The Monument Golf Course Review
Boyne Falls, Michigan
Teachers’ Comments: Beautiful, Challenging and Fun
The Monument at Boyne Mountain resort is Alpine’s very pretty, but sharp-tongued sister. Cross her with a careless move and you will quickly pay the price.
My bet is on The Monument remaining a spinster throughout her days. Suitors will visit, but ultimately none will want to marry her. They will, however, return from time to time “just to see how she’s doing,” and to assess whether they have the skill to match wits with her again.
A park-and-woodlands style course, the Monument at Boyne Mountain has all of the traditional Northern Michigan course features: towering trees, water, marsh, prairie grasses and dramatic elevation changes. From the first tee, with its tee at the top of a ski mountain, you know you are in for a special round.
It’s tough, though. The Monument has some of the tightest fairways I’ve seen in Northern Michigan — and some of the most savage greens, as well. If you’re going to score well at The Monument, you’ll not only need to bring your “A” game, you’ll need to bring your thinking cap.
I enjoy a challenge, so I enjoyed my round at The Monument. While it’s not my favorite of the Boyne Courses, I would definitely like to give it another try — this time, hopefully, with my “A” game rather than my “C.”
The Monument was designed by former University of Michigan golf coach Bill Newcomb. Newcomb also designed Boyne Mountain’s sister course, The Alpine, as well as Boyne Highlands’ Moor and Donald Ross courses. I’ve generally found Newcomb’s numerous Michigan designs to be player friendly; the Monument is demanding.
From the tips, The Monument extends to 6, 964 yards and plays to a 73.9/141. The middle (Orange) tees are in at 6, 104 yards and a 69.8/130. In all, there are six sets of tees ranging from 6, 946 to 4, 879.
Interestingly, the tees at the Boyne courses are in non-traditional colors: Brown (tips), purple, orange, blue, green and silver. The idea is for players to look at the card and correctly assess which tees they should be playing according to the yardage, rather than just going to their familiar blue or white tees.
I like to play the tees closest to 6, 000 yards. At the Monument, that was all I could handle, and more. I think on a replay, I’d move up one more tee, for a little more enjoyment.
The Monument — as befitting its name — dedicates its holes to significant figures in golf (and in particular Michigan golf) in tribute. Among those honored with holes are Byron Nelson, Peggy Kirk Bell, Paul Runyan, Kathy Whitworth, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones and Sam Snead.
Honored golfers with Michigan connections include Walter Hagen (who was pro at Oakland Hills and spent his latter years in Traverse City); Jim Flick (who was an instructor at Boyne); Chick Harbert (who won the 1954 PGA and was the pro at Meadowbrook); JP McCarthy (a Detroit radio legend), Glen Johnson (Michigan Golf Hall of Famer with five Michigan Am titles), Chuck Kocsis (Michigan Golf Hall of Famer and perhaps the state’s greatest amateur), and Everett Kircher, the visionary who created the Boyne Resorts.
My favorite hole was the 423 yard par four sixteenth. It’s named after Boyne founder Everett Kircher. From an elevated tee, it plays downhill and then back up to the green. In the middle of the fairway is a grassy mound, surrounded by sand. That mound, it is said, covers a Studebaker that was found on the property. Boyne founder Everett Kircher’s father was a Studebaker dealer.
What makes this hole so interesting is the three options off the tee: left, right, or straight over the mound.
The fairway to the right is the safe play off the tee. It will, however, leave a longer second into the green that may need to carry a couple of greenside bunkers.
The fairway to the left offers both a shorter approach and a better angle. It’s a tight tee shot however. The Studebaker bunker and mound threaten the right side, and bunkers to the left pinch the fairway considerably.
Challenging the Studebaker offers both the shortest and most direct angle to the green. Fall just a yard or two short of clearing the bunker — as I did — and a bogey likely is the best you can hope for.
Another neat hole was the par four eighth. From the tee, it looks innocent enough. There’s a flight path through an opening in the trees, but then it seemingly opens up for the landing.
Just out of sight on the eighth is a massive bunker that pinches the fairway to the left. What at first glance looks like a bombs away hole is in fact one that demands two precise shots.
You can see the bunker in the photo below, taken from a mound behind the green.
As with many Michigan courses, the two nines have different characters. The front nine at Monument is more hilly, and tight. But just when you think you can’t take any more, it opens up, gets a little flatter and much more friendly.
The front nine offers some spectacular and thrilling shots. The first drops dizzyingly downhill from the top of a ski mountain. Similar shots are found on the fifth, sixth and seventh.
The round ends on a par four with an island green, offering players one last shot at glory. If my memory is correct, all of the Boyne courses end with water in play.
Conditions on the day I played were resort quality. A sudden heatwave — unusual for Northern Michigan — had turned some patches brown, but that’s to be expected and would be remedied with the next watering or rain. Every green was smooth and running fast.
A word of advice: If you’re on a golf vacation to the Boyne properties, ease your way into The Monument.
The Monument is one of those courses that I think deserves a second and third playing before coming to a full judgment. I did not play well, but in studying the photos and a yardage book, I can see the possibilities. There’s a lot to this course.
The Monument Golf Course review was first published on July 8, 2020 on GolfBlogger.Com from notes and photos taken on a round played July 2, 2020. For more Michigan Golf Course reviews, follow the link.
A photo tour of The Monument follows: