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4.6
99 Reviews (99)
5 Stars
83
4 Stars
8
3 Stars
5
2 Stars
3
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.8
Value
4.3
Layout
4.7
Friendliness
4.6
Pace
4.2
Amenities
4.5
89.2%
Recommend this course
90 out of 99 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
5.0
1 Reviews (1)
5 Stars
1
4 Stars
0
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
5.0
Value
5.0
Layout
5.0
Pace
5.0
Amenities
5.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
1 out of 1 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.6
9 Reviews (9)
5 Stars
7
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.8
Value
4.2
Layout
4.7
Pace
4.4
Amenities
4.6
StaffFriendliness
4.6
88.9%
Recommend this course
8 out of 9 reviews
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About

Holes 18
Type Public
Par 72
Length 7116 yards
Slope 146
Rating 75.2
Tee Par Length Rating Slope
I 72 7116 yards 75.2 146
II 72 6550 yards 72.4 139
Combo II & III 72 6330 yards 71.3 135
III (W) 72 5888 yards 74.8 143
III 72 5888 yards 69.2 127
IV 72 4993 yards 69.9 136
Scorecard for Forest Dunes
Metrics:
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
I M: 75.2/146 403 451 203 399 605 378 537 443 203 3622 439 193 397 373 464 563 233 302 530 3494 7116
II M: 72.4/139 375 423 178 372 572 344 499 414 163 3340 401 163 371 344 428 531 198 278 496 3210 6550
II/III Combo M: 71.3/135 375 387 178 372 521 344 499 375 163 3214 360 163 371 344 375 531 198 278 496 3116 6330
III M: 69.2/127 W: 74.8/143 314 387 143 334 521 309 462 375 154 2999 360 142 338 300 375 481 179 243 471 2889 5888
IV W: 69.9/136 285 346 119 294 452 256 412 278 97 2539 304 127 289 255 322 418 140 214 385 2454 4993
Handicap 15 1 13 9 5 11 7 3 17 4 18 10 14 2 6 8 16 12
Par 4 4 3 4 5 4 5 4 3 36 4 3 4 4 4 5 3 4 5 36 72
Handicap (W) 14 1 12 9 5 10 7 3 16 4 17 18 13 2 6 8 15 11

Course Details

Year Built 2002
Fairways Providence Bentgrass
Greens A-4 Bentgrass
Golf Season Year round
Architect Tom Weiskopf (2002)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes - included in green fees
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Bunker Yes
Caddies Yes
Golf School Academy Yes - "Kendall/Seltzer Golf Getaway School"
Teaching Pro Yes
Pitching/Chipping Area Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Metal Spikes Allowed No
Dress code Proper Golf Attire Required. Shirt And Shoes Required

Best of Lists

Reviews

4.6
99 Reviews (99)

What Golfers Are Saying

The 19th Hole is Great For:
Drinks 11
Patio Dining 7
Brunch 6
Course Challenges Include:
Bunkers 20
Undulating Greens 11
Water Hazards 8
This course/club is great for:
A Bucket list/Top 100 Pick 16
Advanced Golfers 14
Wildlife/ Scenic Views 14
This Course's Location is:
Worth the Drive 15

Numbers based on reviews tagged with attribute.

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Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Used cart

Forest Dunes is magical

A friend and I traveled to MI for a quick golf trip. We selected Forest Dunes and Arcadia Bluffs as our 2 targets. The drive from Traverse City wasn't too bad, the place is in the middle of no where in the Huron Forest. The staff was amazing, the clubhouse was fantastic. The pro shop was great, it was first class all the way. They have a number of tees to play from so it's not overwhelming for those that just want to have a good time. The course wasn't full when we were there so pace was fantastic. Wonderful conditions, lots of sand, and a ton of waste bunkers on the back 9. This is a course that you would dream to play on a weekly basis. If I live d in the area i would 100% be a member. If you're planning a trip, this is a slam dunk with Forest Dunes, the Loop and the new par 3 course you can really have a blast out there.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 50 Contributor
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Used cart

A Worthwhile Trek Off the Beaten Path

If you think Forest Dunes is in the middle of nowhere, you’re right, and it’s not totally a bad thing. What you’ll find is small town hospitality, exceptional lodging, exquisite dining and high-quality golf facilities. No massage tables, no whirlpool baths or spa services, just 54 memorable golf holes. When you stay on property, you are literally no more than 50 yards from the first tee. This is something that every serious golfer should experience at least once.

Forest Dunes is home to three fabulous golf courses – on two layouts: The Forest Dunes Course and the Loop, which is played clockwise the first day and counterclockwise the next. The Forest Dunes Course was designed by former PGA TOUR champion turned golf course architect Tom Weiskopf.

Forest Dunes is ranked annually among the nation’s top 25 by all the major golf publications and has garnered numerous accolades from such top publications as Golf Digest, Golfweek, Golf Magazine and The Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella, who declared it #10 on his list of Best Courses You Can Play in the US. Shortly after it opened, Forest Dunes was named by Golf Digest as the Best New Upscale Golf Course in America. Weiskopf himself has placed it in his all-time top three of courses he’s created.

Forest Dunes features 4 sets of tees; the scorecard offers a fifth set that combines tees II and III. From the tips, the course measures a challenging 7,116 yards, with a course rating of 75.2 and a slope of 146. Tee II is also an epic battle at 6,550 (72.3/139) while tee II mellows things out a bit at 5,888 (69.2/127), The Combo Tees proved to be just what the doctor ordered at 5,330 yards (71.3/135. Ladies will find Forest Dunes a challenge from Tee IV (4,993/ 69.9/136). As always, choose the tees that fit your game and you’ll have a lot of fun.

The course features several elements that Weiskopf is known for: A split fairway, a drivable par 4 and a 19th hole – in case you need to settle a bet! It’s a short, 117-yard par 3 that plays over water to a green with a bunker in the middle of the green, much like the 6th hole at Riviera Country Club in California.

Forest Dunes is truly the dichotomy for which it is named. The front nine consists of parkland-style holes wandering with purpose through strands Northern Michigan’s signature pine forests, made up of century-old red and jack pines. Sandy waste areas and elaborate bunkering systems help to form the outline of each hole and keep things interesting along the way. This would be The Forest.

The back nine opens up and is highlighted by rugged native sand dune areas with thick underbrush crossing and bordering several fairways and greens. Water comes into play on three holes on the back nine, four if you count 19. On the front, you don’t see any water until the 8th hole. This would be The Dunes.

Before your round, take advantage of Forest Dunes’ incredible practice facility, included with your paid greens fee. There’s a full-length grass driving range where you can hit every club in your bag, a short game area complete with a grass bunker and a large practice putting green. Up above the practice area is a two-acre, 18 hole putting course.

Most Memorable Hole: Number 19: Par 3, 117 yards. Just in case you haven’t had your fill quite yet, Weiskopf gives you one final opportunity; it’s also a great place to settle bets – or start a new one. It’s a short par 3 that plays slightly downhill over sand dunes and water to a large green with a pot bunker in the middle, reminiscent of the sixth hole at Riviera Country Club. Find the green, make the putt, collect some dough. Easy!

Favorite Par 3: Number 9, 163 yards (II, Combo Tees). The first hole where water is absolutely in play. This hole requires you to carry your tee shot onto the green as 5 sand bunkers surround it. Anything short of the sand will be wet. Find the green off the tee and finish the front nine strong.

Favorite Par 4: Number 17, 278 yards (II, Combo Tees). As I said earlier, a Weiskopf trademark is a short, drivable par-four hole, and Number 17 might be one of the best he has done. In order to reach the green off the tee, you need to fly a lengthy sand dune, filled with fescue grasses, rocks and other obstructions. Hit it too far left and there’s more of the same over there. The other option is to hit it about 210 yards, then play a short pitch shot in to the green with hopes of getting it close. It is risk/reward at its finest!

Favorite Par 5: Number 7, 499 yards (II, Combo Tees). Number 7 is reachable in two, particularly if you can hit a draw shot off the tee. In any event, it’s best to play down the right side to open up the hole. The landing area for your layup shots is narrow as some trees on the left begin to infringe. The green is surrounded by sand except in front, making way for a bump and run shot and leaving no reason not to try and go for it in two. Interestingly enough, the bunker to the right has a tree and some grass in the middle of it. After you play out the hole, turn and admire the beauty of this hole.

Clubhouse & Restaurant

Forest Dunes features an impressive 15,000 square foot clubhouse that includes a well-stocked pro shop, beautifully appointed locker rooms with showers for both men and women and Sagamore’s Restaurant, with both formal and private dining rooms. The food is outstanding with all three meals being served, For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the Breakfast Burrito, two scrambled eggs with onions, sausage and peppers wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. It’s quite filling. Vice President Mark Lutz’s Smoked Chili is a big hit at both lunch and dinner, with smoked tenderloin, onions, peppers, red beans and just the right mix of chili spices. Steaks and burgers are also very popular at Sagamore’s.

Stay & Play

Forest Dunes offers some tremendous stay and play opportunities with several lodging options. Now you can play all three courses without leaving the property.

The Lake Au Sable Lodge is located just a long putt from the first tee. This two-story lodge features 11 standard rooms and two suites and exemplifies the same Adirondack them of the clubhouse. The first floor offers both king and queen bed options that can be joined together if need be. On the second floor are two two-bedroom suites that are perfect for a group of four. The suite includes a sitting area, dining table, full kitchen and private balcony overlooking the first tee. Each bedroom has two queen beds and a bathroom.

In the last couple of years, Forest Dunes has built several villas that are located within walking distance of the clubhouse and across the road from the start of The Loop. Both two and four-bedroom villas are available The two bedrooms are actually quite spacious; each has a small kitchenette, small living area, two bathrooms and four total beds. Four-bedroom units feature the same amenities, along with 4.5 bathrooms and a mix of king and queen beds.

Need more room, consider one of Forest Dunes’ cottages, located throughout the property. These luxury homes range between three and five bedrooms and can sleep between four and eight individuals in their own beds. Each cottage is furnished with linens, towels, dishes and cookware.

If you like what you see and want to consider building a home at Forest Dunes, you can get more information on their website.

Last Word: As you make your way around the course, you can’t help but admire the beauty of the sculpted tee boxes many of which are surrounded by wild fescue rough, exhibiting traits of ocean links layout – minus the water! Weiskopf has done a marvelous job of working this design into the natural surroundings; rarely does a hole look or feel out of place. What The Loop offers in a rugged Scottish feel, Forest Dunes offers golfers a beautiful nature setting.

Risk/reward opportunities abound at Forest Dunes starting with the first hole, which plays over a large sand waste area, daring players to cut off as much of this dogleg right as possible. The fairway is wide enough that the safe approach to the green here is from the left side.

As resort course go, the conditioning at Forest Dunes is second to none. Aesthetically, Forest Dunes is a joy to behold. Exquisitely designed white sand bunkers accentuate the fairways and green complexes, and the sparse use of water is a refreshing change of pace from many courses. For the most part, there is plenty of room around the greens; the areas in front are often accessible with a bump and run shot. Miss to either side of the green and you’ll have to rely on an excellent short game, especially with a lob wedge. A good sand game is also something that will prove valuable as it’s virtually impossible to get around this layout with experiencing it at least once.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 50 Contributor
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Used cart

Forest Dunes – A Worthwhile Trek Off the Beaten Path

If you think Forest Dunes is in the middle of nowhere, you’re right, and it’s not totally a bad thing. What you’ll find is small town hospitality, exceptional lodging, exquisite dining and high-quality golf facilities. No massage tables, no whirlpool baths or spa services, just 54 memorable golf holes. When you stay on property, you are literally no more than 50 yards from the first tee. This is something that every serious golfer should experience at least once.

Forest Dunes is home to three fabulous golf courses – on two layouts: The Forest Dunes Course and the Loop, which is played clockwise the first day and counterclockwise the next. The Forest Dunes Course was designed by former PGA TOUR champion turned golf course architect Tom Weiskopf.

Forest Dunes is ranked annually among the nation’s top 25 by all the major golf publications and has garnered numerous accolades from such top publications as Golf Digest, Golfweek, Golf Magazine and The Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella, who declared it #10 on his list of Best Courses You Can Play in the US. Shortly after it opened, Forest Dunes was named by Golf Digest as the Best New Upscale Golf Course in America. Weiskopf himself has placed it in his all-time top three of courses he’s created.

