Forest Dunes is quickly transforming itself from a stop over to parts north in Michigan into a destination on its own. It truly is located in the middle of nowhere. A 3-hour drive north of Detroit and 8 miles to the nearest town of Roscommon with a population of just over 1000, Forest Dunes is a pure golf experience.
Golf Digest ranks it #25 in the 2017-2018 “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Course” and in 2017 Golf Magazine named it #21 in the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” so you won’t be disappointed.
The course was in impeccable shape with five sets of tees ranging from 3,500 to 7,100 yards to accommodate all skill levels. The strategically placed deep flashed-up bunkers have sharp defined edges filled with consistent soft white sand. The greens are well protected with less undulations but when I played it the Stimp Meter read 14 so they were extremely fast. Plus the false fronts and swales around the greens make for strategic approach shots.
A Tale of Two Lives – Forest and Dunes
The first eight holes have a true parkland feel as you gently meander though the heavily wooded Huron National Forest. The short 6th hole nicknamed “Gamble” offers a visually intimidating tee shot since bunkers run across this split fairway and a huge tree is perched directly in the middle. It forces you to make a choice of laying up on either side of the tree or fly one over the right bunker.
#7, aptly named “Goal Posts” is a sweeping dogleg left par-5 that is surrounded by four large bunkers and a big tree in the front right as you approach the green.
The “Forest Edge” 8th hole is probably my favourite. This sharp dog-leg par-4 has a huge bunker on the right side to prevent you from cutting the corner. The visually stunning peninsula green is also protected by three huge bunkers making your approach paramount.
“The Point” 9th hole is an intimating par-3 that is entirely over water, surrounded by five bunkers within clear view of the clubhouse.
The wide-open 10th hole, called “Decision”, gives you a taste of the back nine with two huge waste bunkers staring you in the face on this split fairway. Take your pick but chose wisely depending on the pin placement on the horseshoe shaped green.
The back nine has more of a raw heathland-style feel with wind swept dunes, waste bunkers, natural grasses and thick underbrush.
Holes 11, 12 and 13 transport you back into the dense forest then 14 and 15 open back up again. The “Hideaway” #15 par-5 is set in a gully with the smallest green on the course. Waste bunkers are the most prominent feature as you head back to the clubhouse from 16 to 18.
Fantastic customer service and over-all conditioning is without repute.
Patterned concrete cart pathways
Divots are filled with a green seed and sand compound so you cannot see them from a distance.
More après golf activities and rooms need an outdoor patio area to sit at
No course map on the cart or scorecard so make sure you buy a yardage book
Gnats are here all year round – they don’t bite but make sure you invest in the natural insect repellent that they sell since deet is not effective.
Follow Dave Finn's travels at www.golftravelandleisure.com
Date: September 27, 2017