The Loon Golf Club (989-732-4454)
Michigan Golf Course Review
The Loon is a true, high quality championship golf course, and has been voted as one of the most women-friendly designs in the Midwest and is also Michigan's home to the
Butch Harmon School of Golf. Conditioning from tee to green is exceptional. Combine this with the beautiful natural scenery, and it is simple to understand why the Loon is one of
the most popular courses in the Gaylord area. The greens are cut short and are lightning quick. Mild undulations are challenging but very playable. Numerous sand bunkers are
finely sculpted and strategically located on the sides of the fairways and greens. The water hazards that come into play on nine of the holes not only make the layout interesting to
play, but also create a conducive environment for abundant wildlife.
150-yard stakes are visible on the par fours and fives, and marked sprinkler heads are positioned sparingly on the course. You will have to use the 150-yard markers for reference
most of the time. Our favorite pin placement system is in place - red, white and blue color-coded flags. The diagrams on each scorecard are very useful in helping to ascertain the
shape of the hole and shot selection. With four sets of tee boxes measuring from 6701 to 5123 yards, and slope ratings from 128 to 121, the Loon presents a fair challenge for all
levels of skill. There is ample room to use driver off many of the tees, but careful thought to club selection is necessary for the many doglegs that bend equally in either direction.
The opening hole is a dogleg right par four that is difficult to cut due to the line of trees and a large strategically placed bunker. The best approach to the elevated green is from the
left. The par three 2nd is a beautiful hole that demands a carry over a ravine, with water left and bunkers surrounding the green. The short par five 3rd has plenty of room on the
right. Bunkers to the left discourage cutting the corner of the fairway that bends to that side. A marsh 150 yards out has to be carried on the approach, but should not come into play
for long hitters. An easy par three precedes the # 1 handicap of the course on number 5. You will have to clear the traps on the right if you are going to cut any distance off this
dogleg right, mid-length par five. The right center of the fairway is the best place to be on the approach, which is quite open. The lake on the right should not come into play after
the tee shot. Number 6 bends in the opposite direction, plays long, and seems tougher than the listed 9 handicap. Aim just left of the fairway bunker, and be prepared to land a
high soft iron to the green that is fronted by a deep depression on the left. Trees right and bunkers left make # 7 play tighter than it looks from the tee. The approach is also quite
narrow. Ditto for number eight, which presents basically the same shot shape. This 3 hole sequence of 400 yard + par fours (from the tips) combined with the # 1 handicapped
fifth, make this the most challenging portion of the layout. A long par three with bunkers on both sides closes out the front. There is plenty of room, especially for those not
intimidated by sand.
The back-side plays considerably longer than the front, due mainly to the length of the 2 par fives. There is a pond located just 50 yards from the green on the right side of the
fairway on the 431 yard par 4 tenth. A long, accurate tee shot is necessary to present an opportunity to reach in regulation here. Number 11 is a par five that plays all of the listed
590 yards, and is the number 2 handicap. Fairway and green-side bunkers plus the fact that you are shooting into the prevailing wind, make par a good score. The downhill par
three 12th is the easiest hole on the course and presents an excellent birdie opportunity. Another long par five follows, featuring a tree-lined fairway that is straight as an arrow,
and is tight all the way to the putting surface. There is plenty of room on the fairway on the short par four 14th. You can lay one up anywhere from 170 to 220 yards long, and still
have a good angle on the approach, doglegs nearly 90 degrees over water. The 15th is also a pretty hole. Aim for the left fairway bunker for the best approach to one of the tightest
greens of the layout. There is a pond to the right from about 80 yards out, and trees left. Long hitters can cut some distance off the dogleg right par four 16th. Land it past the 150
marker and you should be able to negotiate the green-side bunkers and reach in regulation. The seventeenth is a long par three (225 from tips, 193 from whites) but is open and
relatively easy. This proceeds a beautiful finishing hole from an elevated teebox. Leave yourself about 100 yards for the approach, to avoid the pond on the left that comes into play
for long hitters. Be on the correct portion of the green, which is severely layered.
The Loon is a gorgeous golf course, and one of the best resort experiences in Gaylord. Sandwiches and snacks are available in the clubhouse, which also features a full line pro
shop. We rate this highly for quality and for a balanced combination of challenge and playability.
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.