The Grande Golf Course Review
The Grande Golf Course
Teacher’s Comments: A terrific design. One of my favorite courses. Good enough to be in the conversation for one of Michigan’s Top Ten Public.
A lot of courses in the lower third of the state claim to offer a Northern Michigan golfing experience without the the three hour drive. The Grande, in Jackson, is one of the few that actually delivers. As such, it’s one of my favorite places to play, particularly in the fall, when the view of the colors is amazing, and the cool air makes walking this rugged course a pleasure.
Built on a spectacular piece of property in 2001, this Ray Hearn design has all of the hallmarks of Up North golf: tree-lined, isolated holes; spacious fairways; interesting elevation changes; marsh and the occasional prairie. In fact, if you were to drop this course adjacent to one of the Boyne properties, it would neatly fit in as their eleventh course.
Hearn’s design at The Grande is creative. Every hole presents interesting problems — ones I haven’t solved in many plays.
One of my favorite holes — the par five eleventh — has a fairway set at a nearly ninety degree angle to the tee box. The shortest distance over the marsh leaves a demoralizingly long second and third shot to the green. But every time you try to shorten that distance, it takes on more and more of the marsh.
Another favorite, the thirteenth, has a high-and-low fairway split by a five large bunkers. Both will get you to the green. The green, however, is also two tiered. The best route to the green has a lot do do with the day’s pin position. It’s worth checking before teeing off.
The par five fifth has a green with three plateaus; it’s a redan, really. The sixth wraps around a marsh, and has a bunker thirty yards short of a large, elevated and sloping green.
There are so many good holes at The Grande that I have a hard time choosing a favorite.
One neat characteristic of the course are tee boxes that — rather than simply varying the distance — actually change the nature of the hole. On the eleventh, for example, the back boxes require a huge carry to the narrow landing of a fairway at a right angle to the green. Further up, however, the carry is not only shorter; the angle provides more room for a roll out. The closest tees delete the marsh altogether and offer a relatively straight shot from tee to green.
On the par three twelfth, the tees are on a natural ridge circling around the green. As the distance from tee to green gets shorter, more of the approaching fairway comes into view, and less of the marsh threatens.
The trick appears again on the fifteenth, and on others throughout the course. Changing tees not only changes distance at The Grande; it changes the course.
From the tips, The Grande stretches out to 7, 157 yards, where it plays to a 74.3/137. The middle tees are in at 5, 911 and play to a 68.3/121. In all, there are six sets of tees
- 7, 157 (74.3/137)
- 6, 838 (73.1/136)
- 6, 443 (70.6/132)
- 5, 911 (68.3/136)
- 5, 515 (72.0/133)
- 4, 785 (67.8/118).
Conditions on the days I have played (and I have played numerous times) have always been good. It’s not country club or resort course perfect, but it certainly has been a step above most munis and daily fee courses.
I’ll also note that The Grande is a terrific value. Eighteen holes in the summer currently is $62 on the weekend; $52 weekdays.
The Grande Golf Course Review was first published on GolfBlogger.Com on July 27, 2020 from numerous playings over the years. I was shocked when I realized not terribly long ago that I had not yet added to my reviews.
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A photo tour of The Grande Golf Course follows: