6376 Forest Dunes Drive, Roscommon, Michigan 48653, US
(989) 275-0700
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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 2
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
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 6
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
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 373
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 10 Contributor
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Walked

Red beats Black at The (reversible) Loop

The most remarkable thing about playing The Loop both ways (it's reversible) is that they really do seem like two entirely different golf courses. Sure, I recognized some of the features from playing it the other direction the day before, but if I didn't know any better and someone drove me around after playing the Black Course, then placed me on the first tee of the Red, I would think I was on an entirely different golf course. And that's remarkable. Perhaps it's just the genius of the forward thinking of Tom Doak, who certainly doesn't do any cookie cutter courses. In this case, the Red Course, though, seems like the more natural of the two layouts on The Loop. It seemed like there were fewer hidden bunkers and the shots seemed a little more out in front of you. By no means, though, is this course straightforward. A caddie the first time around on this walking only course is a must, not only to help you find the lines off the tee but advise where you want to land it on or in front of the greens. It's not for everyone, I suppose, but I like it.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 44
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

Can't wait to go back again

Prior to even stepping foot on The Loop, I was warned by multiple resort employees that it would play completely different than the Forest Dunes course. Having played several links style course in the Chicago suburbs, and knowing that only a driveway and a parking lot separated the two courses, I was a skeptic. While on the Forest Dunes course, the resort owner, Lew Thompson, stopped by to chat for a minute. He asked if I had played The Loop yet and I told him that I’d be playing it early the next morning. He chuckled and said, “DO NOT play it like you’re playing here. Aim 15 yards short of every green and let the ball run up. I’ve seen balls hit those greens and they end up 20-30 yards past the hole.” Even with those words of advice from the owner of the place, I was still a skeptic.

3 holes into playing the course, I was no longer a skeptic. I knew very quickly that this was a style of golf that I was very unfamiliar with. Links style here, on this course, is real. Other self-purported links style courses that I’ve played are phonies compared to this course. Balls that I flew onto the green would hit, make a hollow thump, and then roll off the back or sides into collection areas. There were no ball marks to be seen on any of the greens. If you don’t land your chips in the perfect spot, be ready to see the ball roll off the green. I putted more balls from 5-10 yards off the greens than I would have ever thought is possible in a round. After hitting driver off the tee on the first and third holes and seeing the ball roll through the fairways into the rough, I learned that I was going to have to be selective off the tee as well. This is not a bomb and gouge course.

So with all of that being said, here’s my advice on how to enjoy your round on The Loop and then I’ll get into my pros and cons of the course.

The Loop is a walking only course. While there aren’t drastic changes in elevation, there are gradual slopes both downhill and uphill throughout the course. Should you typically play rounds riding around in a cart, it might be worth hiring a caddy in order to conserve some energy. That brings me to my second point. I don’t know if I would recommend just going into this course and playing it blind. I suppose it’s doable but you’ll lose some of the fun factor of this course. Should you decide to not hire a caddy to give you tips on how to get around, spend the $6 to purchase a yardage book from the pro shop. Trust me, it’s worth every single penny. In addition to a simple image of the layout of the hole, it gives advice on how to ideally attack the holes and areas to avoid. The yardage book saved me a handful of strokes by helping me avoid deceptive collection areas and by identifying areas where there is a “safe” miss.

Heed all advice the starter gives you. They have a checklist that they run each golfer/group through. It’s all well thought out. Should you go out without a caddy, it can get real easy to get turned around very quickly. The starter gave some excellent tips on how to avoid confusion. And if you didn’t hear it from enough people yet, they will give you some quick tips on how to best play the links style.

Before heading out, make sure you have what you need with you. Since it is walking only, there are beverage carts on the course but they don’t come to you. They are parked off to the side of the course halfway through both the front 9 and the back 9. There is also a well stocked halfway house between holes 9 and 10.

Pros: Playability, playability, playability. This course has wide fairways, multiple tee box options, trees located only in waste areas, no water hazards, and no rough (there are bunkers and waste areas). There is no one “right” way to play a hole. There is no hole that requires a specific type of shot. You can let your creativity run wild when playing this course. You can be as aggressive or as conservative as you want off the tee. I hit driver less than a handful of times. Otherwise, it was 3 woods, hybrids, or long irons off the tee for me. Shots into the greens included high flying wedges, punch 4 irons to run it up, and everything else in between. For me, that is the genius behind Doak’s design and what will make every time playing this course completely unique (on top of the fact that the course is reversible).

Doak did an excellent job when designing this course of “hiding” the fairway bunkers that are in play when playing the course in the opposite direction. I have no doubt that one of the reasons for making this course walking only was to prevent people from crashing their carts into fairway bunkers. From the tee, you may see some mounding out in the fairway which adds some character to the hole. As you walk past that mounding, you realize there is a large fairway bunker on the other side of it. As I walked down the fairways, I loved turning around, looking back, and envisioning how the hole would be played in the opposite direction. They truly are two unique and individual courses.

In addition to the greens being rock hard and repelling approach shots like crazy, they are fast, smooth like glass, and really, really hard to read. The starter told me before the round that the greens are where the course “defends” itself. With the course not having too many other punishing aspects, it still has to protect par in some way. I was told the greens on Forest Dunes were running at a 12 on the stimp. If that’s the case, the greens on The Loop had to be a 12.5 or 13. Should the hole be cut only a couple of paces from the edge of the green or near a ridge, be careful on your lag putting. A handful of times I thought I had hit a great lag putt only to see it roll past the hole, off the green, and into a collection area 6 feet below the green. Even though at times they felt impossibly tough, I loved the challenge of them. I didn’t see the ball hop or bounce on any putt all day. If I missed a putt, I knew the miss was due to operator error.

When walking this course, take a second or two to appreciate the isolation. The silence was refreshing as well as energizing. It’s so different from many courses that are plopped down in the middle of housing additions or resorts,

Cons: I’m being very very picky here because there aren’t too many cons to this course. There are some sections in the fairway where the grass is a little thinner than other areas. With the course just opening last summer, it’s hard for me to question any of the conditioning. As time continues to go by and the course matures more and more, it’s only going to get better and better.

Bugs. Yes there are gnats present throughout the course. Yes they will like to fly around you. Bring bug spray and apply it before the round. If you forget bug spray, they stock it in the pro shop. Buy it. Use it. Nuff said.

Verdict: If I go back to the Forest Dunes resort for two days in the upcoming years, I don’t know if I’ll even play the Forest Dunes course again. I can’t believe I’m saying that about a top 100 course in the US, but I am. I would love to return to play The Loop again in both directions. I feel like I missed out by only playing it one direction this year. If that doesn’t say enough, I don’t know what will. Lew will tell you he loves the course. Tom Doak will tell you he loves the course. Other well known reviewers will tell you they love the course. Go play it and enjoy this unique course and the unique challenges it presents you.

Friendly tip: I played The Loop the day it was the black course. The black course does not ease you into it. The first hole, a long par 4, is no joke and the second hole, a par 3, requires a very precise iron shot into the green. If not warmed up, it can be very easy to start off with back-to back double bogeys.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 44
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
Reviews 373
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Top 10 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Walked

A unique experience, to be sure

You really can't call it links golf, and it's certainly not traditional golf. This is a whole new category: reversible golf. This is two courses in one, and my first experience here was on the Black Course, which is the routing when the course is played in one particular direction. It's enjoyable and certainly challenging and best played with a knowledgeable caddie to help you navigate through this maze. I would have given this five stars but felt like this routing was as defined as its flipside, the Red Course. There were times that the hidden bunkers (which flash the other direction) would come out and grab you by surprise with the potential to create a high number. Putting was also a challenge, to put it mildly. And finding the right place to land approaches (usually short of the hole) was paramount.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 8
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Perfect weather
Walked

Cool Course

The Loop Black is fun course to play and easy to walk. The greens and fairways are hard and fast the ball sounds like it is bouncing off a slate pool table. Greens are much more undulated that I expected. Very difficult to gauge where to land the ball on approaches and chips. Fairways are generous but anything in the tall fescue will be a lost ball or punch out. Highly recommend using a fore caddie helps. The Black plays more uphill than Red Course and is a little harder walk. The hard ground can take a toll on your feet wear your most comfortable golf shoes. A must play course

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
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
Reviews 94
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Top 100 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Walked

Needs to mature

I was intrigued by the reversible course concept since its announcement. As I usually like Tom Doak courses, I couldn't wait to play The Loop. Unfortunately, I should have waited.

The concept was probably executed as well as it could have been - after you play it in both directions, you'll understand the challenges the design team faced. And someday, both loops may become 4 star (I don't see 5) courses, but not now.

The course needs at least two years to mature into the course it can be. The fairways are quite playable, but still growing in. The greens are very nice and play to about the same speed as Forest Dunes. The problem is the ground (including greens) is so firm, it's quite difficult for an average player to hold a shot on the green, even when taking the links golf approach to landing short. Too many times I hit the shot the caddy recommended, only to see it run off the green, sometimes as much as 40 yards (I've played probably 100 rounds on Scottish & Irish links courses, so I'm quite familiar with playing links-style golf). Everyone we talked to said the course needed 2-5 years to soften up to be more playable.

