NIGHTMARE GOLF CLUB ( 989-345-1500)
Michigan Golf Course Review
The Nightmare, opened in August 2003, is a premier layout and the sister course to the Dream in West Branch, creating a one two combination that puts this area on the map of
Michigan's "must play" golf destinations. This is one beautiful golf course, as the photos in this review indicate. The gorgeous landscape includes thoughtfully designed flower
beds, rock retaining and draining structures on tees and on cart paths where necessary, and the natural beauty of the rolling Northern Michigan terrain. A temporary clubhouse is
simple in its amenities, but the practice area includes an oversized putting/chipping green and a huge grass range with target areas. Water coolers are not an afterthought - they
are conveniently provided at the tee areas on every other hole! Signature features include generously sculpted bent grass fairways and huge, mildly undulating greens that though
less than a year old on our June 2004 visit, rolled quick & true and were an absolute joy to putt on. The sand bunkers located strategically near the landing areas off the tee and
greenside, are of similar high quality.
The diagrams on each scorecard provide hole layouts plus yardages measured to and over the bunkers and the 5 water hazards that come into play. On course golfers will have
an easy time locating the 25-yard markers that are visible on the fairways from 200 to 100 yards in (from 250 on par fives). Hole locations are determined by color coded flags that
indicate front, middle and back pin placements.
The course had not been rated as of our review date, but this review will be updated when the info is provided. Three sets of tees are currently featured, measuring 7135, 6602
and 5421 yards. We chose the white tees (6602), even though that distance is generally out of our league. Surprisingly, we found these tee areas to be playable, as the layout
provides generous fairways and ample landing areas near the greens on most holes.
The opening hole is a fair beginner - a short dogleg right par four with a wide fairway that leads to a green complex fronted by a sand bunker with steep slopes around the raised
green. The par three second is a beauty, as it plays from an elevated tee from the two back tees. Bunkers short and long of the green on the right make a pin placement to that
side difficult to get to. The generous fairway on three is sculpted between two fairway traps located short right and long left, with the 150 yard area providing a good target. The
uphill approach to a back to front sloped putting surface requires 1 extra club. Four begins from an elevated tee area and doglegs right past the tree line. There is a hidden bunker
past the trees about 130 out, but a cut down the cart path is still the recommended play. Anything left will either go through the fairway or will find the bunker complex to that side.
The par three fifth plays uphill and is an easy hole if the pin placement is to the right, and is tough if it is tucked behind the bunker to the left. Number six is a gorgeously sculpted
par five from an elevated tee, with the area near the left fairway bunker beginning an extremely uphill ascent to a score-able green complex. There is plenty of room on the fairway
off the tee and right of the green on the approach. There is a pond on the left near the 150 marker on number seven. The tee shot on this short par four must land right of center
about 100-125 away. Anything left will be hampered on the approach by a tree that protects the complex from entries from the left side. There is plenty of room off the tee on 8,
which presents a grip it and rip it mentality. The second shot on this long par five (636 yards from the tips) should be played right of center, to set up for the downhill approach to a
tight green complex. The finishing hole on the front is a dogleg left that turns more extremely than appears on the scorecard. Lay up prior to the left fairway bunker, or drive over it if
you have the distance to carry past the 150 yard area. The approach turns 45 degrees and plays uphill.
The fairway on ten ends near the 70 yard area, and features an approach over a water hazard to a raised green with plenty of bail out room to the left. Golfers will be able to grip it
and rip it to a wide landing area on 11, but must keep in mind that the fairway is intercepted by a water hazard which is situated about 100 yards out. The approach to another
raised putting complex is a tight one, with a large bunker fronting and another one hidden past the green. Twelve is a simple par three with plenty of room long left, and is followed
by a snaking four par defined by fairway traps along the left. Long hitters that aim over the left edge of these traps may catch the down-slope past the 200 yard marker, leaving a
simple approach with lots of room around the green. There is no room for error past the green on the par three 14th, as a water hazard rests behind and on both sides. The
fairway on 15 is quite generous, but a high, arcing approach is necessary to carry the front bunker and to hold the green. If the pin placement is to the right on the par four 16th, this
hole plays much tougher. The tee shot should be left of center, even though the hole turns to the right. The putting complex is bordered by water on three sides. There is plenty of
landing room between the bunkers short right and long left on the 17th fairway, but an extra club or more will be needed for the uphill approach. The closing hole is another long
par five that is open off the tee but narrows about 300 yards away with a water hazard along the right side. The layout opens up again past eh 200 marker, and plays to an elevated
green complex with bunkers on the left posing an obstacle to par.
We had the opportunity to visit both the Dream and Nightmare in the same day - and thoroughly enjoyed both courses. The Nightmare is longer but a bit more player friendly, in
our estimation - and is every bit as beautiful as the Dream. Golfers can play both courses in the same day in 2004, for the price of $125. Rates at the Nightmare are $70 - $75,
including cart. This is a highly recommended golf experience. Visit our informational page for the Nightmare, with a link to their website provided - by clicking here.