Hidden River Golf & Casting Club (800-325-4653)
Michigan Golf Course Review
Hidden River is truly a gem of a golf course. When visiting, golfers are treated not only to country club golf conditions, but also to amenities not found at many properties in any
part of the state. The drive towards the clubhouse saunters past the par three third hole, providing a glimpse of the upscale conditioning and aesthetic beauty one will encounter
throughout the day. The clubhouse is absolutely gorgeous, with a full service pro shop, lounge area with trophy game mountings from all over the world, a casual fine dining
restaurant that is open for lunch and dinner during the season - and spectacular views of the Maple River below. Brook, Brown and Rainbow trout flourish along a one and a half
-mile stretch of this beautiful fishing habitat. Limited access is available for enthusiasts who can enjoy the serene environment, while embracing Hidden River's catch and release
fly fishing program.
Once on course you are treated to state-of-the-art golf carts with wind shields and canvas/plastic golf bag covers - a much appreciated feature during inclement weather. We give
Hidden River high grades for their marking systems, as they leave nothing to chance. Yardages are marked on all the tee boxes, sprinkler heads on the fairways are measured to
the center of the green, and color-coded flags provide info on the days pin placements.
The views of the property are often awesome as the well sculpted bent grass fairways meander through a variety of Northern Michigan terrain. A mixture of flat and straight-forward
holes blend with doglegs that bend to either side, and with elevated tee areas and undulating fairways to keep you on your toes. What's more, Hidden River is an incredibly
playable course. The three opening holes provide an opportunity to get off to a great start, and the finishing hole allows golfers to close out the day on a good note. In between you
will encounter various challenges in the form of water hazards and marsh areas, finely conditioned bunkers, sand waste areas, elevation changes and some tightly fitted, tree
lined fairways. The mildly undulating putting surfaces are extremely consistent and true-rolling - a joy to putt on. With 5 sets of tee boxes, this is a course that can be thoroughly
enjoyed by all levels of golfers. The black tees play to 7100 yards with a 140 slope rating, while the mid-tees measure 6104 with a 124 slope. The blues (6638), golds (5512) and
red tee areas (4787) are interspersed efficiently enough to satisfy the preferences of all players. Hidden River does not miss a thing!
The opening hole is a short par four with a narrow, tree-lined fairway leading to a slightly elevated green. Place your tee shot on the fairway and par our better is a great possibility.
A large fairway bunker on the left is the main obstacle to par on the mid-range second. Players on the mid-tees really catch a break here (321 versus 406 yards). The par 3 third
plays simply, at 160 from the white tees with a large bunker protecting the right side and another just short left of the green. On the way to the fourth tee area, the cart path winds for
a couple minutes, across the river and through a forest of stately red pines. The terrain opens up here, though the approach on the long par 4 four 4th tightens and the tee shot
features a carry over a two narrow ravines. A water hazard right and fairway bunkers hamper the tee shot and approach on the long par 5 third, but this is a relatively play-able hole
. There is huge waste area off the tee on six. Bend a shot around the trees on this dogleg left and you are left with maximum positioning for the approach to a ridged green. Pay
attention to the pin placement here. Hitters lacking distance will want to lay up short of fairway bunkers on the right off the tee. There is plenty of room on the incredibly long seventh
(636 from the tips). Grip it and rip it but try to stay left to cut off some distance, and be mindful of the water hazards both right and left on the approach. The eighth features another
water hazard on the left side off the tee, and is the number 3 handicap. Similar to the second hole, mid tee players catch another break here (341 versus 456 yards). The closing
hole on the front is one of the prettiest on the course. From an elevated tee the green complex sits nestled on a perch, with trees behind the green and the Maple River to the left.
There is about 20 yards of grass in front of the green, so short is better than long here.
The back-side mimics the easy beginning of the front nine , with a short par four and mid-range par five - both good birdie opportunities. The twelfth is a beautiful hole, with the
approach demanding a carry over a marsh filled ravine, to a green that slopes back to front and left to right. Take enough club to reach the putting surface on the uphill par 3
thirteenth, which plays even longer than the 200 yards posted from the black and blue tees. Fourteen is a tough little par four, with water all along the right side that intrudes onto
the fairway near the green. This precedes another pretty par three which also is quite tough from the two back tee boxes (243 and 221 yards). From the whites, you are looking at
a different hole (only 139 yards). Sixteen is a picturesque par four worthy of signature status. The tee shot over the creek is best played to the flat area about 130 yards in front of
the green. Long hitters may be able to reach the top shelf and approach with merely a wedge. Others should be wary of the ridge that splits the fairway. Anything hit too close will
leave a blind approach to the elevated green. The 17th is also gorgeous. A long waste bunker runs the length of the fairway along the left side, and trees bordering the right
make this a demanding shot off the tee. There also is a water hazard on the right near the 150-yard marker. The finishing hole leaves you with a great chance to par out, as this
short par four plays to between 277 and 357 yards. Long left is trouble, so a tee shot in the range of 200 yards or so is the best bet for an easy approach. This fair closing hole
reinforces the concept of playability that helps to make Hidden River such a pleasant experience.
Take a good look at the score card with the listed yardage and slope ratings, and chose the tee area that best suites your game. Mid handicappers have a good shot at scoring
their handicap from the whites, and low end and scratch golfers will be thoroughly challenged from the blues or the tips. Novices, seniors and ladies have a couple more tee
boxes to choose from. Enjoy the accurate displays provide by the GPS, and the other excellent amenities, including a fine putting green and grass range. Golf with your friends and
don't worry about anyone getting in over their head - simply choose the correct tees for each player! Beauty surrounds you in one of the most serene golfing environments in
Michigan. This is one highly recommended round of golf!
Click here for more information on this golf course.