Cedar River is the second of the two favorite courses at the Shanty Creek Resort, alongside The Legend. Working with terrain with less altitude change than the latter course, Tom Weiskopf was able to create wider fairways and what is generally considered a slightly easier round than that at the Legend.
The initial plans for the course involved more interaction with the title river, however conflict with environmentalists means golfers will only see the Cedar through the trees for a small portion of the route. Coincidentally, this occurs during two of the course’s more notable holes.
Weiskopf guarantees a drivable par four at every one of his layouts, and No. 13 is Cedar River’s entry...still, it will take quite a tee shot to work around a huge centerline bunker, a centerline tree, and slide down onto the putting surface (the wide-open left fairway might be a safer play). The following hole is a dropdown par three that hovers above the river.
Tom Weiskopf is not afraid to let his freak flag fly when designing a golf course. Continuing with the parlance of ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll, it seems like he really got his ya-yas out when designing No. 13 at Shanty Creek’s Cedar River course. As a man who guarantees at least one drivable Par 4 at every course he designs, Weiskopf also places some importance in differentiating between these entries. This is—among the Weiskopf shorts that we have played and seen (and we did additional research before making this claim)—the wonkiest of the bunch. Measuring 297 from the tips, the player naturally has two choices: Lay up to the left of the center bunker (and tree, for good measure), and pitch over another bunker for a birdie opportunity. Or, for the slightly deranged, go right of the center bunker, drawing the long tee shot so that as it crests the hill to the direct right of the tree, it avoids another large bunker on top of the hillock (and the surrounding native area), funneling down the last stretch of fairway and threading ever so precisely between two greenside bunkers, onto the putting surface for an eagle look. Your correspondent—frequently described as a “chicken” by his wife—went with the more conservative option.
Why spend so much time elaborating upon this one dramatic hole? Because it stands in stark contrast to the rest of your experience at Cedar River, and Weiskopf seems to have been cooped up accordingly. The same glaciers that created the vivid blue waters of nearby Torch Lake also formed the rolling slopes that make Shanty Creek’s main source of revenue skiing—not golfing. The pine forests that surround almost every hole at Cedar River owe their beauty to the glacier-supplemented soil, and to the resort for seeing fit to down as few as possible during the construction of the course. Weiskopf designed accordingly, avoiding doglegged holes where the treeline would make second-shots near impossible for high handicappers.
With exceptions—including the downhill Par 4 at No. 12, which rewards a well-played approach bank off the slope into a long green, and the closer, a fine replica of Congressional’s famous 18th—the limits on fairway routing and similar surrounds leaves Cedar with a large collection of holes that, while not particularly “bad,” are not particularly memorable either. That said, the conditioning is top-notch for a resort route, and those in the region for the day could do much worse.