Polhlcat Golf Course Review
Pohlcat Golf Course
Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Teachers’ Comments: A nicely designed, not-quite-Up-North Michigan course.
Polhcat is the creation of former PGA TOUR Pro and Mount Pleasant native Dan Pohl. Pohl won twice on tour and finished in a tie with Craig Stadler for first at the Masters in 1982 before ultimately taking second in a playoff. Pohl played on the 1987 Ryder Cup and won the Vardon Trophy in 1987. He is a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
Pohl’s resume is relevant because as the architect, he tried to create a championship course reminiscent of the ones he played on Tour. On the surface, Pohlcat really isn’t like any of the Tour courses I have played (Colonial, Detroit Golf Club, Torrey Pines); it is much more of a woodsy, “Up North Michigan” design. It does, however, manage to meet the general Tour standard of “tough, but fair.”
Fair, in my mind means that there are evident, and multiple paths from tee to green. Tough means that, even if the paths are evident, it is not necessarily easy to execute the plan.
Pohlcat has a nice variety of holes that range from tight and tree-lined to wide open prairie. Some of the more interesting play over the 100 foot wide Chippewa River.
Water — either from the river or ponds — potentially comes into play on twelve holes. There are seven doglegs left and five that bend right. Bunkers on nearly every hole are well-positioned to threaten the obvious line of attack.
From the tips, Pohlcat stretches to 6, 954 yards and plays to a 74.2/140. That’s pretty difficult. The middle tees measure 6, 258 yards and play to a 71.1/133. Forward of that are a set of tees at 5, 769 at 69.0/127.
Play it forward.
My favorite hole was the par 4 fourth, which has an interesting dual fairway (and dual sets of tees). From the right hand tees, if you can skirt the tree line to the right, the hole becomes a driveable par four. However, the safer play (particularly for slicers) is to play wider to the left. That choice turns the hole into a true par four.
Another great hole was the opener. The fairway on this 529 yard par five wraps around a pond and bunker on the left, then slides past another pond on the right side of the green.
From the tee, a golfer needs to decide how much to bite off. A long hitter could potentially fly the bunker for a potential eagle. The other option is to play it safe away from the pond, with the consequent lengthening of the hole. A pond to the right of the green can catch wayward approach shots.
It’s a nice way to open a round — a par five with a big fairway and some interesting decisions right from the beginning.
Conditions on the day I played Pohlcat were very good. Greens were in great shape, as were the fairways and tees. A couple of fairways on the back nine were soft; I think they probably retain a lot of water in wetter weather. The course was also a bit shaggy along the edges. I felt as though they could do a little limb trimming and brush clearing.
I really enjoyed my round at Pohlcat, and would like to play again, but it’s a long days’ drive from GolfBlogger World Headquarters in Ann Arbor. However, I think that a great two day golf trip would be a round at Pohlcat, an overnight stay at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, followed by a round at Bucks Run (read the Bucks Run Golf Course Review at the link)
The Pohlcat Golf Course Review was first published on January 9, 2020 from notes and photos taken on a round played in the summer of 2019.
A photo tour of Pohlcat follows: