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Michigan Golf Course Review

Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

Introduction - scroll down for the BLACKSHIRE REVIEW

The "Sunrise Side" of Michigan features some of the top golf tracts in the state - with the Gailes at Lakewood Shores at the top of the list. Lakewood Shores Resort in Oscoda - about a half hour north of Tawas, is one of Michigan's prime golf destinations, with 3 distinct championship courses plus an 18-hole par three on property. Hotel room and condo style accommodations compliment this great golf facility, which also boasts a full service clubhouse, driving range and two putting greens within the beautifully landscaped grounds. Both fine and casual dining are available in the clubhouse restaurant, which is open year round.

Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort
Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

All three courses feature outstanding conditioning with some of the best putting surfaces in the state. The Blackshire is patterned after Pine Valley with expansive sand waste areas and large undulating greens, and the Serradella is a wonderful resort layout featuring superb landscaping, with thousands of perennials lining the fairways and tee boxes. The Gailes is a true Scottish Links design - and when the wind is blowing strongly off nearby Lake Huron, this " old world" golf experience is intensified. Each layout is marked with yardage blocks at 100, 150 and 200 yards - and has visible 150 yard stakes in targeted locations on the fairways. GAM's are located near the middle tee boxes, but there is no pin placement system in place at Lakewood Shores. This is by design rather than neglect, as the "powers that be" elect to pattern the golf experiences here after the time honored traditions, where golfers had to figure out the distance for themselves. This does not help half blind golfers like me...especially when trying to reach the flag on expansive greens that could mean a one or two club difference. The beauty of golfing at Lakewood Shores by far outweighs this mere inconvenience, however. And - each scorecard now has hole diagrams that come in handy in alerting golfers of lurking trouble. Purchase of a yardage guide (at a nominal fee) is highly recommended for golfers playing on the Gailes or Blackshire for the first time.

Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort
Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

The Two Guys Who Golf highly recommend a stay here. Although the Gailes is by far the most recognizable name, the Blackshire and Serradella are worth the trip themselves. And where else can you step out your condo door and play as many holes as you like on a wonderfully designed par three course - free of charge? This is a great place to take the kids or a spouse who is just getting into the game...or a group of players with one thing in mind. The area is beautiful, the accommodations nice, and the golf is special. There are no swimming pools or health clubs - but this is a great place to concentrate on what we were all born to do - GOLF! To view our page for Lakewood Shores Resort for more information on this property click here.


Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort
Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

The Blackshire has come a long way since it first opened in 2001. The old trailer home that functioned as a clubhouse for the first year or so has been replaced by a beautiful wooden structure with an outdoor patio offering great views of the finely landscaped property.  Natural wooden fences outline the cart paths that lead to this wonderfully conditioned golf course - which provides an experience as vastly different but as similarly unique, as the Gailes. This 6900 yard layout was also designed by Kevin Aldridge, and was largely influenced by the infamous Pine Valley Golf Club - which is annually ranked as the number one golf course in the country. Sculpted bent grass fairways meander amongst magnificent pines and hardwoods with vast sand waste areas present on nearly every hole. This is a beautiful setting.

Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort
Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

The opening hole is a tricky one. A huge sand waste area comes into play about 100 yards away from the green - which is severely undulating. Lay up in the center before the 100 yard stake and the approach is simple. Land in the deep waste area and par is near impossible. We were warned that the putting surfaces here are a bit difficult to read -and were hard pressed to find a flat spot on this opening green. Our hope was that not all the greens would be as severe as this one - and after the second hole we found this to be true. The waste area on two is also reachable off the tee, with the left side of the fairway providing a bit more room for error. This 3 shot par five finishes with a narrow undulating green that is well protected by bunkers. Number three is a straight forward par four with an ample fairway that tightens on the approach This precedes a well bunkered par three fronted by more wasteland - making short an undesirable option. The fifth has a double hazard, as a creek about 80 yards out cuts across just past the 40 yard wide sand waste area. Tall pines form a pocket around the green, making this one of the day's most challenging approaches. A long drive to the left side of the fairway will leave a wedge approach and a good birdie opportunity on six. Anything right will be blocked by trees, so laying up with a more accurate club is also a good play on this short par four. Similar to hole number five, the bunker you see on the approach is well in front of the green. A simple but well bunkered par three on 7 is followed by the number 18 handicap, making this 3 hole stretch (holes 6-8) the most score-able on the course. You can bite off as much as you like on eight - which has a myriad of sand bunkers lining the fairway and putting surface on both sides. Keep it anywhere on the fairway and a low number can be had. The finishing hole on the front is another long, tree lined par five that bends gently let near the 150 yard stake .  Pay attention to the pin placement here (drive up near the green before you hit you approach if you have to) as the putting surface is extremely large and long - with a difference of 2 or 3 clubs possible.

The backside begins with a straight away par four playing from an extremely long tee area. A single but daunting bunker and tall pines make for a tight approach to a slightly raised putting surface.  The 11th is a short par three that is all accuracy - over a significant waste area with little room for error long or to either side. The right side of the fairway is the place to be on the par five 12th, as a gentle ridge slopes to the left. Two good shots should result in an easy approach. Thirteen doglegs right with the left side of the fairway being the most advantageous location from which to approach the elevated green. The next two holes warrant driver off the tee. Fourteen is the number 3 handicap - with a wide open tee shot followed by an extremely tight approach to a raised green flanked by sand bunkers and waste areas on either side. Fifteen, as the number one handicap, is the longest par four on the course (445 from the tips) and invites the grip it and rip it mentality. The pond far right is about 165 yards away from the putting complex. There is a water hazard all along the right side on 16, and the approach is a tough one, as it plays to an elevated green well protected by bunkers. The waste area should not come into play on the simple par three 17th, though a bunker short left makes the green appear closer than it actually is. First time visitors may be fooled here. Number 18 is a great closing hole. There is ample room over the stream and waste area off the tee, with right center being the desirable location. The green complex plays uphill, and features numerous sand bunkers short plus more waste areas to the right. Two smart shots should set up for an easy wedge approach and a great score on the final hole.

Blackshire Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

We were impressed with our experience on the Blackshire, which has matured nicely since our opening round here two years ago. Pick up a yardage book - which will prove to be more useful on this course than perhaps any other. Knowing distances to and around the waste areas is vital to scoring well. There is great variety in design, affording most golfers the opportunity to use every club in their bag. The five sets of tees set up at 6898, 6749, 6334, 5740 and 4936. High handicappers should definitely play from the whites (5740) which provide enough of a challenge. Mid handicappers and average golfers will have to choose from these or the blues at 6334, which present only 1 par four of 400 yards plus. Nice course - great people...The Blackshire is a great addition to the Lakewood Shores Resort. After traveling and playing golf all over the country - the Two Guys Who Golf can sincerely say that Lakewood Shores is one of our favorite places to visit - a true golfer's paradise!

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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