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Michigan Golf Course Review

Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

Located in Freeland Michigan, The Golf Club at Apple Mountain is one of the top upscale golf facilities in Central Michigan. The expansive clubhouse, with a pro shop, locker and shower rooms for men and women, and dining area overlooking the ski slopes, sits in a gorgeous setting behind the beautiful 18th green. Apple Mountain is well known not only for its high caliber of championship golf, but also for its downhill ski slopes and spacious Conference Center, with over 27,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. Two unique dining experiences are available at Kathleen's and at the Mountain View Restaurants. There also is a Wedding Chapel and the Pavilion for outdoor receptions, outings and parties.

Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course
Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

The golf facilities include a grass range that plays into the ski slope, an ample putting green and a short game area for chipping and sand bunker practice. The PGA staff here offers lessons, clinics and workshops throughout the season. The golf course is impeccably maintained as it winds its way along rolling terrain, with a couple of holes playing off the ski slopes - providing dramatic elevation changes. The sculpted bent grass fairways are usually quite generous, though there is plenty of trouble awaiting mis-hit shots, in the form of numerous soft sand bunkers and plentiful water hazards which come into play on 12 of the holes. The greens are immaculately conditioned - quick and true rolling. Quite a few are double tiered or ridged, so paying attention to the pin placement is important to scoring well here.

Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course
Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

At 6962 yards with a 145 slope rating, Apple Mountain presents a great challenge from the tips. The Blue tees measure 6347 with a 131 slope, and the white tees kick in at 5837/128. It is not often we see a course with the white tees measuring under 6000 yards, sloped that highly. The strategic water hazards and 72 sand traps have something to do with this. Extensive mounding, especially green-side, creates the need for high and softly landing approaches. After examining the scorecard and noticing the considerable discrepancy in distance of the two nines, (the blues measure 3013 on the front and 3334 on the back), we chose to play the blues on the front, and the white tees (3106 on the back - not a bad idea for average handicappers. The forward set measures 4978 and cuts down considerably on the trouble lurking off the tees. Apple Mountain provides very visible 150 yard stakes on all par fours and fives - and these white and black striped poles make great targets. Sprinkler heads are measured to the center of the green, though it sometimes takes some work to find them. All tee boxes are marked, and the pin placements are indicated by color coded flags - our favorite system.

Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course
Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

On the opening hole you will get a good idea of the main challenge to scoring well here - when you notice the considerable mounding around the green. Aim right of the 150 stake off the tee. Water along the right stretches all the way to about 130 out on the par five 2nd. The narrow fairway then opens up towards a rather undulating putting surface, which is slightly uphill. The third is a pretty par four that features an approach over a pond that sits 100 yards out in front of the green - all carry here. Another short par four demands a manageable carry over a marsh to a wide fairway with a huge bunker blocking entrance to the right side of the putting complex. This precedes a pair of holes that climb up Apple  Mountain, with shots from elevated tees offering spectacular views of the surrounding acreage. The Fifth is quite score-able - just carry the water and land on the correct portion of this ridged green. Number 6 takes you further up the ski hill, and features an intimidating tee shot from the tips and blues. Players from the white tees are looking at a different hole here. Long hitters can cut the corner and aim over the edge of the water hazard towards the 150 stake. The safe play is slightly left. The approach is a demanding one in that the green is surrounded by mounding and fronted by a deep bunker. Par is great here! The seventh is a simple, but well bunkered par three and is followed by another tough hole - the 463 (tips) par four 8th. The water right is noticeable - keep in mind however that another pond is in play left of the fairway beginning about 100 yards out. The finishing hole on the front plays straight away to an open fairway with 3 bunkers along the left side.

Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course
Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

The back nine begins with perhaps the most score-able stretch on the course, as holes 10 through 12 rate as the 13th, 17th and 15th handicaps - a mid length par four, short par three and reasonable par five. Be aware of the creek crossing just in front of the green on 10. Anything short is wet! The greens on the next two holes are tricky, with eleven sloped heavily right to left, and number 12 double tiered. The fairway is tight on 13, as trees define a narrow opening near the 150 stakes. Number 14 is also tight off the tee, though at just 337 yards from the blues, is a good scoring hole. The par five 15th has numerous fairway bunkers and a pond on the left comes into play about 75 yards from the green. Throw in the trees and mounds, and this is a tight approach. Anything long will also slope off into the hazard. After a simple par three, the number one handicap of the course awaits. A lay up to about 150 - 100 yards out is recommended, as the fairway is narrow with lakes on each side. If you stay on the short grass, a good score is possible. The closing hole plays towards the clubhouse and creates a postcard finish. An outstanding drive might tempt long hitters to go for it in two, but most golfers will play this as a 3-shot par five. Do so efficiently, and a birdie or par is possible on this number 3 handicap. Play smartly, as a water hazard crosses about 90 yards in front of the putting surface, which is also well protected by bunkers. 

Apple Mountain Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

Apple Mountain is a wonderful golf course with upscale facilities and remarkable conditioning from tee to green. This is the type of layout that one wishes he or she could play again immediately. It does not seem overly difficult - and with prior course knowledge one could avoid perhaps, the obstacles that can drive up the score on particular holes. The environment and attention to detail here also provide incentive to return. Great course, wonderful service and great facilities! Check out the Two Guys Who Golf detailed information page on this course (which includes a link to the course's website if available) - click here.

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