Playing Golf In Northern Michigan

Playing Golf In Northern Michigan
Playing golf in Northern Michigan. This is the first at “The Hills” at Boyne.

Playing Golf In Northern Michigan

I’ve spent this holiday week playing golf in Northern Michigan, revisiting an old favorite, and adding two new courses to my “collection.” At this point, I’ve played more than 200 different courses in Michigan.

Playing Golf In Northern Michigan
Indian River’s Sixth.

The Old Favorite is the Indian River Golf Club, in Indian River, Michigan. Indian River is a Wilfried Reed design dating to 1923. It’s a classic “Up North” Michigan design, with wide, tree-lined fairways, and a sense of isolation on nearly every hole.

In terms of design, it was my first “favorite” course.

Playing Golf In Northern Michigan
The first at Chestnut Valley

Chestnut Valley, near Harbor Springs, is a nice mix of parklands, woodlands and prairie holes. The course dates to 1994, and was designed by Larry Mancour.

Mancour also designed Dunmaglas near Traverse City.

The 13th at the Arthur Hills Course at Boyne

The third course I’ve played this week is the Arthur Hills Course at Boyne.

Of the Boyne courses, I’ve played, The Hills is neck-and-neck with The Robert Trent Jones-designed Heather for my favorite. It has, however, been a number of years since I played The Heather, and I’d need to play that again to be sure.

The Arthur Hills offers a terrific and imaginative mix of holes. Hills used extensive mounding, bunkers, water, elevation changes and greens configurations to give each hole a fresh look and a new challenge. In spite of the fact that I’m a fanatic about walking courses, and this is riding-only, I would love to play it a dozen more times.

Arthur Hills just might be the most prolific of Michigan golf course designers, credited for twenty seven courses in the Mitten State. Among those are Leslie Park, Stonebridge, Pheasant Run, Forest Akers West, Red Hawk, Crooked Tree, Golden Fox, Lakes of Taylor, Taylor Meadows and Lyon Oaks. Hills is a University of Michigan graduate who played on the golf team there.

Based on my experience playing Arthur Hills courses, I think he’s an under-appreciated golf course architect. The Hills is a terrific example of the architect at his full powers.

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1 thought on “Playing Golf In Northern Michigan”

  1. Leslie Park is a Larry Packard design that was re-worked by Arthur Hills. Among the great changes Art Hills made at Leslie was to make the bunkers flat sand with grass slopes. Easier for the 98% of golfers to play from and cheaper to maintain.

    If he had only installed an escalator between #13 and #14, would give him full authorship of Leslie!


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