Michaywe Pines Golf Course Review

Michaywe Pines Golf Course Review
The eighteenth at Michaywe Pines is a 357 yard par 4.

Michaywe Pines Golf Course Review

Michaywe Pines Golf Course
Grade: A-
Teacher’s Comments: A pleasant walk in the park.

Michaywe Pines Golf Course is part of a four-season Northern Michigan recreational and residential community near Gaylord. Michaywe includes more than nine hundred homes, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa, sauna, tennis courts, a lake beach and beach house house, groomed cross country ski trails, nature areas and a restaurant, Inn The Woods.

The Pines is a parklands style course with fairways lined by the eponymous pines. Unlike many Northern Michigan courses, Michaywe Pines has very gentle terrain, and easily walkable. In fact, the course has a caddy program — something rarely seen these days. Call ahead to check on availability.

Michaywe Pines consists of two loops, with each nine beginning at the clubhouse and heading outward for four or five holes before returning. While some of the holes are parallel to each other, these always are  headed in opposite directions, and usually are substantially separated.

Architect Donald Childs’ 1973 design offers a lot of shot variety. Just two holes (other than the par threes) offer straight lines from tee to green. The remainder curve left or right; three present enough bend to be true doglegs. All of the greens are open in front, inviting players to try an easy running approach. However, bunkers usually located toward the front left and right mean that the tee shot needs to be well placed to take advantage of the opening. Michawye’s fairways are on the generous side, but fairway bunkers are well situated to catch the unwary.

The eighth at Michaywe Pines is a 412 yard par 4.

As Michaywe Pines is a development course, vacation cottages are visible along many holes. However, the fairways are wide enough, and intervening trees thick enough that my mind was at ease as I teed off. There was no chance of  ever landing in someone’s yard.

Visually, Michaywe Pines is pretty.  While it lacks the stunning vistas and drama of many other Northern Michigan golf courses,  Michaywe Pines has its own charms. Michigan’s state motto comes to mind: Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice: If You Seek A Pleasant Peninsula, Look Around.  With its tree-lined fairways, well-tended grounds (even under the trees), and wide green expanses, Michaywe’s motto should be something like Si Quaeris Hortulus Amoenam Circumspice: If You Seek A Pleasant Golf Course, Look Around. (Ok. My Latin is bad. Hortulus is a pleasure garden or park. I think.).

From the back tees, Michaywe stretches to 7, 040 yards and plays at a 74.2/136. The middle tees are at 6, 078 and play at a 69.9/127. I played the middle tees and had a great time.

The seventeenth at Michaywe Pines is a 535 yard par 5.

My favorite hole was the par 5 seventeenth. Measuring 535 from the tips and 485 from the middle, the hole curves ever so gracefully to the right and slightly downhill.  At the bottom, the fairway is interrupted by a creek and marshy area. Past this is another ten yards of fairway and the green. Complicating the calculations, fairway bunkers are perfectly positioned to catch drives on the outside curve. A good drive needs to be wide enough to avoid being stymied by the trees right while staying out of the bunkers left. The second shot also needs to be well-considered. For the big hitters: do you go for it and risk falling short in the marsh? For shorter hitters (like this Golf Blogger): how do I set up a well-positioned approach shot that avoids both the marsh in front and the bunkers on either side of the green. The distances are such that an average ball striker just might need to give up on the idea of reaching the green in regulation and add an extra lay-up. I sometimes compare that sort of thinking to the football coach who calls a sideways play on third down to put the kicker on the other hash mark.

Conditions on the day I played were terrific. Michaywe takes good care of the place. I started the round in the rain, but the Michaywe Pines drained well.

I would love to play Michaywe Pines again. Northern Michigan has more dramatic courses, and more challenging courses, but few, I think, that are as relaxing and pleasant. Michaywe Pines’ walking friendly layout and the existence of a caddy program give it extra points toward the final grade. If you are in the area, this member of the Gaylord Golf Mecca deserves your business. And be sure to arrange for your foursome to get caddies.

The Michaywe Pines Golf Course Review was first published September 20, 2017 from a round played in August 2017. See the list of all of GolfBlogger’s Michigan Golf Course Reviews.

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