The Mackinaw Club Golf Course Review
The Mackinaw Club
Mackinaw City, Michigan
Teachers’ Comments: Has potential. Needs work.
The Mackinaw Club is a Northern Michigan golf course that doesn’t really feel like an “Up North” course. It is a marsh, field and forest course on flat terrain that frankly could be located anywhere in the state.
For all its geographic ambiguity, however, The Mackinaw Club is a fun design. With 310 acres to work with, architect Jerry Matthews took advantage of the opportunity to provide a good deal of variety.
Nine holes are routed through woods; eight are mostly open; one par three is mostly over marsh. Eight of the holes bring water of one kind or another into play. I counted three doglegs left and three right.
Overall, it’s a relatively tight course. Players who can hit a fairway — even if they are not long off the tee — will score well at Mackinaw Club.
The property the course sits on has an interesting history. An orchard in the early 1900s, it was used as an emergency landing strip for B-25s practicing their runs during WWII. It later was Mackinaw City’s airport, and then a snowmobile racing track. The course was constructed in 1997.
From the back tees, Mackinaw Club tops out at 6, 807 yards and plays to a 71.4/124. The middle tees are at 6, 313 yards and a 68.9/121. At 5, 942 yards, the forward tees play to a 67.6/117.
Mackinaw is not long, and if a bogey golfer can hit the ball straight off the tee, it can be a very good day indeed.
My favorite hole at Mackinaw Club was the 409 yard par four ninth. This open hole is a dogleg right, with a pond and a bunker on the interior angle. Most of the course is tight, so this open, bombs-away shot was welcome. The front of the green is open, so this is a good birdie hole.
Another pair of interesting holes were the par 4 first and tenth. They are nearly identical in design.
Running parallel, both are slight doglegs left. The holes begin with an open tee shot, then narrow to the green, with the approach shots carrying over a marshy creek.
The biggest difference between the two holes is that the tenth has a tree on a direct line to the fairway.
Conditions on the day I played were not good. There were damaged greens, bare fairways, and large pools of standing water in several places.
Overall, the Mackinaw Club golf course felt a bit shabby.
The price, however, was below what you would expect to pay for a Northern Michigan course. I paid $35 to walk.
The Mackinaw Club Golf Course Review was first published December 28, 2020 from notes and photos taken on a round played July 22, 2020.
A Mackinaw Golf Club course tour follows:
The first at The mackinaw Club is a 406 yard par 4. A view from the fairway of the Mackinaw Club’s first The second at Mackinaw Club is a 508 yard par 5. The third at Mackinaw Club is a 552 yard par 5. Four at Mackinaw Club is a 203 yard par 3. The fifth at Mackinaw Club is a 370 yard par 4. The Sixth at Mackinaw Club is a 368 yard par 4. Mackinaw Club’s seventh is a 420 yard par 4. The eighth at Mackinaw Club is a 223 yard par 3. Nine at Mackinaw Club is a 409 yard par 4 The tenth at Mackinaw Club is a 401 yard par 4. A view from the fairway on Mackinaw Club’s tenth Mackinaw Club’s eleventh is a 511 yard par 5. The twelfth at Mackinaw Club is a 224 yard par 3 Thirteen at Mackinaw Club is a 381 yard par 4. Fourteen at Mackinaw Club is a 345 yard par 4. Fifteen at Mackinaw Club is a 515 yard par 5 Sixteen at Mackinaw Club is a 185 yard par 3. Eighteen at Mackinaw Club is a 381 yard par 4.