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Timber Ridge Golf Club (517-339-8000 or 800 874-3432) 

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Michigan Golf Course Review
Timber Ridge Golf Club

Have you ever wondered what a 5-star golf course looks like? Ever since Golf Digest began ranking courses from all over the North America (from 1 to 5 stars) in their "Places to Play" publication, there have only been a handful of courses to receive the top honors. For 2002 there are only 13 FIVE STAR properties, and only one from Michigan - TIMBER RIDGE! Obviously, this rating is not given lightly. Factoring into consideration are the on-property facilities ( range, putting green, pro shop, clubhouse), the combination of challenge and playability of the layout, the conditioning from tee to green, service, and of course the value. Timber Ridge meets these criteria with a resolve that has also earned them mention for many individual categories in "Places to Play" as well. The Two Guys Who Golf use this publication often, and consider it to be informative and accurate in its breakdown of North American Courses (also including the Islands). We congratulate Timber Ridge for its commitment in upholding the fine standards that enabled them to receive this award - and for keeping Michigan on the map in Places to Play. It took a couple million dollars worth of renovations in the past 3 years (including the strategic uprooting of trees and clearing out the underbrush and replacing it with pine straw) to make this layout more playable and aesthetically pleasing. Personally, I loved the course when I played it 6 years ago - and appreciate it even more after the renovations.

Timber Ridge Golf Club
Timber Ridge Golf Club

The clubhouse at Timber Ridge fits in nicely with the natural terrain, and includes a full service pro shop, dining area, and upscale banquet and outing facilities. The banquet facilities feature a full menu for weddings, receptions, parties, and the like for up to 250 guests, 12 months out of the year. Timber Ridge features golf outing packages for groups of 8 all the way up to groups of 144. Each year they do public tournaments like the Cinco DeMayo "Jose Cuervo Open", the Michigan "Qnorth Tour," and a whole lot more.  Competitive rates all year long, and a classic Jerry Matthews design continue to combine for the best value in Mid-Michigan. A driving range is on property, as well as a large putting green that is nestled in front of the clubhouse. Take a few minutes to practice, to get used to the speed and quality of these putting surfaces, which are hand mowed to decrease wear and tear so that they will stay lush and roll true all year long.

Timber Ridge Golf Club
Timber Ridge Golf Club

Course architect Jerry Matthews of Matthews Natural Course Design worked with the many varieties of trees (over 60 varieties), hilly terrain and existing marshlands to create a design that allows nature to "run its course" and to create the flow of play which includes a tremendous variety of shot selections. Four sets of tee boxes allow golfers of all abilities to choose their challenge and to play to their skill level. The rolling fairways most often reward accurate shots with level lies and kind approaches to the generously sized greens, which are kept in incredible shape. In fact, the entire course is wonderfully conditioned from tee to green. Markers at 100,150 and 200 yards are measured to the center of the green, and sprinkler heads are also marked. GPS Industries systems mounted on all carts also provides accurate info from tee to green Additionally, large boulders on either side of the fairway indicate 150 yards to the middle of the putting surface. Small markers on the flags indicate front, middle and back pin placement. For first time players, picking up a yardage/hole diagram booklet in the pro shop is highly recommended. Great tips on how to play each hole are included, along with hole and green depth images. The championship tees measure nearly 6600 yards, and the blues play to just under 6300. Also playing to a par 72 are the whites at 6010. The forward tees measure 5175 and play as a par 73. Both the whites and blues play fairly and will sufficiently challenge the average golfer.

Timber Ridge Golf Club
Timber Ridge Golf Club

Number one is a beautiful downhill dogleg left par four, that is generous off the tee, but narrows on the approach to a well bunkered green - a fair and nice beginning golf hole. The short par four second is aptly named the "punch bowl". The fairway slopes right to left, with a huge bunker guarding the right side. A fairway wood or long iron is recommended off the tee. The downhill approach presents a good opportunity to land it close on the back to front sloped putting surface. A lay up is also recommended on number three which features a large water hazard left of the fairway. Land it on the short stuff and the approach is fairly simple.  The first par 3 of the layout follows and features one of the most severely sloped greens on the course. Pay attention to the pin placement, and note that this hole plays all of the yardage advertised. The long par 4 fifth is the number one handicap hole, which demands a long tee shot placed to the left side of the fairway, followed by a narrow approach. The area near the green is rolling, creating the need for a high approach landing on the deepest green of the layout. The double dogleg par five 6th will require three accurate shots to reach in regulation. Playing to the left side of the fairway off the tee, then back to the right on the second will set up the most opportune approach. The bunker near the end of the fairway on the left is closer than it seems on the short dogleg right par four 7th. Bend a long tee shot slightly right past the tree line or lay up prior to the bunker for a fairly easy approach over a water hazard to a pretty green complex that slopes right to left. Leave your tee shot below the hole on the relatively easy par three 8th - and birdie is a good possibility. This is followed by a beautiful closing hole featuring an elevated tee area and a tree-lined fairway that bends left to right. Par is a good score on this number 5 handicap which plays uphill to a sloping green guarded by a deep bunker short left.

Timber Ridge Golf Club
Timber Ridge Golf Club

Number 10 features an 80-foot elevation drop to a generous fairway, allowing most golfers to begin the back side with a good par opportunity. Land on the correct portion of the green, which is double tiered. Take note of the pin placement on the long putting surface on the par three 11th, and stay away from the left side as the bank will funnel shots into the water hazard. There is some bail out room short right on this number 18 handicap. Use a fairway wood or long iron off the tee on number 12, which is the shortest par four on the course. The approach narrows, but long hitters who feature a right to left shot shape may elect to go for the green here. Thirteen is a dogleg left that plays uphill and is difficult to cut. The right side of the fairway is the best area from which to approach an extremely undulating green. The par four 14th is one of the tightest holes on the course. An elevated tee shot should add some yards to your drive, which will come in handy as the approach plays uphill to an elevated green. Number 15 is a short par five, but plays uphill off the tee and also features an elevated, two-tiered green. that slopes right to left. Accuracy is more important than distance here. There is room long on the last par three of the layout. The sixteenth plays over water and into the prevailing wind, but is nonetheless a very parable hole. It is paramount to score well on all four par threes at Timber Ridge, as they are listed as the number 15 through 18 handicaps. "Narrows" is the correct name for the par five 17th, which features a carry over a water hazard from all but the forward tees. The second shot must be placed to the narrow landing area on the left side, as a marsh creeps into the fairway along the right, about 110 yards from the green. There is about 20 yards of room between the wetlands and the putting surface just right of the green complex. The finishing hole is a classic!  The right side of the fairway is the ideal location from which to approach the green that is fronted by an intimidating water hazard. The second shot is nearly all carry over the hazard, to the undulating two-tiered putting surface. Par is great and birdie is treat here.

Timber Ridge is a very photogenic course. There is a great variety of holes with doglegs playing to either side, and ample sand and water hazards waiting errant shots. It is a thinking man's (and women's ) course, which also presents ample opportunities for long hitters to let loose. The rolling topography and secluded layout, void of residential properties, offers a quiet, natural setting ideal for a top quality golf experience. With prices for 18 holes with cart ranging from $35 weekdays to $60 weekends - this is an affordable round and a great value. It is centrally located in East Lansing and easy to reach for most Michiganders - exit #92 (south on Webster Road) off I-69 - and look for signs for the Timber Ridge community. Great rates and wonderful membership opportunities. We highly recommended that you take advantage. Timber Ridge rewards its repeat customers with a "smart way to play more golf" through its Q Club program - the more you play the more you save by redeeminmg points.

Timber Ridge Golf Club

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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