Forest Dunes features 4 sets of tees; the scorecard offers a fifth set that combines tees II and III. From the tips, the course measures a challenging 7,116 yards, with a course rating of 75.2 and a slope of 146. Tee II is also an epic battle at 6,550 (72.3/139) while tee II mellows things out a bit at 5,888 (69.2/127), The Combo Tees proved to be just what the doctor ordered at 5,330 yards (71.3/135. Ladies will find Forest Dunes a challenge from Tee IV (4,993/ 69.9/136). As always, choose the tees that fit your game and you’ll have a lot of fun.

The course features several elements that Weiskopf is known for: A split fairway, a drivable par 4 and a 19th hole – in case you need to settle a bet! It’s a short, 117-yard par 3 that plays over water to a green with a bunker in the middle of the green, much like the 6th hole at Riviera Country Club in California.

Forest Dunes is truly the dichotomy for which it is named. The front nine consists of parkland-style holes wandering with purpose through strands Northern Michigan’s signature pine forests, made up of century-old red and jack pines. Sandy waste areas and elaborate bunkering systems help to form the outline of each hole and keep things interesting along the way. This would be The Forest.

The back nine opens up and is highlighted by rugged native sand dune areas with thick underbrush crossing and bordering several fairways and greens. Water comes into play on three holes on the back nine, four if you count 19. On the front, you don’t see any water until the 8th hole. This would be The Dunes.

Before your round, take advantage of Forest Dunes’ incredible practice facility, included with your paid greens fee. There’s a full-length grass driving range where you can hit every club in your bag, a short game area complete with a grass bunker and a large practice putting green. Up above the practice area is a two-acre, 18 hole putting course.

Most Memorable Hole: Number 19: Par 3, 117 yards. Just in case you haven’t had your fill quite yet, Weiskopf gives you one final opportunity; it’s also a great place to settle bets – or start a new one. It’s a short par 3 that plays slightly downhill over sand dunes and water to a large green with a pot bunker in the middle, reminiscent of the sixth hole at Riviera Country Club. Find the green, make the putt, collect some dough. Easy!

Favorite Par 3: Number 9, 163 yards (II, Combo Tees). The first hole where water is absolutely in play. This hole requires you to carry your tee shot onto the green as 5 sand bunkers surround it. Anything short of the sand will be wet. Find the green off the tee and finish the front nine strong.

Favorite Par 4: Number 17, 278 yards (II, Combo Tees). As I said earlier, a Weiskopf trademark is a short, drivable par-four hole, and Number 17 might be one of the best he has done. In order to reach the green off the tee, you need to fly a lengthy sand dune, filled with fescue grasses, rocks and other obstructions. Hit it too far left and there’s more of the same over there. The other option is to hit it about 210 yards, then play a short pitch shot in to the green with hopes of getting it close. It is risk/reward at its finest!

Favorite Par 5: Number 7, 499 yards (II, Combo Tees). Number 7 is reachable in two, particularly if you can hit a draw shot off the tee. In any event, it’s best to play down the right side to open up the hole. The landing area for your layup shots is narrow as some trees on the left begin to infringe. The green is surrounded by sand except in front, making way for a bump and run shot and leaving no reason not to try and go for it in two. Interestingly enough, the bunker to the right has a tree and some grass in the middle of it. After you play out the hole, turn and admire the beauty of this hole.

Clubhouse & Restaurant

Forest Dunes features an impressive 15,000 square foot clubhouse that includes a well-stocked pro shop, beautifully appointed locker rooms with showers for both men and women and Sagamore’s Restaurant, with both formal and private dining rooms. The food is outstanding with all three meals being served, For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the Breakfast Burrito, two scrambled eggs with onions, sausage and peppers wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. It’s quite filling. Vice President Mark Lutz’s Smoked Chili is a big hit at both lunch and dinner, with smoked tenderloin, onions, peppers, red beans and just the right mix of chili spices. Steaks and burgers are also very popular at Sagamore’s.

Stay & Play

Forest Dunes offers some tremendous stay and play opportunities with several lodging options. Now you can play all three courses without leaving the property.

The Lake Au Sable Lodge is located just a long putt from the first tee. This two-story lodge features 11 standard rooms and two suites and exemplifies the same Adirondack them of the clubhouse. The first floor offers both king and queen bed options that can be joined together if need be. On the second floor are two two-bedroom suites that are perfect for a group of four. The suite includes a sitting area, dining table, full kitchen and private balcony overlooking the first tee. Each bedroom has two queen beds and a bathroom.

