Hemlock Golf Club - hole 3
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Hemlock Golf Club - hole 3
The third hole introduces the sandy section of Hemlock Golf Club in Ludington, Michigan. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock Golf Club - hole 1
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Hemlock Golf Club - hole 1
Hemlock Golf Club starts off with a wide-open par 4 that bends left. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock golf course - hole 4
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Hemlock golf course - hole 4
Tee shots on the fourth hole at Hemlock Golf Club should veer right to avoid the hidden bunker. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock Golf Club - hole 5
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Hemlock Golf Club - hole 5
Weeds and wetlands distract golfers on the par-3 fifth hole at Hemlock Golf Club in Ludington, Michigan. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock G.C. - hole 6
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Hemlock G.C. - hole 6
A lone bunker protects the sixth green at Hemlock Golf Club in Ludington, Mich. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock Golf Club - hole 7
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Hemlock Golf Club - hole 7
The 475-yard seventh hole at Hemlock Golf Club is called "Long John. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Architect Ray Hearn
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Architect Ray Hearn
Hemlock Golf Club architect Ray Hearn has built some of the finest courses in the state of Michigan. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock golf course - 11th
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Hemlock golf course - 11th
The approach to the elevated 11th green might be the toughest on Hemlock Golf Club in Ludington, Michigan. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock Golf Club - hole 12
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Hemlock Golf Club - hole 12
The sandy dune on the par-5 12th hole at Hemlock Golf Club hides the green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock G.C. - 13th
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Hemlock G.C. - 13th
The par-3 13th hole at Hemlock Golf Club is named "Northern Beauty." Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Hemlock Golf Club - hole 18
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Hemlock Golf Club - hole 18
The finishing hole of Hemlock Golf Club is a tricky par 4 with multiple wetlands. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Hemlock Golf Club in Ludington: Discover northern Michigan's hidden gem

LUDINGTON, Mich. -- Michigan-based architect Ray Hearn has built some fine courses in this state. Hemlock Golf Club, a 6965-yard layout that opened in 2002, might be his most unique.

Hearn unearthed several dune-like waves of sand in a corner of the property to create interesting features on holes 3, 4 and 12. The green of the 302-yard third hole is surrounded by sand. It's probably wise to lay up, but the temptation to go for it is so strong. The sandy waste area of the fourth hole is definitely more subtle, hidden from view off the tee. The mammoth dune on the quirky par-5 12th hole -- called "Dune Beast" -- blocks a green hidden on the other side. A giant tree dissects the split fairway, forcing players to pick which side to attack. It's a tricky challenge that some love; others aren't so sure.

Of the more traditional tree-lined holes, none looks better than "Northern Beauty," the par-3 13th hole that drops off an elevated tee.

The infrastructure isn't there yet -- missing are a full-service clubhouse and other courses and golf resorts to attract more stay-and-plays -- but as a stand-alone course, few are as interesting as Hemlock.

In his review, Golf Advisor szczechowski indicated his round "immediately vaulted it into my top 5 in the state." He added: "The course definitely has the 'up north' feel, but with a distinctly 'southern coast' influence. There are quite a few holes that, if you dropped someone off that didn't know where they were, would immediately think they were playing a course in the coastal Carolinas or Georgia.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Hemlock Golf Club in Ludington: Discover northern Michigan's hidden gem
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