Feature Interview with Mike DeVries
April, 2002

Mike DeVries has been around golf his whole life, first learning the game from his grandfather andcontinuing the passion while working at Crystal Downs throughout high school and college. He worked with Tom Doak for 2 1/2 years prior to returning to school to earn his Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan. During his graduate study, DeVries freelanced on various golf construction projects and drew plans for Bill Newcomb one summer. Upon finishing his degree, he foundedDeVries Designs, Inc. and worked for Tom Fazio as an on-site design coordinator for 15 months. Since 1996, Mike has been working on his own solo work and, just recently, hired his first associate, Dave Zinkand.

1) You grew up playing golf and working at Crystal Downs. How has Crystal Downs influenced your own work?

It is the real reason that I do what I do. After being introduced to the game by my grandfather when I was 8 or 10 years and playing the game at the local nine-hole course, I would often follow my grandparents and uncle around the Downs when they would play or take a lesson.

Ultimately, I took a lesson or two from John Vaughn, the pro there before Fred Muller, and started working for Fred in the pro shop when I was 15. A couple of summers later, I began working on the grounds crew during the week and the pro shop on the weekends. The next summer, and throughout college, I worked on the grounds crew – that was really the ultimate job, up early with the light of day, mowing greens or setting cups on one of the greatest sets of greens in the world, and then having mid-afternoon on to play golf, windsurf, or whatever.

Being on the course and poring over all the nuances that it possesses was, and continues to be, the greatest influence on my design. Every time that I am there I learn something new or see something new, whether that is how the light at that time of day and year hits a certain feature, how another player, no matter his ability, attacks the course, or how I play a certain hole because of the conditions and my abilities that day. It is one of the few places where you can never become totally satiated – it is totally fun and a growth experience every time you step on the property.

2) What makes Crystal Downs so great?

The setting and land are really special and the course only compliments them. First of all, there are some incredible golf holes on the course, unique in the world, but the flow and rhythm of the golf course is the real secret to the completeness of the golf course. It is like a really good theatrical presentation in how it rises and falls throughout the round, climaxing at just the right spots to highlight the round.

Welcome to Crystal Downs!

On the first tee, you see Crystal Lake and the hills in the distance and the entire front nine in view before you. A daunting first hole of 460 yards, usually into the wind but downhill to a sloping fairway, typically leaves you with a long approach to a wickedly severe green – it screams WELCOME TO CRYSTAL DOWNS!!!! Once you have survived that assault, you turn to the 425 yard second, a continuous uphill rise to another exceptional green. You are constantly captivated by this broad valley of rippled ground, with a difficult start through 4 holes and then three short par fours at holes 5, 6, and 7. Each unique and special in its own way and offering legitimate opportunities for birdies or bogies, although the better players will feel the pressure to score well here, all with the prospect of the par five eighth and short ninth coming up. My uncle, a big hitter in his youth, once said he could play 5, 6, and 7 all day long and never be bored – that is a fine measure of quality and what golf is all about. The 8th is one of the world’s great par fives with its schizophrenic landing area, difficult second shot from an awkward lie, and even more difficult approach to a small pinnacle of sloping death! Despite the difficulty of this all-uphill journey, you are left invigorated, no matter what your score (well, unless you just lost the front side to your buddy there!). The front nine finishes on an uphill (30′!) par three to another fantastic green and, along with the tenth tee, provides you with the climax to the first act – an overview of the front side and a view of Crystal Lake again.

After a seemingly simple tenth, with you three-putting the green, the golf plays through a narrow band of forest at the par three 11th, you climb out at the 12th tee to a broad plateau of old orchard. The twelfth and thirteenth holes are demanding long par fours, followed by the shortest hole at #14, a delicate pitch across a ‘dunish’ grassland. At the green, one is presented with the climax of the second act, a view of Lake Michigan’s Platte Bay and the Empire Bluffs in the distance (70 years ago, Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes was visible, but that has since been obscured by trees).

