Manistee National Resort - Cutter's Ridge Course (231-723-8874)
Michigan Golf Course Review
REVIEW UPDATE - Wonderful renovations in landscaping and condition have taken place since our initial review. Also, hole # 12 is now a par three measuring
209/187/149/138 and 115 yards (formerly a par four). Total distances from the five sets of tees now measure 6654, 6321, 5806, 5301 and 4571 yards.
Manistee National is a full service golf resort located on M-31, just south of the town of Manistee and a four hour's drive from Detroit. We had driven past the property on numerous
trips up north - to Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes - and were unaware of the fine golfing opportunities in this area. Quite frankly, from the road the resort and golf
courses appear ordinary. After spending a few days there, we discovered that Manistee National is truly a hidden gem, with amenities designed to satisfy the seasoned traveling
golfer. The resort underwent significant renovatiuons for the 2006 season, including improvements to both golf courses. Additionally, a beautiful outdoor pool area with hot tub
has been added, and the clubhouse restaurant and resort lounge facilities have been expanded to better serve visiting guests.
The property includes a resort complex that features 42 comfortable hotel-style accommodations (some suites and hot tub rooms), a meeting area, lounge, and indoor and
outdoor pools with Jacuzzis. A continental breakfast that includes cereal, bagels, muffins, coffee and juices is complimentary to guests. The resort offers cross-country skiing
during the winter, with downhill slopes within a half hour's drive. Sand dunes and bluff lined beaches are a great attraction, located just 10 minutes from the resort. The main draw
however, is golf. The Canthooke Valley and Cutters Ridge courses begin slowly but ultimately provide 36 holes of high quality, exciting golf, comparable to other 4 star courses in
the area. Also on property is a beautiful driving range (grass and mats), short game area with practice bunker, and putting greens. A residential golf community with ridge line
building sites overlooking fairways, greens and natural wetlands of the Cutters' ridge Course is in the works. For now, you will find complete seclusion amidst the natural Northern
Michigan setting, with two distinctively challenging courses to choose from. For more information, visit our page for the resort by clicking here.
Both courses are well marked with 150 yard stakes quite visible in the fairways on all of the par fours and fives. These markers make great targets off the tee, especially to first
time visitors. Yardage plates are a nice feature on all the tee boxes, and small flags on all the flagsticks indicate the days pin placement. The greens are of medium size and
speed, and are well conditioned. The Canthooke Valley Course is a traditional layout, wandering through hardwoods and pine forest, while Cutters' Ridge is a modern, Jerry
Matthews design, with upscale conditioning set amidst rolling topography and abundant natural wetlands.
Cutters' Ridge is the more upscale of the two designs, with wonderfully sculpted tee boxes and fairways, and medium to large size greens that roll quick and true. On many holes,
there is ample opportunity to lay up in front of the green and "bump and run" it to the flag. Ridges running across most of the greens set up some tricky pin placements, and
natural wetlands are in abundance throughout the layout. Overall, this is the more challenging of the two layouts, with slopes ranging from 114 to 148. Five sets of tee boxes
provide ample choices to fit anyone's handicap, with play from the 6707 yard blue tees an incredible challenge. At 4966, the seniors and ladies receive enough of a relief from the
daunting marsh areas, with reasonable carries on most tees. The whites, at 6114, play to a 132 slope and provide an interesting layout for the average golfer.
The opening hole begins with a tee shot over a creek to a generous fairway. The approach tightens however, with trees left and marsh right defining the landing area. Short is
better than long here. A beautiful par three - almost all carry over wetlands, follows. There is about 10 yards of room between the hazard and the putting surface. Number three is
a pretty dogleg left that is difficult to cut. The right side of the fairway sets up the best approach over marsh to an undulating green. Go for the flag! The par five 4th also doglegs left
with the right side be the advantageous position of the tee. Shots hit near the end of the fairway will set up the best approach to the green that turns 90 degrees from the landing
area. The 150 yard marker makes a good target off the tee on the par four 5th. Trees on both sides and a ridged green provide the challenge on the approach. The left side is the
place to be on the dogleg right par five sixth hole. As with many of the tree lines doglegs - it is difficult to cut. The seventh is a pretty hole that demands placement in the landing
area surrounded by wetlands and trees - go for the 150 yard stake. The approach is also over marsh, to a noticeably ridged putting surface. You will need 1 club extra to reach the
flag on the pretty par 3 eighth. Short is preferable to long here, however. The closing hole features a water hazard/marsh all along the left side. The uphill nature of the approach
and surrounding wetlands makes this one of the most difficult holes to par on the course.
The back nine opens with long carry over marshland and an extremely tight approach. Long is trouble here! The eleventh also demands a considerable carry off the tee with a
formidable bunker complex just short of the green. Good drives a re paramount on these two beginning holes. A lay up off the tee is recommended on the next three holes - all
short par fours with plenty of trouble lurking. Long hitters should stifle themselves on number 12 - there is no room for error short, and the slope is downward off the green on
anything hit long. The more prudent move is to use two mid to long irons to reach this well guarded putting surface. On thirteen, a lay up before the second marsh near the 150 is
a good move. There is 15 yards of room between the wetlands and the green on the approach. Number 14 is tight off the tee. There is room to go for some distance off the tee,
but accuracy is more important than distance here. Aim past the 150 and an easy approach is your reward. Play it smart on 12-14 and you may be able to record some low
numbers on this back side. The 18th and 16th handicaps follow. Number 15 is the easiest par three on the course, and is followed by a reasonable par five that can be reached in
two. A grass depression guards the front of a ridged green. The finish is tougher, beginning with the narrow par four 17th. There is a marsh short right and long left, creating the
need for two accurate shots to reach in regulation. Number 18 is a great closing hole. This dogleg right par four demands an accurately placed tee shot over a lake, to a well
defined but abbreviated landing area. There is no room short on the approach over wetlands, and the rolling topography near the greens means only a high, soft iron shot will stay
on the green. Par is a great score coming in.
Play on Cutters' Ridge presents a nice contrast - beautiful scenery and wildlife set amongst the considerable acreage of natural wetland habitat. This is a tough layout from the
tips - but quite reasonable from the white tees. Together with Canthooke Valley, this pair provides some great resort golf experiences - making the Manistee " SLAM" (Sunday night
stay and unlimited golf on both courses from Sunday 2 PM to sundown Monday) an ideal package for those who can't get enough golf. Looking for more variety? A 3 or 4 night stay
at the Manistee National will afford the opportunity to play some of the other wonderful courses in the area. Located within 20 to 25 minutes (and also highly recommended) are
the new Hemlock Golf Club, the Heathlands Golf Club - and the infamous and exclusive Arcadia Bluffs. Manistee National Golf Resort is a highly recommended place to stay -
and a great golf destination in an area that is a bit unfamiliar to golfers in the Metro Detroit area. Bring your family - they will have plenty to do in town at the quaint shops and
restaurants, and on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Tell them we sent you! You will definitely appreciate this tip!
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. For our information page for the Manistee National Resort - click here.