In the last couple of years, Forest Dunes has built several villas that are located within walking distance of the clubhouse and across the road from the start of The Loop. Both two and four-bedroom villas are available The two bedrooms are actually quite spacious; each has a small kitchenette, small living area, two bathrooms and four total beds. Four-bedroom units feature the same amenities, along with 4.5 bathrooms and a mix of king and queen beds.

Need more room, consider one of Forest Dunes’ cottages, located throughout the property. These luxury homes range between three and five bedrooms and can sleep between four and eight individuals in their own beds. Each cottage is furnished with linens, towels, dishes and cookware.

If you like what you see and want to consider building a home at Forest Dunes, you can get more information on their website.

Last Word: As you make your way around the course, you can’t help but admire the beauty of the sculpted tee boxes many of which are surrounded by wild fescue rough, exhibiting traits of ocean links layout – minus the water! Weiskopf has done a marvelous job of working this design into the natural surroundings; rarely does a hole look or feel out of place. What The Loop offers in a rugged Scottish feel, Forest Dunes offers golfers a beautiful nature setting.

Risk/reward opportunities abound at Forest Dunes starting with the first hole, which plays over a large sand waste area, daring players to cut off as much of this dogleg right as possible. The fairway is wide enough that the safe approach to the green here is from the left side.

As resort course go, the conditioning at Forest Dunes is second to none. Aesthetically, Forest Dunes is a joy to behold. Exquisitely designed white sand bunkers accentuate the fairways and green complexes, and the sparse use of water is a refreshing change of pace from many courses. For the most part, there is plenty of room around the greens; the areas in front are often accessible with a bump and run shot. Miss to either side of the green and you’ll have to rely on an excellent short game, especially with a lob wedge. A good sand game is also something that will prove valuable as it’s virtually impossible to get around this layout with experiencing it at least once.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 15-19
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

The Dunes

What an incredible course. Amazing, one of a kind layout. Very rewarding if you put the ball in play but the course will show its teeth if you miss in the wrong spot. The greens rolled true but were lightning fast. A really good test of golf. Great practice facility and the staff was very friendly. Well worth the visit. It will surely be one of best courses you’ll ever play.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
2.0
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Used cart

Bring your exterminator friend

I think this was a good course. Can't be really sure because there we so many gnats flying around you couldn't keep your eyes or mouth open. It really ruined the round. We had to race from shot to shot because they only way to get them away was to keep moving.
Until the gnats are gone or they find a bug spray that works I'd stay away.

Conditions Good
Value Fair
Layout Good
Friendliness Fair
Pace Fair
Amenities Fair
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Michigan Advisor
Top 250 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Best manicured course I've ever played

The drive to Forest Dunes can be mundane, but the experience of the course is anything but. The staff is extremely friendly and will point you where you need to go. Top notch practice facilities and clubhouse. The course plays firm and fast, and everything rolls true. Even after a recent heat wave in northern Michigan, there were no yellow spots in the grass at all- amazing! The course was very fun to play and the views are gorgeous. It has taken a place in my top 5 Michigan courses. I recommend this course highly!

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Shot for shot, maybe Michigan's best

As easy as it is to fall for the views at Arcadia Bluffs or Bay Harbor, the best public course in the mitten might be Forest Dunes.
I've played it four or five times now, and it never gets old. I'm glad I've finally figured out its nuances - everything kicks left on the approach on no. 8, for example - and know where to miss it. The use of individual trees as goal posts and the thick forest for doglegs is a great contrast to the stunning holes in the expansive sandy area near the clubhouse (no. 9, no. 17-18 and the bye hole). I almost gave it five stars in every Golf Advisor category, something I've rarely ever done.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Used cart

Forest Dunes - (don't take 4 Mile exit)

