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Michigan Golf Course Review

Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

The Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix is a traditional 18-hole championship course designed in 1927 by William Watson. It has been the site of 40 Michigan Men's Amateur Championships, As the scorecard states, Belvedere was built with 5 teams of horses and 150 men, and features challenging par threes and fours, while rewarding aggressive play on par fives with birdie and possible eagle opportunities. The natural surroundings and excellent conditioning from tee to green help Belvedere to achieve Golf Digest's 4-star rating year after year. There are no tricked-up holes on this layout - what you see is what you get. Bunkers are located green-side and are placed in strategic locations on the fairways, especially on the doglegs - but are not over-stated. There is a nice mix of open and tree-lined fairways, most with substantial landing areas. Cedar trees are everywhere - a feature we find quite unique to Belvedere Their presence, especially along this beautiful creek that crosses the property numerous times, provides an indescribable aesthetic beauty to the rolling terrain at Belvedere.  

Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course
Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

The course is well marked with 100,150 and 200 yardage plates, and color-coded flags to indicate the days pin placement. On property is a clubhouse with pro shop, grass driving range, large putting green and short game area for chipping and bunker practice. Four sets of tee boxes measure from 6715 to 5489 yards, with the slope rating ranging from 129 to 123. The white tees at 6053 provide a good test for the average golfer, and the blues are quite challenging with nearly 500 extra yards of distance. There are generally generous landing areas off the tee, but approaches to the traditionally roundish greens demand accuracy.

Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course
Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

The opening hole begins with a tee shot from an elevated tee area to a wide landing area. The right center is the best spot from which to approach the small, undulating green.  The second presents a wide and level fairway guarded by cedars on both sides, with a beautiful creek crossing at the 250 yard marker. The same creek intersects the third fairway , and also runs along the left side, nearly all the way to the green. Number four is a long par three (236 from the tips, 190 from the white tees) that plays slightly uphill into the prevailing wind, to another small, undulating putting surface. The first of the par fives is next, and rates as the #1 handicap. It bends to the left on the second shot, with a water hazard crossing the fairway 180 yards from the green, which is protected by sand traps on either side. The sixth doglegs in the opposite direction towards an elevated green. A tee shot placed near the 150 marker in the center of the fairway is the place to be. Players on the white tees get a great break on seven. The carry to the fairway over a creek and grass ravine and is much shorter from middle and front tee areas, as this par four plays just 324 from the whites and 433 from the blues. After a simple par three, you will find a reachable par five that plays only 463 yards from the tips. 3 fairway and 3 green-side traps are the obstacles to par or better here.

Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course
Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

The tenth is another reasonable par five, playing downhill with a possible bump and run approach providing a good birdie opportunity. Eleven runs parallel with an approach that must navigate the huge fairway slope (right to left) that fronts the green from 100 yards in. The putting surface here is quite undulating. Number twelve is wide open off the tee, but the fairway slopes downward near the 150 marker, leaving an awkward lie for those that venture too far off the tee. Aim for the 150 and take advantage of the downhill approach.  The sloping fairway on 13 leans towards the tree line and water hazard, which will not come into play - unless the tee shot is badly shanked. The middle of the fairway will present the best approach on this hole which bends slightly left. After another simple par three (18th handicap), you are confronted with a humungous fairway bunker along the right side of the short par five 15th. Long hitters can bend one over the large trap, creating an opportunity to reach in two. Land short of the trap and you will be playing this as a 3-shot hole, as it doglegs nearly 90 degrees right past the bunker. The last three holes play uphill, and often into the wind. Sixteen is a short par four and is followed by the last of the par threes, which presents a tricky green complex. Mounding left and a steep slope to the right create the demand for accuracy here, although there is bail out room in front of the green. The eighteenth plays into the prevailing wind and will demand your best effort to reach in two. At 426 yards it is the longest par four from the blues.

Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course
Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

Playing on a windy day, we found Belvedere to be challenging but fair. There is a nice rhythm to the design, which presents a good variety of shot selections. Most players will have the opportunity to use every club in their bag. And you will be playing a layout that was frequented by famous PGA professionals like Walter Hagen and more recently, Tom Watson. They exuded a tremendous amount of respect for this revered layout - as we feel any golfer at Belvedere would.

Belvedere Golf Club - Michigan Golf Course

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