Forest Dunes: A Golf Oasis
Located in the middle of nowhere, Northern Michigan, Forest Dunes is a golf oasis and bucket list stop for the ardent golfer. Tucked inside the Huron National Forest, Forest Dunes is filled with nothing but wildlife, serenity and good golf. From the main Dunes course, to the reversible Loop (Red and Black), Bootlegger (Par 3) and Putting Course, this place has everything you need for a weekend filled with golf adventures.
By: Matt Fernandez
The Main Course
19 holes of pure golf. Yes, 19. The main course at Forest Dunes feels like a blend of Augusta National conditions and bunkering, mixed with the ruggedness of Pine Valley spread throughout (the name ‘Forest Dunes’ fits perfectly). With plenty of risk/reward holes, Forest Dunes is the perfect thinkin’-man’s challenge blended with pure fun. This course is truly one-of-a-kind.
The Front Nine
The front nine weaves its way across a tree-lined, perfectly manicured, parkland dunescape. Several holes stand out, ranging from the long dogleg left Par 5, 5th hole to the short double-fairway 6th hole. They save the best for last, however, ending with a dogleg right par 4, and long Par 3, both of which offer an unblocked view of the surrounding land (clubhouse, water, dunes, tall pines, The Bootlegger Par 3 course, etc.) in the distance.
The Back Nine
The true ruggedness of the Dunes start to show their teeth on the back nine. Whilst the front nine is lined with tall pines and deep bunkers, the back-nine uses the natural sandy areas to offer a more natural and rough Pine Valley feel. Almost every hole on the back is filled with dunesy, natural areas ready to swallow up your ball and never give it back.
The 17th hole highlights the back-nine perfectly. A short, drivable Par 4 that begs for you to go for the green. Miss the green and you are absolutely dead, with deep sandy bunkers and fescue pockets virtually everywhere the green and fairway aren’t. This hole can flip a match in an instant… And it usually does.
Many a times, the 19th hole is just a keen nickname for post-round drinks and porch hangs. Not here. The 19th hole actually exists, and all wagers are settled on the 100-yard hole. What seems like an easy shot, isn’t, with water short and a well-placed bunker in the center of the green. Birdie will win, but par could very easily take the cake as well.
The Loop (Red and Black)
A reversible course is hard to comprehend. It doesn’t get much easier even after you actually play it both ways. The Black course loops clockwise, whilst the Red loops counter-clockwise. After a ‘Loop’ or two around the grounds, the pieces start to fall together (somewhat). The subtleties of both loops become apparent and the more you play the two courses, the more you understand them and fall in love with the natural design. The Loop can be described quite simply as firm and fast. The greens feel like they’re build on-top of cement, and the slopes ricochet and rollercoaster your ball all over the fairways and greens. Tom Doak knocked this one (two?) clear out of the park.
The Bootlegger (Par 3 Course)
We played the Bootlegger after 18 on the Loop and let me tell you, the vibes of this place are immaculate. Grab a few buddies and a drink from the Bootlegger outside bar, kick off the shoes, grab a few wedges and have a time. This is what it's all about.
10/10 recommend this place for a golf weekend getaway. Stay right on site and take full advantage of all that Forest Dunes has to offer— you won’t regret it.