Teachers’ Comments: Wide open and fun. Good conditions and walkable.
Frankenmuth, Michigan is a Bavarian-themed retail and dining mecca anchored by two equally impressive institutions: Zehnder’s Restaurant and Bronners Christmas Wonderland. Zehnder’s, which bills itself as America’s largest family restaurant (and it is impressively huge), serves hearty and delicious “Bavarian style” chicken dinners. Bronners has 98,000 square feet of Christmas decorations is large Around these are a plethora of small shops, restaurants, waterparks, hotels, and other entertainment venues (all pretending to be Bavarian).
And of course, because this is Michigan, there is golf.
The Fortress , a part of the Zehnder’s restaurant-hotel-entertainment-retail empire, is located not more than half a mile from Frankenmuth’s busy downtown. I was surprised to find it so centrally located, and equally surprised with the quality of the golf.
The course is open, prairie golf (I can’t call it links, because there is no significant body of water anywhere near Frankenmuth). The fairways are generous and lined either by light lines of trees, or prairie grasses. Because this is mid-Michigan, the course is mostly flat, with the few significant elevation changes occurring on holes near the Cass River. Half a dozen holes have a water hazard.
From the back tees, The Fortress measures 6,813 with a course rating and slope of 73.8/140. The middle tees run to 6,271 with a course rating and slope of 71.3/135. Based on my one trip, though, I think it plays easier than either of those ratings. Keep the ball in the fairways and play to safe green locations.
At an average of 7,2000 square feet, the greens are large, and challenge the putter. Seventy five bunkers spot the course.
My favorite hole was the first, a wide open 522 yard par 5. Trees line the fairway, but the bogey golfer is really in no danger here. A fairway bunker left, and another to the left of the green are the hazards. It is fun to open a round with a hole that doesn’t punish you.
Although the scorecard says that it is just the seventh most difficult, for my money the toughest hole on the course is the par three seventeenth. This requires a 160+ yard shot over a pond to a narrow elevated green. here’s simply no place to miss on this one.
Conditions on the day I played were first rate. The Fortress is a pretty course, even if it lacks scenic vistas. The groundskeepers have gone the extra mile in adding flower beds and paying extra attention to the little details.
Pace of play was excellent, and walking is permitted. In fact, the layout is such that there’s no real reason NOT to walk.
Peak season rates fun from $59 to $69, with replay rates at $25. That said, I’ve seen a great many deals that lower that price considerably. Zehnder’s has some stay-and-play deals that are worth considering.
For the bogey golfer, The Fortress isi fun and offers the chance to score well.
More photos follow: