6376 Forest Dunes Drive, Roscommon, Michigan 48653, US
(989) 275-0700
Location Map

About Forest Dunes

Forest Dunes had a rocky start two decades ago, but under owner Lew Thompson has shot to the top of the heap among Michigan's golf resorts. The construction of the Lake AuSable Lodge and The Loop, the ground-breaking reversible course by Tom Doak, has added a stay-and-play component that was never available in the past beyond Tom Weiskopf's excellent original design. With the return of a Hilltop putting course in 2018 (previously dormant for a decade) and the new 10-hole executive course by Riley Johns and Keith Rhebb debuting in 2020, Forest Dunes continues to raise the bar.

Facts

Price Range$$$$
Property Class★★★★
Acres500
Year Opened2002
Number of UnitsLess than 100

Amenities & Services

RestaurantsCasual
Room TypesRoom, Suite
Short CourseYes
Practice FacilityYes
Beach AccessYes
Banquet SpaceYes

Rules

Is the resort pet friendly?No
Is resort stay required for a tee time?No

Golf courses at Forest Dunes

Reviews

4.5
143 Reviews (143)

Reviewer Photos

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Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Reviews 100
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 100 Contributor
Denver Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Worth The Drive

Forest Dunes is the first course at the resort and is well worth the drive from Detroit, Chicago or anywhere within a state or two. The name is perfect as the front nine plays through forest until the 9th hole and the back nine is through sandcapped duneland with some forest that really doesn't come into play.You might have Weiskopf's best work here. You get not one, but two quality drivable par 4s in the 12th and the wonderful 17th. The par 3s play use a variety of clubs and offer a swale, duneland or water in the front on three of them. Most notable is that the greens are more contoured than most of his designs but not so much that there are complaints. However, short game and putting are more interesting/challenging/fun than normal. Almost all of the par 4s and par 5s offer a risk/reward option off the tee making the course very strategic in nature. You are also set in nature the whole time so no houses, etc along the course. Pace of play was under 4 hours which was nice. The course can be penal if you are off your game; however, I think every ball that went off the beaten path was found by our groups.So the penalty is just trying to save par/bogie. The conditioning is excellent as bunkers, fairways and tee boxes were all top notch.
Off the course, you have multiple restaurants and bar areas with really good food and a nice patio bar for outdoor eating/drinking. A very nice setting. The golf has a putting greens, a putting course and driving range for all of your needs. The lodging has a lodge for couples or singles as well as villas/cottages for buddies trips. They are both walking distance from the course. I found the pro-shop, concierge, starter and everybody at the resort to be very kind and do everything they could to make your stay enjoyable.
Negatives are only one: plenty of bugs; however, bug spray will rectify that as one application took them away from me for the whole round.
Don't feel like paying full price? they have a replay rate, shoulder season rates and even a $100 a round rate for Fire/Police/Teachers, etc which I had never seen anywhere else.
Forest Dunes the course is quite different than the Loop in nature so they seem to have found a formula for people playing 36 and/or staying overnight. I suggest that you do the same. Played 36 a day for 3 days and wanted to come back for more.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 15
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Unique Golf Experience

The loop track is like nothing I've played before. It's a throwback concept, no formal tee boxes, simply flags in the ground. The front 9 you're shooting at one color of flag and the back nine it's a different color. We had no issue finding the next hole, or anything like that. It's not your finely manicured course like you'll see at a resort or even Forest Dunes across the street. The fairways are giant, and there isn't much for rough at all, so for us it was extremely playable, you don't lose balls, and you don't get stuck in gnarly rough. The challenge starts as you approach greens. You cannot attack greens, instead you need to roll balls onto the green and there are a ton of undulation in and around the greens, it was extremely challenging to decide what to play. However the point is that you can take on each hole in a different manner. I loved it, and it's a beautiful place. I will say that after hitting several great second shots that rolled off the back of greens I was ready to play a track where I could be aggressive in attacking greens. I got a bit bored and frustrated having to hit 10-15 yards short on every hole, but it's a challenge for your mind. I also played Forest Dunes after my round and would probably advise most golfers to play both, and I likely would have played Forest Dunes first b/c I liked it better and thought it was a prettier course. Most of all it's how golf was originally played and it's cool to take on that throwback. They now allow carts so it's much more manageable.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 15
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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 14
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

A course unlike anything else in Michigan

Loop Black is unlike any other course in Michigan. With the course able to play from either direction, shots that go long can run off the backs and you have a dicy pitch back to the green. Awesome concept with the tee markers, just a small flag where you can tee anywhere on the box. Great tee balls will run for a long time. Greens roll true, but are slower than the Dunes course across the street.
Only bad thing is that if you go off the fairways good luck finding your ball. The rough is like a short brush that you almost have to step on in order to find a wayward ball. Also, make sure you pack a bug spray in your bag. We got ambushed on the back.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 5
Handicap 20-24
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
Incentivized Review
4.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

hard work

Forest dunes is an interesting course - some forest and some sand dunes. The scenery is great. But the course is difficult golf - it was too much sand for me - an intermediate golfer. I did not play the loop but will play that next time I go there

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 69
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
Windy weather
Walked

A Reversible Test

The Loop Black is more difficult than the Red routing. It's astounding how playing the course in a different direction makes it seem like a totally different track. Nowhere else in the world can you be playing the same bunker shot on two different courses on separate days. You'll have little moments of recognition, but both courses have so much character that you'll want to play them again and again.

The links-style play is incredibly fun. Both courses are very nice walks as well. It's a throwback to golden age courses with fast conditions and pleasant walks. You'll play shots here that you won't find anywhere else in Michigan. Get to Forest Dunes as soon as you can and play both routings of the Loop. You won't regret it!

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 69
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
Windy weather
Walked

Pure Golf Fun

The Loop Red is an incredibly fun course to play. I was blown away when I stepped on the first hole. You can use almost anything off the tee and it'll run out to a good location, but it's your second shot that really matters. In true links fashion, you can't stick the greens. You have to play the ball short or run it up. It's a totally different style of play that's hard to find in the states. You really have to adjust your mental game to score well here. The architecture is world class. Trying to figure out both routings in your head is a puzzle you'll think about for a while. Some features on the Black course are even hidden from view on the Red.

I've already booked another tee time to play the Loop. It's one of the best in Michigan. Do yourself a favor and walk a couple of rounds at the Loop. It's like stepping back in time.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 166
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Walked

The Loop: Twice the Fun!

My first encounter with a Tom Doak design was at Black Forest up in Gaylord, Michigan. My recollection was that he liked to bury elephants in the green. The greens had some of the wildest breaks and undulations I had ever seen. They made some of Jack Nicklaus’ designs seem tame.

My second encounter was at Streamsong, where Doak and his Renaissance Golf team of architects created what many believe is one of Florida’s finest courses, Streamsong Blue. The greens, while they didn’t seem to have a much rise and fall as I remember from Black Forest, were extremely fast, which is not entirely Doak’s fault.

My lack of enthusiasm for Tom Doak-designed golf courses changed after I finished playing the first round of his latest creation – the reversible Loop Course at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Rosscommon Michigan. This is one – make that two – incredible golf courses!

Doak had been toying with the idea of creating a reversible course for more than 30 years. The idea comes from The Old Course at St. Andrews, which was played both was during the 19th century. Every now and then you’ll read about an event at The Old Course where it is played backwards.

Doak’s problem was find a piece of land where he could make his dream a reality. Tom now lives in Northern Michigan and knows the area quite well. He felt that the land around the Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon, MI had most of the elements he was looking for. To make a long story short, it just so happened that the course had come under new ownership and there was an interest in adding a second course. Several months later a deal was struck and Doak and his Renaissance team got to work. Very little earth was moved in creating The Loop. Doak did a great job of using the subtilties in the natural topography of the land to shape the holes and arrange them in a clockwise/counterclockwise direction.

The finished product is quite an accomplishment. Eighteen greens that are approach from different directions on different days, creating 36 unique golf holes. A green that plays as a par 3 on Monday could be a par 5 on Tuesday. Tee boxes are a throwback to the old days and are marked with a single small flag. Tee up on either side; there are no defined boundaries. There’s a good reason for this: what may be a tee box on Monday will be part of the fairway on Tuesday. There are three sets of tees on every hole, marked with Black, White and Red markers. They look like little flags and bear The Loop's Infinity logo.

The Loop is as close to Scotland as you can get without using a passport and is reminiscent of some of the great courses in the home of golf. It’s a walking only course, no motorized carts are allowed on the course. Guests may carry their own bag or use a push cart. A third option is to take a caddie. If you’re out to shoot your best score or take money from your buddies, this is a wise move, as their knowledge of the golf course and green complexes may prove a valuable resource.

The main reason this course is walking only is because of the special grasses that Doak used throughout the course. According to some of the maintenance people I spoke with, the fescue grass used cannot withstand the wear and tear of motorized golf carts. As you make your way around, you’ll see that even walkers and pull carts have literally left their mark on the course.

The Red Course plays counterclockwise around The Loop. Your round starts to the right of the 18th green and plays to the red flag in the distance. You play to the red flags on the front nine and the white flags on the back. If all else fails and you lose your way, just keep to the right.