My wife and I played July 1st, teed off at 10:37 and finished with the 19th hole (yes they actually have a par 3 with a sand trap in the middle of the green to play after the round to "settle all bets") in 4 hours 10 minutes. Course was pretty nice, staff was great including the maintenance crew. Considering the northern Michigan location, I wouldn't expect anything less in customer service. It was unseasonably hot and humid for July 1st, 93 degrees with 50% humidity. The front nine is the "Forest" and the back nine is the "Dunes" portion of the course. We were extremely grateful for the wind, made the temps bearable. Plenty of water, and restrooms on the course, beverage carts were available also.
The course was easier than expected, huge greens, deep bunkers, some interesting green configurations, multiple tee boxes ranging from 4900 to 7100. Fairways are wide for those that spay the ball. Greens were fast, but thin. I thought for early July the greens would have been more plush.
Getting to the course was an adventure! We were coming from the north on I-75, and the navigation system told us to take the 4 Mile exit. Our GPS took us on some back roads, and if we didn't have an 4 wheel drive, we probably wouldn't have made it.
Overall the course was really nice, staff was very friendly, and for those that want to play a top course in Michigan this is a must play. My next trip to Forest Dunes would be to play the Loop with a caddie!

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
4.0
First Time Playing
Wet weather
Used cart

First time playing, won't be back.

Played for the first time over the weekend. The course itself lived up to all the hype. Beautiful layout, fantastic views. We had to bump our tee time back from the morning to the afternoon because of rain, and the clubhouse staff couldn't have been more accommodating. We were told we got one of the "member" tee times in the afternoon, but didn't think anything of it until late in our round. The starter was really friendly on the first tee, especially for two of us in our foursome who were first timers. After that, however, we were approached about a half dozen times by rangers on the course to inform us about our "slow play." At the turn the starter informed us we were at a 2h45min pace, part of that being slowed down by a ranger on the course to let a twosome pass us. I felt that pace was sufficient for our group.

We surmised that we had a foursome of "members" behind us and they were complaining to the rangers about our "slow" play. It is apparent that staff caters to the membership, which I understand, but they could be a bit more friendly to guests. Our group came to an agreement that we won't play this course again as a result of how we were treated by the rangers.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Average
Pace Good
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Seandelc
Commented On 05/22/2018

No offense, but a 2:45 for 9 holes is snail pace slow, that's 5.5-6 hour round. Not only will members complain at that pace, but so will non-members.

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Played On
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Outstanding Golf & Facilities

We've golfed Forest Dunes for years and this place just keeps getting better.

The regular course was in great condition with perfect greens. We really enjoyed it. The staff there are top notch and are always looking out for you.

Disappointing, however, to find out that the new Loop is walking only. We won't be able to play it because of a knee condition. Just so disappointed in that. We are avid golfers but that was a deal breaker. Also, for now, there is only one restroom out on that course.

This year, they have added a new open structure off the patio that has a large fireplace, lots of seating and three flat screen TVs and a bar! It was terrific. Great addition to the regular immense patio that we love so much.

We staying in one of the new Villas - a 2 BR condo. These were really nice but somehow little things were missed in their design, like a place to plug your phone in at night on the nightstand. This is 2017 - how could they not include something like that? Did enjoy having a living room and small kitchen.

Practice areas are great. They are also adding an 18-hole putting course, which should be fun.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Pristine

A top 2 public course and Michigan. It is a coin flip between this and Arcadia Bluffs, just depending on preference. What I love about Forest Dunes is that it is always in fabulous shape. The name suits the course as it is forest on the front 9 and dunes on the back. If the wind picks up on the back nine, your round can change in an instant. I highly recommend Forest Dunes. I still haven't played the Loop Course yet, because for the same price, I can't imagine it could surpass the Dunes course.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 500 Contributor
Illinois Advisor
First Time Playing

Worthy of the high praise

Let me start off by saying, the course and the resort are certainly worthy of all of the accolades they receive. I couldn’t have been more impressed, not only with the golf, but with the service and accommodations while I was at the resort. First class all the way.

There are enough reviews out there from every golf magazine and writer, that everyone pretty much knows that this course is a top 100 course and worthy of a trip to northern Michigan just to play it. I’ll add my two cents but it won’t be much different from the praise it has already received.

Pros: First, the course itself. The conditioning was great. One of the nicest courses, conditioning wise, you will ever step foot on. From tee to green, I had a hard time coming up with anything to criticize. Even if you miss some of the fairways and end up in a waste area, there is a good chance that you’ll find your ball AND will have a decent lie for a shot out. The greens are fast. Running at a 12 the day I played there. Yet, for being that fast, I didn’t feel like they were unfair.