The homestretch is no less exciting, with the short, par four 15th followed by the longest hole on the course, a 588 yard par five. Re-entering the band of forest and walking slightly downhill, one is awestruck at the seventeenth tee by the view to Lake Michigan in the distance and the lack of a level landing area for this 311 yards of sheer terror! The green is plainly visible, a simple tilt of short grass at the end of a high roll in the landscape. Once you finally find the green surface, just try to concentrate on the putt because you are presented with views of Crystal Lake, Lake Michigan, and glimpses of the front nine and tenth hole below.

Sheer terror - the 17th at Crystal Downs in the wind.

After this final climax, the round concludes with a view across a broad, welcoming valley to the clubhouse on its high bluff. The drive offers big hitters the opportunity to cut the corner over a large clump of birch trees to get close to the green. A mishit could be very recoverable or deadly, depending on the rub of the green. Safe or not, the approach must avoid nine bunkers which encircle the tiny green at the end of the valley. This is the ultimate way to finish off a round, not too demanding, but requiring precision in your selection and execution should you decide to gamble or put pressure on your opponent in a tight match.

Another way to analyze Crystal Downs is by looking at the sets of holes: par threes, short fours, medium fours, long fours, and the two par fives. Each set has great diversity and character among them, offering challenge, finesse, strategy, and fun. There really is not a weak hole among the 18 and nothing is forced – it is complete.

3) You’re currently putting your knowledge of Dr. MacKenzie’s style and philosophy to use, restoring his original designs at the Meadow Club and St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Could you tell us about the work being undertaken on those particular courses?

Both are restorations to their original design intents. Meadow Club is the first course MacKenzie completed in North America and that is important historically as the beginning of his most influential period of design. St. Charles is the only work he ever performed in Canada. So I am very flattered to be helping these clubs preserve this bit of history.

Meadow Club (1927) has been fairly untouched over the years. Although, during the Depression and through the second World War, the greens shrank considerably and bunkers disappeared, leaving the work in place but not with its original intent of being a model of the Old Course at St. Andrews, with its wide open meadow setting allowing the players to choose the line of attack they most desired. Additionally, trees were planted in the 50’s and 60’s and the bunkers were rebuilt in the late 70’s, but not to the original style. All of the greens are intact except for the third, which was rebuilt after a mudslide damaged it beyond recognition. The intent of the project is to restore the greens to their original dimensions and the bunkers to their former ragged selves. We will also be selectively removing trees to restore strategic elements and looking to improve their practice facility, which is very inadequate for the size and amount of use.

At St. Charles, we have built a short game practice facility and have begun the process for a Long Range Golf Course Improvement Plan. Last fall, we restored the green surface and surrounding bunkers of the 4th hole on the MacKenzie course as a pilot project so the members could see the process of how we would carry out that work on the course. We have also begun to restore some width to the fairways, which had been quite removed from the hazards and lost some of their strategic value. Please see below for more on St. Charles.

4) St. Charles possesses 27 holes, nine each designed by three different architects, including Dr. MacKenzie and Donald Ross. Are you faithfully restoring each nine hole course in the style of the original architects?

Each of the nines by MacKenzie (North nine) and Ross (South nine) have had greens moved or holes changed significantly or completely over the years, and without enough documentation available, we have no way of accurately doing a perfect restoration of the courses to their beginning time period. The main intent of the project is to restore those existing features that still exist through reclaiming lost green and fairway playing area, restoring the appropriate bunker style to each nine, and selectively removing inappropriate trees that are crowding play space. To complete the project, we will have to re-evaluate the non-original work for the best way to reintroduce the original intent of either MacKenzie or Ross so that the entire nine holes will flow together and complete itself. We are hopeful that we can develop the two Masters’ nines as distinct examples of their philosophy and work, because, as far as we can tell, this is the only property in the world that has both Ross and MacKenzie on it and we want to reinforce that uniqueness.

The West nine was originally done by Tom Bendelow and was changed in the 1950’s when some land was sold, the polo field was removed, and Norman Woods came in to design a new nine holes. This nine has subsequently had numerous changes to it over the years and suffers some serious drainage problems in its current state. Due to the constant meddling and drainage problems, we may develop a more extensive renovation of this nine holes that will be carried out after the other two nines have been restored.

5) How do recent advancements in club and ball technology affect your work on classic layouts?

It is always a consideration that must be kept in mind and one of the more difficult issues that we face today. But the underlying consideration is who is the ultimate user of the course – most probably it is the club player and not the tour pro. Granted, there are some excellent scratch players at clubs that are hitting driver-wedge all day, but you can’t redefine an entire course to suit a small percentage of players. It is being demonstrated that many of the new advancements are only fully utilized by the very proficient players and so it is not as much of a concern at the regular players’ level.

What is really distressing is that the tour players are so good that technology could destroy what is really good about golf – the variety of the game’s unique venues and open environment that require a player to adapt to the current conditions to play his best. I don’t know what the answer is, but it would be interesting to see what some alternatives (such as throttling the ball back down) on a limited, trial basis would do for golf. It might be the savior of the game by making it more affordable through the need for less land and less renovation to lengthen a course to ‘stay competitive.’

6) Neither Pilgrim’s Run nor The Kingsley Club exceed 7,000 yards. How do these golf courses challenge better players in absence of excess length?

Well, actually, Pilgrim’s Run is over 7000 yards from the back tees, but at par 73 that is not very much these days.

I am always trying to utilize the inherent features of a site to create the best rhythm and flow to the golf course. That is much more important than some formula or thought that I have to hit a certain number on the scorecard to make it challenging or interesting for any player. By concentrating on creating great golf holes and tying them together into an infinitely exciting and different round of golf experiences and difficulties will ultimately lead to a course that challenges the better player by giving him options and making him think about what he needs to do to score well on a hole. If you can give them several options that have merit and the course is blessed with a variety of playing conditions, then the player will have to concentrate hard to not second-guess himself as to his decision. If you only give them one alternative, the better player will realize that and be fully committed, execute the shot with no worries and score well. With options, if you can give them just a little less security, then they may make a mistake, either mentally or physically, and still score okay, but be intrigued to come back and try again. That is the ultimate satisfaction – providing endless opportunities for golfers to expand their game.

At Pilgrim’s Run, we were building the back nine and the front was playable, but not open yet. A friend of Kris Shumaker’s, the builder/designer-coordinator/superintendent, came by frequently to play. He is a low single-digit handicap public golfer and was observing the process of golf course construction for the first time, often asking questions and offering comments or disagreements with something we were doing. But after playing it about five times, he came up to me and said how he noticed this feature or that and how it had changed his perception. By the fifteenth playing, he was really excited about finding a little something new every time he played. That is really a great feeling – seeing someone who is a good player find new enjoyment in the golf course every time they come out.

At Kingsley, there is quite a variety of contour, combined with an ever-present wind, that makes creative shot-making a necessity at times and that lends itself to many options for the golfers. Being a members’ course, having a diverse amount of challenges to everyone’s game will be essential to giving the members a great deal of enjoyment over the years. The feedback has been very enthusiastic so far and players are seeing more and more with each round.

Placed on a knob, the tiny 15th green at The Kingsley Club will always require shotmaking skills.

7) The green complexes at Pilgrim’s Run are inspiring by all accounts. What influenced your work on the greens there?

First, Crystal Downs will always be the most influential source of inspiration for me. But many of the older classic courses have wonderful greens that don’t follow the rules and those provide great thoughts when you begin to build a green.

Secondly, working with Tom Doak and seeing how he built greens definitely influenced my approach to the process – actually getting on equipment to build something and letting it evolve from a concept to the final product.

At Pilgrim’s Run, we had six individuals that were involved with three holes apiece, so I had to take into account what they were all looking for and then integrating them to fit together as a whole. They were very receptive to the ideas that Kris and I presented to them and ultimately the goal of creating a course that flowed out of the landscape features was everyone’s goal. By concentrating on letting the first directive of letting the land dictate the settings and with Kris backing me off of something that would not fit in with the co-designer’s feelings (or maybe something too extreme), it wound up as a really good fit and presents a number of different situations throughout the round.

8) The Kingsley Club recently debuted #98 on Golfweek’s 2002 list of the Best Modern courses in America. As a golf architect, how much do course rankings affect your thoughts on design?

I don’t think the rankings affect my design philosophy at all. Certainly, I try to see what are regarded as the better courses and some of those courses or certain holes will affect how I think about design, but I don’t design in a particular fashion because I think it will get ranked. If a course has its own identity and offers a constant interest to players, then it may have a chance of being ranked, but designing with a certain set of rigid criteria is not something I aspire to do.

9) Very little earth was moved at Kingsley. The course exhibits some dramatic and abrupt native contour. How many potential routings did you come up with before settling on the final sequence of holes, as it exists today? (Could you explain the process of routing the course, please.)

I don’t know the actual number of routings I did, but it was a lot. Some holes or portions of a course are readily apparent, but it is how they fit into the entire puzzle that is really important. There is a great short par five on the Kingsley property that crosses holes 2, 3, 4, and 6 in some part, but it didn’t fit in with anything else in the proper manner, so it is out-of-luck.

I spend a great deal of time trudging across the property, getting to know and sense the lay of the land so that when I sit down and plot holes on a topographic map, I have some sense of where a feature is and what it feels like on the ground. That ultimately lets me ‘see and feel’ the golf holes better as a circuit. Of course, some areas are less accessible and that is not always practical, but it is very important to really get to know the land.

I look for ‘natural’ holes that fall across the landscape (see the par 5 above that never materialized), greensites of all sorts, teeing locations, significant trees or ground contours, vistas or relations to features external to the property, and anything else that attracts attention.

Ultimately, I start trying to put all of these parts together into holes and piece them into consecutive hole combinations. Start looking at possibilities for access, power, water, etc. and how those might fit in. Add the owner’s desires. Look at budget considerations. Pull it apart and put it back together.

Cook these for as long as you can, because you always miss something along the way. Visit the site more and walk the routing if you can. Go over and over the various issues until I feel confident that we have the best balance of all the factors to produce the best rhythm and flow to the course possible.

10) How did the decision to plant Kingsley’s fairways with a pure fescue blend come about? Did that decision allow you to design more for the ground game than otherwise?

The ground game was always a priority with the design and we wanted to explore how we could best accentuate that element. With the windy nature of the site, having a ground game option is very important to playability and diversity in the golf course, and good fescue turf is the ultimate choice if conditions are right for it.

Dan Lucas, the superintendent and construction manager at Kingsley, was on board prior to construction and is an excellent turf manager – one of those people that really understands how grass grows and spends time with the grass to produce great playing conditions. Dan and I spent a great deal of time talking about how we wanted the turf to play and react for golfers. We spent time with the owners, Ed Walker and Art Preston, and with consultant Fred Muller discussing the virtues of various grass types and combinations and fallbacks if the fescue wasn’t as successful as hoped. This led Dan to the 8-variety blend of fescue that is the maintained turf from tee to green, along with bent tees and greens, and a native mix for the outer roughs. We looked into the fescue-colonial bent combinations that are more common, but Dan decided to go with the fescues, knowing we could overseed colonial or another species. We still have snow on the ground right now, but the fescue is doing great and I am confident that Dan will have it playing perfect again this season.

11) How important is the grassing scheme in determining the overall character of a golf course?

The most important aspect of the turf is how well it performs agronomically, reacts with the club and ball, and how it plays for the variety of conditions in its environment. This is an emphasis on the playability of the golf course.

Aesthetically, the turf chosen can heavily influence the character of the golf course and this is usually the most important factor of the grassing scheme to the owner or player of a course. Having perfect turf delineated by variety, height of cut, and area can definitely set the tone for a setting of American parkland golf. On the other end, British links courses are scraggly, sparse, and undefined with their mottled mix of turf species that grow where they are best suited to the climate and soil conditions.

Maintenance certainly influences how the turf looks and affects its play. A rich, lush green looks beautiful, but is it kept that way at the expense of playability and diversity in the style of play? Does the dull, parched links play great but look unattractive to the majority of golfers? Again, many times the ownership and golfing clientele will dictate where this leads a project.

The selected grasses at The Kingsley Club add drama and texture to the course.

12) In the classical vein, your courses are designed around ground features. How much influence can golf architects realistically have on the future maintenance of their designs?

Hopefully, a program and understanding of the maintenance of the golf course and its importance to the strategy to the course will be developed with the help of a superintendent from the very beginning. This not only helps the designer see certain limitations or opportunities, but introduces the superintendent into the philosophical mode of how the turf should play for optimum diversity in the game.

Leaving behind a detailed idea of how the golf course should be maintained is possible, but will it be followed? GPSing or using aerial photos to capture the mowing patterns once they are firmly established in the right position is another way to record the proper maintenance boundaries, with the knowledge that it is a snapshot in time.

Having an owner that is fully committed to the philosophy of the golf course is the best way to ensure that the maintenance will not change drastically.

13) Before venturing out on your own in 1994, you worked with both Tom Doak and Tom Fazio. How have these men influenced your design style and philosophies, if at all?

Tom Doak really took me in and taught me about construction and design in the fashion that he had learned from Pete Dye. Going out and building the golf course in the field, on equipment, with your hands, and getting dirty is the way to really express yourself. It was a natural transition for me after all my years of working on the grounds crew at Crystal Downs. We were always talking about strategy, shot variety, and everything about Golf! Golf! Golf! That was very engaging and fun to explore; I always felt a part of the process and able to contribute to the design. Tom really pushes the envelope by taking some chances and that leads to great successes and some not so great, with players sometimes appreciating what he accomplished and sometimes detesting it. But that also leads to very critical thinking of the subject and I really admire that quality and his work.

Tom Fazio does work at the highest level of the business and imparts the ethic of always seeking the best quality possible out of every project and from every aspect from those around him. He is an amazing person for how easy he is to approach, whether one-on-one or in a large group. When I first met him, it was to interview (to see if the position and project ‘fit’ for both of us) as an on-site design coordinator and I tagged along on a walk-through of a project that had just started construction. In less than 5 minutes, I felt comfortable asking questions or lending an opinion about what was being done and that was a wonderful feeling, since he commands such great respect. But, even more, his respect of everyone involved on a project and the desire to do the absolute best work is really impressive.

14) Which golf course is a personal favorite that readers may not be familiar with? Why?

Western Gailes in Scotland is a wonderful course that is known by many on GCA but is not really talked about much. A traditional links course that goes north for 4 holes, turns south for the next 9, and then back north for the last 5 holes. This provides an unusual opportunity to play a shorter loop of holes and get back to the clubhouse on a links course. The southward holes are all along the shore and often you are standing on the dunetop for the tee shot, looking at the waves crash on the shore, with gnarly dunegrass in front of you and a wildly undulating fairway to try to hit, followed by a green nestled among the dunes. The great thing about it is that you feel sheltered in the fairway but a high shot can easily find the wind and be blown off track, giving you another challenge.

The course has some wonderfully quirky holes, long solid par fours that are brutal into the wind, the feel of the sea, and great memories for me. The day I played it was blowing hard from the S-SW with rain and in the 40’s, but we had a great time kidding each other and enjoying the insanity of the elements at times, all with some good golf along the way. Most rewarding for me was the 6th, a short par five of 506 yards. The landing area for the drive has a bunch of wild humps and bumps that can scatter your ball in any direction, stop it dead, or propel it further down the fairway. From there you are looking at a huge dune between you and the green, which is hidden in a bowl behind the dune. The shot is through a gap to the right of the dune, leaving a short approach with a sharp knob just at the right front of the green. I hit 1-iron, 3-iron, and 3-iron again into a big wind to be just at the base of the knob on the approach, putted over the knob and watched the ball roll 12 feet past the flagstick, which was tight to the knob. I drained the putt and felt like I had just won the Open – the combination of the elements I was fighting against, the three solid strikes to get to the green, followed by the 2 delicate putts was an exhilarating event and really stands out as what the game is all about – having fun and challenging ourselves to do the best we can.

15) Which course that you haven’t seen would you like to visit most?

Royal Melbourne. Of course, I am partial to Dr. MacKenzie’s work and that is certainly one of the world’s greatest courses. In fact, Australia has some incredible golf courses and I look forward to getting there sometime soon.

David Scaletti's photograph of the 6th on the West Course at Royal Melbourne.

16) You’ve recently finished a new course called Diamond Springs in collaboration with Kris Shumaker, who was involved with the design and construction Pilgrim’s Run. Can you tell us about Diamond Springs, and also the unique concept behind its development?

Kris left Pilgrim’s Run because he wanted to develop a real ‘mom and pop’ feel with his own golf course, where he would run the operation and it would be excellent golf but inexpensive so that everyone could afford to play there. To make it economical, he had to find an interesting piece of property with good soils, near a population base, and be able to maintain the course for less than the typical quality golf course.

Kris spent a great deal of time finding the piece of property, which is bordered by farms and state forest. The land is generally flat and lightly forested. Most of the property is dominated by a series of eskers (long ridge formations broad enough for a tee or green complex and ranging from 10-25 feet high) running east-west and a ravine (20-30 feet deep and 100-200 feet across) with a stream at the bottom that was formerly a sawmill pond. It is geographically centered from Holland, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, so there is a large population base within 30-45 minutes.

Kris developed a routing and I consulted with him on a regular basis to talk about concepts and ideas, as well as shaping many of the greens. He is always concerned about giving his clientele a good test of golf but wants them to also be able to get around without too much trouble. With 6 holes adjacent to or crossing the ravine, we needed width to enable the higher handicapper to work around the hazards and still create opportunities for the better players to ‘go for it.’ For ease of maintenance and reducing costs, Kris opted to maintain tightly-mown dwarf bluegrass with a large gang mower – essentially one cut for the fairway and rough from tee to green. This allowed us to create a wide play space for the average player while incorporating a preferred line of attack for the low handicapper and reduce the maintenance cost.

The front nine was opened last summer and received better than expected play, since there was really no publicity. The full 18 will be available sometime in late spring or early summer this year – come check it out!

17) Choose one favorite hole each from Pilgrim’s Run, The Kingsley Club and Diamond Springs and explain why you like that particular hole so much.

Well, that is not a fair question – it is like choosing your favorite child! Seriously, it is very difficult for me to do, particularly because I like to think in terms of the combinations of holes and how they fit together, so picking a string a holes is easier for me.

At Kingsley, that collection would be ‘the south plateau’ – holes 2 through 6 and 7 tee. This wildly undulating landform has a deep (about 50′) sinkhole in the middle of it and from the 2nd tee, the area is entirely visible, working around the sinkhole on the rim above, with the routing returning the player back to a location in several instances but giving him a different orientation to the landscape. The holes are exposed to the wind and offer a wide variety of shots: the 2nd is a short par 3 along a ridge to a narrow green, the third is a long par 4 with a fairway that rolls off into hollows on either side of the center flat area and finishes at a big green bisected by a large ridge, the fourth is a medium par 4 with a hogback landing area and approach to a huge double punchbowl green, the fifth is a partially-obscured long par three over a rough valley to a punchbowl green, and the sixth is a medium-short par 4 that drives to a sloping fairway and approaches between a gap in the sand ridges to a green with shaved turf falling away on the left and rear. At the seventh tee, you get to look back at the holes you just played and then view the next three holes before driving down into the valley of the par five seventh.

A view from the 7th tee at The Kingsley Club.

Diamond Springs has wonderful ground throughout the course, but the finish is really special. The fourteenth is a pitch across the ravine, where the boardwalk over to the green is just above remnants of an old dam with a little 6′ waterfall that sounds like Niagara in its sheltered location. The fifteenth is a very short par 4 where you can choose to go for the green across the ravine or play short over to the hogback fairway, knowing you may get a blind approach if you play too safe. The sixteenth is a short-medium par 5 that allows the gambler to skirt the ravine if he decides to go for it in two and the 17th is a long par three across the ravine (forward tee on the green side) to a generous-sized area. The closing hole gives the player the opportunity to fly the ball to the green or use a slope on the left to work the ball on the approach. It is a very exciting finish for any golf course, and at its price of $26-30 per round, it is a great bargain.

At Pilgrim’s Run, there are a couple of series of holes that I really like. The sixth is a short par 5 with a center bunker in the landing area and an approach up a rising hill with bunkers flanking the hillside on the left (and in front of the green for the ‘safe drive’). That is followed by a medium-long par three downhill over rolling terrain to a large and undulating green. Between the two holes is an open bog that offers views across to the other hole and is a wonderful setting. On the back side, the fourteenth is a difficult par 4 that opens up at the landing area to look across the par 3 fifteenth and further to the long par four 16th. Each of these holes provides an interconnectedness to one another that is refreshing, offering a glimpse of what is to come or where you just were. And they are challenging, memorable holes to play.

18) What are you working on at present?

Restoration work is continuing at Meadow Club, St. Charles, and Walnut Hills in East Lansing, Michigan.

We are planning an 18-hole addition to Marquette Golf & Country Club in Marquette, Michigan. They have 9 holes by Langford & Moreau from 1927 and 9 holes that were added in the late 60’s by David Gill. We will build the front 9 holes this summer (the next nine’s construction is still to be determined) and that will be accessed from the current golf facilities. The property is rugged and presents a number of challenges: we have quite a bit of elevation change (200′ total on the property), a large portion of wetlands (including a trout stream already disturbed by a utility crossing), and a lot of rock outcroppings and some near-vertical walls up to sixty feet high. These obstacles present challenges and provide dramatic opportunities to accent the holes. The key to a great design here will be to use them to an advantage but not overexploit them to where there is too much ‘wow factor.’ I am really pleased with the routing we have and like its diversity.

Marquette Golf & Country Club – Orianna Course

Hole Back Regular Middle Forward Par
1 588 588 521 468 5
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22

2

427

387

347

307

4

3

172

160

140

113

3

4

422

405

372

282

4

5

351

321

281

257

4

6

208

185

140

95

3

7

470

440

400

290

4

8

333

298

253

233

4

9

400

341

317

295

4

Out

3371

3095

2771

2340

35

10

363

343

310

263

4

11

388

358

343

303

4

12

463

428

353

293

4

13

550

523

445

430

5

14

407

387

347

292

4

15

222

190

160

115

3

16

433

416

353

343

4

17

155

140

125

93

3

18

563

503

463

413

5

In

3544

3288

2899

2545

36

Out

3371

3095

2771

2340

35

Total

6915

6383

5670

4885

71

The other new project is the Cedars Golf Course near Muskegon, Michigan. It is part of a residential development that already has homes built, but the golf course is (primarily) a core golf course with development at the perimeter, with the owner committed to having a buffer between the homes and course. It occupies a wonderful, rolling, sandy site and the development has a broad creek valley below it that is very scenic. It is forested with oaks and pines (some BIG white pines) and there is a small ravine that is crossed three times on the back nine. The course will be a mid-range daily-fee facility, with the possibility of some memberships. The golf course offers a wonderful variety of contours in valleys, ridges, across a ravine, and around an irrigation lake to give the golfer a number of different stances and shot-making opportunities – it will be a course that players will want to return to challenge again and again.

Scorecard for Cedars Golf Course

HOLE

PAR

YARDS

1

5

588

2

4

353

3

3

138

4

4

448

5

3

167

6

4

357

7

4

423

8

3

180

9

5

525

OUT

35

3179

10

4

378

11

3

160

12

4

350

13

5

533

14

4

443

15

5

600

16

4

300

17

4

415

18

4

440

IN

37

3619

OUT

35

3179

TOTAL

72

6798

The End

The End