In recent years, Michigan has become a serious golfing destination and the Tullymore Golf Resort (formerly the St Ives Resort) in Stanwood is doing its bit to help the cause. There are two courses at Tullymore and the first to be laid out was simply named “St Ives” but it was the second course, designed by Jim Engh, which grabbed world attention when it opened for play in 2002.
“With its wooded vegetation and wetland preserves, Tullymore has a character unique to the world of golf,” wrote Engh. Tullymore is routed through woods and water with the Shinglebolt Creek meandering into play on a few holes. This is a vast site of some 800 acres but the Tullymore playing surfaces are polished to perfection. The closing hole is considered to be one the greatest and most photogenic finishing holes in Michigan.
Tullymore I really want to love this course it has many things that I truly enjoy in a golf course, great visuals, challenging unique design, artful use of the land. But I have played twice about 3 years between trips and both times I left disappointed for a former Top 100 course and what is still a Top 100 public option the course falls short. I have had a bad service experience both times I was there and don’t count that in my review of the actual golf course but it is disappointing. The course is an extreme challenge of golf with forced carries and wetlands, some times on both sides of the fairway 150 slope from 7k yards can test the best golfers. I believe at one time Tullymore could have been deserving of its rank and the routing is probably deserving of 4.5 golf balls but the fit and finish, slow greens and overall just lackluster conditioning for a top 100 caliber course makes it a 4. It is unique as Jim Engh always does things through his vision which I think I enjoy. I will most likely play again and I hope it surprises me in a good way. As for now if you have one round go to Pilgrims Run the better course, better greens, better conditioning all that for about half the price about 30 miles away if you can play 36 play them both and compare them.
I am a big fan of Tullymore. Every hole is good and many are spectacular. Certainly a modern layout you could not walk. Should be ranked higher on this list.
I had high expectations for Tullymore and had promised great things to my golfing friend as we embarked on a 10 course run throughout Michigan. Tullymore is always ranked highly in the lists of "golf courses you can play" often snagging the second spot in the state and frequently in the top 30 of the entire USA. However, Tullymore disappoints.
There is nary a hole where you can see the green from the tee and this includes at least one par 3 where the green and flag is hidden behind a huge hill. And as for blind shots, you often cannot see the flag until you are within 100 yards and even from there you can't see it on holes such as number 2 and number 9 because the greens are sunk into recessed depressions.
Once you get past the third hole there every hole presents a sizeable and punishing forced carry which might be fun once in a while, but becomes exhausting after 13 straight holes.
The part that was the most tiresome was not the endless blind shots, but rather the hazards that suddenly appeared hidden just behind the green or in the curve of a fairway.
There were some good parts: nice trees, friendly service, and excellent conditioning. None of which mattered, of course, if you were lying 6 after a punishing stroll through the surprise bunker.
Jim Engh brought his unique style to Tullymore, especially with the distinctive bunkering which look like squiggles of sand meandering around the property. The greens were in fabulous condition and have excellent shapes and contours.