As for the course design, Tom Weiskopf gets an A+ from me for this design. There’s an excellent balance of playability with risk/reward built in. Multiple holes throughout the course will offer you a safe shot off the tee but makes the second shot into the green longer or from an awkward angle. That same hole will also offer a “short cut” where there may be more trouble, but if you pull the “hero” shot off, your second shot is significantly easier than the “safe route.” Even on holes where the risk/reward isn’t obvious with split fairways, its still there with aggressive or conservative lines off of the tee as well as shots into the greens. Weiskopf did a great job with the placement of hazards, penalizing those who try to cut corners on the dog legs and don’t quite pull it off. This is evident immediately on the first tee where you have to choose your line over bunkers and a sandy waste area. Pull it off and you have significantly cut into the distance of the second shot into the green. Come up short and you will get caught in the bunker or waste area. You are then immediately staring a double bogey in the face.

Holes that stood out to me were the obvious risk/reward holes with split fairways or shortcuts around corners. The aforementioned 1st hole, the 5th hole, the 6th hole appropriately named “Gamble”, the 8th hole, the 10th hole appropriately named “Decision”, the 12th hole, and the drivable par 4 17th hole.

It’s worth mentioning that the variety of the landscape from the front 9 to the back 9 is also fun. The par 3 9th hole is a forced carry over water the entire way to the green. Similar in the way to play it, but different in the view from the tee is the par 3 16th hole. The forced carry is entirely over a sandy waste area. Both are visually intimidating in their own way.

I should also mention the room we stayed in at the resort was very clean, had all the amenities we needed, and provided a great view of the first tee on the Forest Dunes course. I’d certainly have no hesitation staying here again for a night or two.
Cons: It’s hard for me to really call anything a negative with this course because I can’t say there is anything that would prevent me from wanting to come back and play this course anytime I get the chance. Pace of play wasn’t great but it also wasn’t horrible. Yes, there were bugs, but after throwing on some bug spray, they were barely noticeable.

Verdict: Everything about this course makes it worthy of the top rankings it consistently receives. For golf in Michigan, its right up there with Arcadia Bluffs for me. The playability is something that all other golf course designers should strive for. This course is also an excellent compliment for the other course at the resort, The Loop. Two completely different types of golf are required for the two courses which will offer golfers an awesome variety. Both courses are easily in the top 5 courses I have ever played. If you ever get a chance, make the trip to northern Michigan and play it. Highly recommended by me and many other golf periodicals. Pictures from my round here as well as the Loop are on my Instagram and Twitter (same SN on both, Iamdiesel18).

Tips: When standing on the 9th tee box, look at the American flag next to the clubhouse to see what direction the wind is blowing by the green. It was crazy how you couldn’t feel the wind when on the tee box. Another tip is to spend the $6 for a yardage book. If you are going to play aggressively throughout the round, it helps to know all of the yardages to carry certain hazards and to stay short of others.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Excellent golf course met Elliott head pro on 17 tee box and chatted with super individual as was every other staff member friendly and welcoming will be back and junior friendly

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 250 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Worth the drive

Forest Dunes had been on my bucket list for years. The course is strong but not extremely difficult. Nice variety to the holes. The opening hole is a classic, starting with a tee shot that makes you decide just how confident in your swing you are. Wasn't fond of the par 4 13th, though maybe its just one of those holes you have to play a few times to figure out. Greens were smooth and had good speed.
Staff is outstanding. Lodge is a great place to stay and highly recommend the restaurant for breakfast (our two dinners there were just average and a little overpriced).
So the downside was the pace of play. We were told multiple times that 4:30 was the expected pace of play and was usually less than that. After 2 hours and 7 holes, ranger Bill took pity on us (again great staff!) and arranged for us to play thru 3 foursomes in the next few holes. Another group waved us through and we finished in about 4 hours. We then had dinner while we watched the next five groups finish in 5:10-5:20.
Would certainly recommend playing if in Northern Michigan.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Poor
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather

Unbelievable...!

