Wild Bluff Golf Course Review
Wild Bluff Golf Course
Teacher’s Comments: A pleasant round in the Upper Peninsula. Well kept.
Wild Bluff is a fun resort course in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where the eponymous bluff overlooks Waiska Bay off Lake Superior.
Wild Bluff is owned by the Bay Mills Indian Community, one of several federally recognized bands of Chippewa (Ojibwa). Its architect is Mike Husby, who also designed the Lake Course in Gaylord, Newberry Country Club in Newberry and Indian Lake Country Club in Manistique.
Most of the Wild Bluff is cut through woodland on the plateau above the bluff. The terrain is surprisingly flat for a Northern Michigan course, with just three holes taking advantage of the bluff’s elevation change (all three are downhill).
Weirdly, in spite of its geographic location, much of Wild Bluff gave me the vibe of a South Carolina low country course — minus the alligators and spanish moss.
Fairways at Wild Bluff are comfortably wide, with treelines well back. Unlike a lot of Northern Michigan courses, a bogey golfer should not lose many balls in the trees.
To generate interest on the flat terrain, Wild Bluff incorporates twelve doglegs of varying degrees: seven left and five right. Fairway bunkers pinch landing areas. On several holes, the path from tee to green is interrupted by marsh, streams or ponds, creating interesting decisions about line and distance.
Still, a lot of the holes just looked and felt the same, particularly from the tee. I struggled a bit trying to identify holes when reviewing my notes and photographs.
The three holes that utilize the bluff all have dizzying downhill shots. The fifteenth is a classic Michigan downhill par 3. The eighteenth is a really spectacular finishing par four with a great view of Waiska Bay and Lake Superior.
In order to do this, however, Wild Bluff had to incorporate some awkward routing. To get to the first, players must drive past the seventeenth and eighteenth holes and then up a hill past the ninth green and path to the tenth tee. It was a bit confusing.
From the back tees, Wild Bluff measures 7, 056 yards and plays to a 74.4/136. A little more forward are tees at 6, 781 yards playing to a 73.5/135. At 6, 156 yards, the white tees play at a 70./125. In all there are six sets of tees, including a combo Men’s and Women’s tee.
My favorite hole at Wild Bluff was the par five ninth. It’s a dogleg right that starts with a tee shot through a relatively narrow (for this course) tree lined corridor.
At around 250 to the green, the hole opens up a bit, creating a decent landing zone, but incorporating a fairway bunker on the left.
A direct line to is interrupted by a marshy pond that begins at about 100 yards to the green. A strip of fairway on the other side of the pond runs at a nearly right angle to the main line.
The second shot, therefore, will need to either a) be truly great and fly the pond to the green while avoiding a threatening bunker b) lay up short of the pond, setting up a high shot into the green or c) play left of the pond to the strip, which is a shorter carry over the pond, and leaves a straight shot into an open green.
Behind the green, with a nice view of the bay and lake are three tall, skinny trees which put me in mind of the “Big W” in Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
Conditions on the day I played were very good. Wild Bluff absolutely was one of the better conditioned courses I played in the summer of 2021.
I don’t make many trips to the UP for golf, but were I to go again, I would consider a return to Wild Bluff.
The Wild Bluff Golf Course Review was first published on GolfBlogger.Com on January 5, 2021 from notes and photos taken on a round played July 23, 2020. For all of GolfBlogger’s Michigan Golf Course reviews, follow the link.
A Wild Bluff Course tour follows: