Revisiting Black Lake

Revisiting Black Lake: ninth hole
The par 5 ninth at Black Lake

Revisiting Black Lake

This past week, I decided to revisit Black Lake in Onaway. My round there confirmed my belief that it is one of the ten best public courses in Michigan. (You can read my full Black Lake Review at the link.)

I teed off at 4 p.m., taking advantage of the $55 twilight rate. Since it is light in July until well after 9 p.m., I had plenty of time.

Revisiting Black Lake sixth hole
The sixth at Black Lake

Every hole on the Rees Jones design is a challenge, but Black Lake doesn’t beat you up. The holes reward a well-placed tee shot, but fairways generally are wide enough to accommodate a miscue.

Many of the tee shots are visually intimidating, but turn out not to be nearly as long as your eye perceives. This short hitter had no problem clearing the gaps when playing from the correct tees.

Black Lake is a really beautiful course. Every hole is lined by majestic trees, as the course plays over and around hills, dunes, bogs and ponds. It’s a prime example of “Up North” Michigan golf.

Revisiting Black Lake eighteenth hole
The eighteenth

Conditions on the day I played were very good. As is usual for a course with so many trees, there are spots where the constant shade makes it difficult to grow grass, but were mostly on the fringes.

Black Lake is the United Auto Workers’ course, but no affiliation is needed to play. There are long standing rumors that non union cars are not allowed on the property, but that is not true. No one checked my Subaru.

Onaway is a bit out of the way, so the course really doesn’t get the attention it deserves. If you are in the Gaylord Golf mecca area, however, or in Indian River or Cheboygan or Petosky, it is well worth the short drive.

Indeed, for the price, it is one of the best golf bargains in all of Michigan.

Highly recommended.

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2 thoughts on “Revisiting Black Lake”

  1. You may park a non UAW car at the golf course club houseā€¦but if you tried to check in the back your non UAW car will not go any further than the gate, you will be redirected to a parking lot outside the premises. So that is not a rumor.

    • That’s correct. I stayed there some years back and they rejected my Oldsmobile for not having a high enough percentage of union made parts. An Olds! But I was trying to disabuse the long standing rumor that golfers are not allowed to park in the clubhouse lot. I’ve heard that more than once.


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