Run, don't walk to Forest Dunes. Unbelievable maintenance, lay our, amenities, staff, housing, food, etc. No surprise that this course in on all of the lists.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

A little disappointing

Getting a chance to play a Top 25-in-the-country ranked public golf course was a thrilling proposition for me. I am sorry to report that I was more than a little disappointed with the experience, though. I expected more for the price that I paid. There was no course map on the scorecard, nor GPS available to help the first timer know where to hit and what to avoid. Access to water on the course was extremely limited. The staff was fine starting with check-in to a pleasant and helpful starter. The practice facility was very nice. The course (and its condition) was acceptable, but not quite the quality (greens, in particular) that I expected for this highly ranked of a course. The "bet settling" par 3 - 19th hole was a unique feature, I will admit. I would recommend this course to anyone who hasn't played it, but for this reviewer, once is enough.

Conditions Average
Value Fair
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Average
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Windy weather
Used cart
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 100 Contributor
Idaho Advisor
First Time Playing
Wet weather

Great course, better experience

Forest Dunes is Golf Digests number 25 public course (and has been ranked in the top 100 since 2007). The course certainly deserves the ranking and the round I had there was great (Note I said “the round,” not “my play”… that’s an important distinction); however, the golf is not what I will remember the most. The best part, hands down, of my visit to Roscommon was the service and attention we received from the staff. This is difference-making, plan-you-trip-around-it level service.

One quick example: we are on a long (golf) road trip (50 rounds in 50 states in 50 days) and had commented (online) about the logistical issues related to planning “laundry days” during the trip. Noticing this and without being asked, the staff at Forest Dunes made arrangements for us to be able to do laundry while staying on property. It’s simple, but it’s little “attention to detail” things like this that bring you back to a destination spot. This was just one of several times when the observant and pro-active staff exceeded not just our expectations; but any imaginary notions of service we might have entertained. Everyone we met at Forest Dunes was enthusiastically engaging.

And then there was the golf. I’d say I played 18 holes of great golf, but that would imply two things that are incorrect 1) that I had played well and 2) that I had played 18 holes. Forest Dunes has a “bye” (or bonus) 19th hole; a short par 3 over water playing about 97 yards on average to a green with a bunker in the dead center of it. It’s just another example of the course going the extra mile (or in this case the extra 20th of one).

The course layout is terrific with essentially two different looks. The front nine is forested and light on waste areas and bunkers while the back is links’ish with a much more open look and vast amounts of waste. Holes 12 and 14 on the back play and look a little more like the front but for the most part the looks are consistent, front and back.

As I was a bit errant with my tee shots today, I was pleased to find that many of the waste areas are easily played out of. I also benefitted from playing in the spring when the grasses hadn’t fully come in yet; there was at least one ball I was able to play that my partner said would have been unplayable later in the year. There is only water on 5 holes (6 if you count #19) but it is very much in play on each of the holes that has it.

The course does not have a great deal of elevation change, however they use a variety of design elements to keep the track both challenging and interesting. One of the things I particularly liked was the lack of penalty for a “pretty good” shot (many courses tend to tilt their fairways, for example, so that only very good shots leave a player on even footing with the ball, I tend to view this as “too much”). Forest Dunes will certainly bite you for making a bad shot, but the less than perfect nature of a “decent shot” is not unnecessarily compounded.

There are also a couple holes which are set up to force the player to make a decision on how to attack the green. I’ve played lots of courses with split greens of one fashion or another, but few of them are as demanding when it comes to thinking through your approach. The aptly named “Gamble” 6th hole is a great example of this. With a shorter more direct route - which requires a 200 yard carry over a fairway wide bunker - to the green on the right and a longer, but much safer off the tee, path to the left; the player can choose their level of risk/reward tolerance.

Other features are the drivable par 4 17th (I hit a 189 yard 6 iron from the “II” tees to about 75 yards) and another spilt fairway choice (shorter and narrower vs. longer and wider) on a #10 hole bearing the moniker “Decision.” The course is also easily walked which, for me, really enhances the round.

Forest Dunes is a great course and an even better experience. My wife and I have already discussed returning for a two (or three) day stay in order to play the new Loop course (a completely reversible course that switches direction every other day) and get in another round at the Dunes. We will almost certainly be back and can’t recommend making the trip out to play this track strongly enough.

Conditions Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Excellent weather
Used cart

starting late

We took the last tee time available and because of the slow play we had to quit after fifteen holes because of darkness. Loved the course and want to go back at earlier tee time and have dinner there.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Fair
Amenities Excellent

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