The routing on the Red Course is more traditional; starting you out with holes that lift your spirits and give you hope, only to bring you back to reality on the last few holes. One of the more memorable scoring holes is the short par 4 12th, which can produce a 6 or 7 as easily as a 3 or 4. At only 312 yards from the back tees, many long hitters will be tempted to go for the green off the tee. Although it plays downhill, it’s a long carry over the front bunker and shooting it up the gap on the left can make for a tricky up and down. Long fescue grasses and the odd tree await anything hit to the right.

The Black Course plays clockwise around the property. The round starts left of the 18th green and plays to the white flag in the distance. With this routing, you play to white flags on the front nine, and the red flags on the back, just like you were playing The Old Course at St. Andrews. If you ever get to the point where you’re not sure of which way to go, just keep to the left!

The Black Course starts out tough and finishes somewhat easier than the Red. Coincidently, Number 12 on the Black Course is also a short par 4 and perhaps the most memorable on the entire course – either way. Although you’ll be tempted to thump the ball off the tee between the bunkers on the left, you may want to consider laying up short of the bunker. Anything over the bunker but not far enough left will funnel down the slope and bring the deep bunker on the right side in to play. Too far right off the tee and one of The Loop’s rare trees may hinder your approach shot.

Last Word: The Loop takes golfers back to the simple origins of golf. Hazards typically found in the US are limited; there is no water on the course and only a few man-made bunkers. And, although the course is situated within a state forest, very few trees come into play. There is no first or second cut of rough; if you don’t see your ball when you get up to it, you’re in trouble. That said, there is still an unbelievable amount of trouble in the form of natural wastelands formed over a long period of time and areas of native fescue grasses.

Playing the course just once each way is not nearly enough to develop any kind of feel or to really distinguish one hole from another. In looking back at my rounds on the Red and Black Courses and trying to recreate the rounds, I found that it was necessary to refer to the yardage book, and sometimes that wasn’t enough.
The fairways on The Loop are wide open, especially off the tee, giving you the opportunity to just swing away and hit it as far as you can. This can be both good and bad because The Loop has some of the most intriguing green complexes you will ever encounter. Often there a huge advantage to approaching the green from one side of the fairway and the green complexes require you to hit a variety of shots and be creative if you want to get your ball close to the hole. It really does require a lot of mental acuity to get around the course successfully.

What ended up being the downfall of The Old Course being a reversible course was that memorable holes, such as the Road Hole (No. 17) and the par-3 11th just weren’t the same when played in the opposite direction. Eventually, people only showed up to play it when it played in a particular direction. The Loop is less than two years old so it’s a little early to tell if it will have the same fate.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 166
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
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
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 166
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 38
Handicap 15-19
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 3
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
Reviews 2
Handicap 25+
Skill Intermediate
Plays Twice a year
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Walked

First Time Golfing in Michigan

I live in Florida and had the pleasure of walking 18 holes on my last trip to Michigan where we visiting Forest Dunes and walked The Loop- Red. I'm not a great golfer, but found the course to be really enjoyable to play, fairly easy to walk and all around a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. We played the Red course, but would love to go back and play it in reverse on Black to see how different it is. Beautiful setting, unique course, especially for the area. Will definitely be back and would recommend to friends in Michigan.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 2
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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
1.0
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Walked

Needs Help

It's billed as a throwback to courses in Scotland and they supposedly maintain it as such. Problem is the climate in Michigan is completely different. The course was completely burnt out. Not a problem except for the greens. They have a lot of small greens with wild undulations that, when burnt out, can't hold a shot. It was not fun. Add in that there is no drinking water on the course, you must walk (fine), there are giant gnats swarming you at all times, and it was 90+ degrees and it's not worth playing. Water the greens, find a bug spray that works, and add drinking water and MAYBE you might have a course. Don't waste your money until they do.

Conditions Poor
Value Poor
Layout Poor
Friendliness Fair
Pace Good
Amenities Poor
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 69
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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 512
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
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 7
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
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 16
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Michigan Advisor
First Time Playing
Windy weather
Walked

Lets get a Little Loopy

So first-thing first, you have to walk this course . . . and that is where this review ends . . .

Just kidding, located right across the street from the main Forest Dunes course, this course is wide-open. Walking it was definitely enjoyable, albeit a little tiring. Definitely recommend getting the pull-cart. We had about half the group get caddies, which ranged from great caddying to poop caddying (guy did not know the course, not sure he had ever played golf before, was asking other caddies to read putts, etc. etc.). Anyways, if you don't mind a little exercise, definitely play this course. It is get-able and you can go low, just be wary of some hidden traps going in the opposite direction and play it a little shorter because the ball tends to run out on everything. If you're up by the Dunes, I'd advise to play the original course prior to trying out the loop, but to each their own.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Average
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 2
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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Default User Image
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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