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Michigan Golf Course Review

Forest Dunes Golf Club

Voted the BEST NEW UPSCALE COURSE IN AMERICA by Golf Digest in 2003, Forest Dunes in Roscommon near Grayling is recognized as one of the very best golf properties in Michigan, with national and regional awards in 2007  that include Top 100 public access courses in America ( # 20 ) by Golf Digest Places to Play; Golf Magazine's Top Public Access Courses in Michigan ( # 2 ); and by Golf Michigan's Top 100 Golf Courses in Michigan ( # 2 ).  Awards in 2015 are:

Golf Digest: 2015/16 America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses - #23 Forest Dunes
Golf Digest: 2015/16 America's Greatest Golf Courses - #118 Forest Dunes
Matt Ginella — Morning Drive/Golf Channel: Best Courses You Can Play (U.S.) - #10 Forest Dunes
Golfweek: Best Modern Courses (America) - #85 Forest Dunes
Golfweek: Best Courses You Can Play (Michigan) - #3 Forest Dunes
Golfweek: Best Residential Courses (America) - #35 Forest Dunes

 There are several unique characteristics that set this property apart, including the pointedly sculpted tee boxes surrounded by wild fescue rough, reminiscent of traditional ocean links layouts.

Forest Dunes Golf Club
Forest Dunes Golf Club

Members and guests can enjoy the15,000 square foot clubhouse that includes a formal and private dining room, well stocked pro shop, various meeting spaces plus beautifully appointed locker rooms with showers for both men and women.   Practice facilities include a beautiful grass range that is complimentary for green fee paying guests, a short game area with grass bunker, large practice green plus a two acre putting course. Uniquely - there is a gorgeous 19 hole - a par three with sand bunker situated in the middle of the green - perfect for those who can't get enough. There are also rustic but luxurious lakeside guest cottages with stay and play packages now available  - info posted on the Forest Dunes website (click here) www.forestdunesgolf.com  Looking for residential opportunities? This info is also available on the properties' website.

Forest Dunes Golf Club
Forest Dunes Golf Club

For the incredible quality this is still quite a value.  The special tees that play to just over 3000 yards also make this an enjoyable environment for junior players or for family outings. Sprinkler heads that are measured to the center of the green and rocks on the sides of the fairways at 150 yards help players to choose the correct clubs, and pin placement sheets provide info on hole locations on these large, wonderfully maintained putting surfaces.

Aesthetically, Forest Dunes is gorgeous to look at - with abundant, exquisitely designed white soft sand bunkers accentuating the fairways and green complexes, and water bordering 5 holes. As a rule, there is plenty of room near the greens, with open areas in front to enter with bump and runs. Miss to either side however, and high arcing lobs may be necessary to approach the pin.

The front nine features dense forests of red pines and oaks that define the fairways, and the back side winds through scruffy natural areas among exposed sand dunes, providing an aesthetically unique rugged look. Throughout golfers will be able to easily locate the sprinkler heads that provide measurements to the center of the huge and often ridged putting surfaces. As with many traditionally inspired layouts, there is no pin placement informational system... so go for the flag. The golf carts are equipped with ball and club washers, plus weather covers to protect your clubs on rainy days. 

The championship tees measure a challenging 7116 yards, and the 2nd set also plays tough at 6581 yards. From the third (5939 yards) and the 4th set (4993), Forest Dunes is very playable. Ratings and slope range between 146/75.2 (champion tees) to 136/69.9 (forward tees - ladies). Generally speaking, the fairways provide ample landing areas, and there is plentiful room for error near most of the greens. A good sand game will come in handy, and players adept at the short game have a good chance of scoring well here.

Forest Dunes Golf Club
Forest Dunes Golf Club

The opening hole plays over a sand waste area, inviting gamblers to cut off as much of this dogleg right as possible. The safe area to approach the green here is from the left side . There are trees on both sides but plenty of room an the fairway on the long par four 2nd. The approach turns left to a green that is well protected by sand traps. There are also bunkers on either side of the par three 3rd, but plenty of room for error around the green. Four doglegs right near the 150 yard area just past the left fairway traps, and is followed by a gorgeous par five which bends in the opposing direction. At 602 yards from the tips with a wide fairway, the grip it and rip it mentality is useful here.  Golfers can lay up to the left side or drive one over the center fairway bunker on six, with lots of room on the fairway past this hazard. The putting complex here is well protected by numerous sand traps. The dogleg left par five 7th is tough to cut, as trees line that side. An approach from the right center serves well here, with tress defining a narrow opening from which to approach the green. The wide fairway on eight doglegs to the right past the 200 yard marker, with plenty of room on the short stuff. Long hitters that can carry a drive over the right bunker complex to the 130 yard landing area will find a great scoring opportunity. The approach is one of the most beautiful on the course - downhill towards a putting complex with a water hazard short, to the right and behind (see the first photo in this review). The par three ninth plays over this hazard and is nearly all carry, with some room left of the green.

Forest Dunes Golf Club
Forest Dunes Golf Club

The back side features a waste bunker along the right, with an otherwise wide open fairway. The uphill approach must carry a huge greenside bunker, to a green that is ridged both the left and right of center. The tee shot on the par three 11th must carry a considerable waste area, with plenty of room around the green. The 12th is a beautiful tree lined dogleg left par four featuring a downhill approach with water in play on the right about 30 yards away. Thirteen is a par four that plays as long as 373 and as short as 255 yards. There is a waste bunker far right and the undulating green is crowned in front - but this hole is very score-able. A true links-style hole is next on 14, with fescue surrounding the sculpted tee areas and with numerous bunkers bordered by high grasses and thick rough. The considerable fairway trap on the right sits precariously about 175 yards from the green. A tee shot over a natural area is necessary on 15, with fairway bunkers right and trees along the left squeezing the fairway near the 250 yard area. Long hitters may be tempted to go for this par five in two - but played as a three-shot hole, a good score is possible. Carry the dunes on the par three 16th and you will find ample room near the green, with about 25 yards of grass between the hazard and the putting surface. There is water left and room right on the beautiful par four 17th - which invites a tee shot to the right side before the deep greenside trap.  There is also plenty of room off the tee to the left of the waste area on the finishing hole - but a water hazard immediately left of the green makes the approach a challenging one.

Golfers who play this Tom Weiskoph designed layout are in for a special treat. It is a perfect start to a Northern Michigan golf vacation, and even better as the last round of the trip on the way back south. The course is easy to find - just 10-15 minutes off of I-75 (exit Roscommon # 239 and follow M-18 through town - turn left at Chase Bridge Road and follow the signs). As one of several DESTINATION golf courses in Michigan, Forest Dunes gets our highest recommendation! Play this course while you still can

Forest Dunes Golf Club

For more information on this course with a direct link to its website, visit the Two Guys Who Golf information page by clicking here.

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