays to a 72.7/134.  The middles tees are at 6, 112 and play to 70.7/127.

A view of the green on the par 4 18th.
A view of the green on the par 4 18th.

My favorite hole at Lake Doster was the par 4 eighteenth (which was actually the ninth hole I played, since I started on the back). A dogleg right measuring 405 yards, it heads uphill to the turn, and then curves back down to the green. A straight tee shot through a relatively narrow opening in the trees should kick off the high point and leave a golfer with a good look and a good distance to the green.

Conditions on the day I played were adequate. There was some damage to greens, and the place seemed somewhat shaggy. In places, the fairways were unevenly covered.

I played with a local who said that Lake Doster had been in some financial difficulty in the recent past, but that after a refinancing, the owners were putting more money into course upkeep. If they do so, this will be an excellent place to play.

Lake Doster is not a course I would go out of my way to play, but if I lived in the area

Lake Doster Golf Course is located in Plainwell, just north of Kalamazoo.

The Lake Doster Golf Course review was first published July 8, 2016, from notes taken during a trip in May 2016.

More photos of Lake Doster Golf Course follow:


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