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Michigan Golf Course Review

Introduction - scroll down for the GAILES REVIEW

Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

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. The terrain of the Gailes is as unique as golfers will find in the Midwest - rolling fairways bordered by tall fescue covered mounds and heather rough with pot bunkers dotting the landscape.  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.

Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort
Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

All three courses (the Blackshire and Serradella are the other two) 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 - there are now hole diagrams on the scorecards , which help you to plan your shots around the burns and pot bunkers that dot the fairways. A helpful yardage guide booklet is also available for a nominal fee.

Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort
Gailes 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.


The Gailes, designed by Kevin Aldridge, has garnered numerous awards including being honored as the top new resort course in the country and Michigan's top resort course. Golfers will discover finely sculpted fairways that are cut so short, especially near the greens, that putting utensils can often be used yards away from the actual putting surfaces. These fairways are usually generous, but approaches are well guarded by fescue mounds that are extremely difficult to negotiate. Land in one of the fairway or green-side pot bunkers, and the strokes can add up. Stay on the fairways and many greens can be reached in regulation. Birdies and pars will still require some work however, as these huge surfaces are undulating and quick - with swales, crowns and bowled corners not uncommon.

Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort
Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

Four sets of tees play to 6954 yards (138 slope rating), 6393 (129 slope), 6073 (124 slope) and 5246 yards with a 122 slope rating. For first time visitors, the blue or white tees will prove to be a significant challenge. Large double greens, meandering burns that traverse and line many fairways, sod-faced pot bunkers and long fescue grasses help to create an atmosphere that resembles the famous seaside courses of Scotland.

The two opening holes provide an opportunity to get off to a good start. Number one is a short par four with a creek crossing about 100 yards from an undulating green. A lay up followed by a mid to short iron should lead to a good scoring opportunity.  Be sure to aim at the correct flag on two, which is a par three playing from an elevated tee to a huge double green, shared by hole # 17. Fescue rough and mounds surround this green complex. The third is a challenging par four with small pot bunkers dotting the fairway. Avoid them and be aware of the burn that crosses about 140 out, and a second one that rests just in front of the green, beside a pond on the right. The fourth is a score-able par three, although double bogeys are not uncommon. Pot bunkers short and a sloping, double tiered putting surface add to the difficulty here. Number five is the top handicapped hole - a long par four with a creek crossing about 180 out and fescue mounds on both sides of the fairway.  A grass swale and pot bunker behind the green are better options than going left - which is trouble with water all along that side. On six, the water along the right juts out towards the fairway about 190 out, making the left side the preferred landing area. The approach to a slightly raised/crowned green is a simple one. The par five seventh plays along the same water hazard with the left side once again providing the most advantageous positioning. Fescue mounds intrude upon the fairway, and also surround the putting surface. The eighth is the second of back to back par fives - and presents one of the widest fairways you will ever experience. Playing along the left side will cut off some distance, and leave a short iron approach to a raised green. The ninth has the toughest green complex of the course - so distance is important off the tee. A wedge to this small, crowned, well bunkered putting complex is much more desirable than a mid iron.

Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

Ten is a beauty - a short par five with a quagmire of mounding and tall grasses defining a rolling fairway. A lay up towards the red 100 yard stake is the recommended play off the tee. The putting surface has swales and undulations, with mounding in the back right funneling shots towards the center. Long left is not a good idea - as a deep pot bunker may require a couple shots to escape. Eleven provides ample room off the tee, but the second shot must negotiate considerable mounding and high grasses that meander throughout the fairway. The approach is to an elevated double green - do not go long, as a bunker that requires ten feet of elevation to escape rests past the putting complex. Twelve plays from an elevated tee, across rolling high grasses to a tight green complex that slopes left to right. It is possible to hit the middle of the green and still roll off here - aim to the left! The par four 13th is the course's # 2 handicap. This long par four is extremely difficult to reach in regulation, with a burn crossing about 175 out and a green complex that is tucked tightly between mounds of fescue.  More mounding and tall grasses line the 14th fairway, which leads to the same raised double green shared by the eleventh hole. Fifteen is quite unique. There is plenty of room on the fairway, and also on the second shot on this 500 yard par five. The small putting complex drops down and slopes towards the back bunkers. An accurate approach is necessary here. Anything hitting the down-slope will roll off the back of the green.  A simple par three on 16 is followed by a mid-range par four with another double green (shared with the second hole) as the final destination. The 18th hole is a beautiful par four, with finely sculpted tee boxes leading to a wide fairway infiltrated by numerous nasty pot bunkers.  The approach is quite simple, but the putting surface is one of the largest you will ever encounter - a two club difference depending on the hole location.

Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort
Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

As with the Blackshire, we recommend that first time visitors pick up a yardage/ hole diagram booklet. This info could save some strokes - and it makes a good keepsake for one of the most unique golf experiences you will ever encounter. Michigan golfers are remiss if they have not yet played the Gailes. This is a fantastic golf destination - and easy to get to off of US 23 just north of the town of Oscoda. The Lakewood Shores Resort offers some great golf packages - with wonderful fall and spring rates. 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.

Gailes Golf Club at Lakewood Shores Resort

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