That said, I applaud the vision and innovation of the owner and designer. And the staff and facilities are top-notch. For those who play it, highly recommend taking a caddy for at least the first loop in each direction (though that contributes to the low rating for Value).

If you only have a chance to play it in one direction, the Red course seemed to flow more naturally and have better green angles than the Black.

Conditions Average
Value Fair
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 94
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 100 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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 94
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Top 100 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Walked

Needs to mature

I was intrigued by the reversible course concept since its announcement. As I usually like Tom Doak courses, I couldn't wait to play The Loop. Unfortunately, I should have waited.

The concept was probably executed as well as it could have been - after you play it in both directions, you'll understand the challenges the design team faced. And someday, both loops may become 4 star (I don't see 5) courses, but not now. The course needs at least two years to mature into the course it can be.
The fairways are quite playable, but still growing in. The greens are very nice and play to about the same speed as Forest Dunes. The problem is the ground (including greens) is so firm, it's quite difficult for an average player to hold a shot on the green, even when taking the links golf approach to landing short. Too many times I hit the shot the caddy recommended, only to see it run off the green, sometimes as much as 40 yards (I've played probably 100 rounds on Scottish & Irish links courses, so I'm quite familiar to playing links-style golf). Everyone we talked to said the course needed 2-5 years to soften up to be more playable.

That said, I applaud the vision and innovation of the owner and designer. And the staff and facilities are top-notch.

For those who play it, highly recommend taking a caddy for at least the first loop in each direction (though that contributes to the low rating for Value). If you only have a chance to play it in one direction, the Red course seemed to flow more naturally and have better green angles than the Black.

Conditions Average
Value Fair
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 3
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Walked

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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 26
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Golf Advisor
First Time Playing
Walked

Favorite hole: Par 3, 11th hole (longest par 3 on the Red at 222 yards). Slightly downhill to a narrow green. Bunkered and protected on the front right with a sharp ridge running into the middle of the putting surface to complicate your putt. In general the hole plays shorter than it's yardage, but given it's length that advantage is offset by a relatively small target. I hit the green with my tee shot, but three putted over the ridge for bogey.

Overall the experience was fun and fascinating. I think the mark of a great course makes you want to immediately play it again and I wanted to do that both counter-clockwise (Red) and clockwise (Black). The Red had a gentle start and a very hard four-hole finish.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 11
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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 84
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
Walked

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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
2.0
First Time Playing
Walked

Greens too extreme

Hilarious course.. maybe it was because it is brand new.. Even our caddies didn't know what was going on. Some cool designed holes but the severity of the greens will crush people. Not really that fun to play.

The high handicaps that I played with did not finish several holes.. Love the layout ..

Conditions Good
Value Fair
Layout Fair
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Good weather
Walked

Simply Genius

I played the Red then the Black. Couldn't believe I was on the same course. The look of each hole changed completely from the new direction. Doak's creative genius is on display here at every turn. The fairways are wide (28 to 55 yards wide). There is no rough. Extreme rough (10 to 18 inch tall sparse heather) boarders every fairway. Balls in the extreme rough are generally findable and recovery with a pitch out is recommended. Bunkers are strategic. They are in all the right places and many would be classed as extreme. Approach shots should be hit with care. You must be very tidy when running up to these greens. In true links style, balls hit to land on the green will bounce and roll off the back into places that are intended to make recovery very challenging. For a North American course the greens are as fast and firm as you will find. General conditions allow for Stimpmeter readings of 10"8" and more.
Mr. Doak has incorporated two unique green complex features that play completely differently on the Red and the Black. There are two Biarritz green complexes and on Black number 15 you will find a PERFECT Redan par 3.
The staff is outstanding! Every member will make sure your visit to Forest Dunes is a fond memory.
Take the time to enjoy this Genius Course in both directions. You will be amazed!

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 1
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
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Good weather
Walked

Great Unique Design!!

I was fortunate to be one of the few people to play The Loop, Red and Black, during the preview play that is currently happening. The design is fantastic!! Even though there are only 18 greens, the Red and Black are 2 very different golf courses. The fairways are very forgiving, so you better bring your A game when it comes to short game and putting!! Loved it!! When it completely grows in, Red and Black will rival the best courses in Michigan. Including its neighbor, Forest Dunes. Can't wait to play them all next year!!

Aaron
Houston, TX

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
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