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Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club

By: Josh Karp

Appeared in September/October 2007 LINKS

The employees at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club have an inside joke. They call their 8-year-old links-style layout a “state park” because more people come to look at the course than actually play it. There is good reason for that.

Sitting on a bluff 180 feet above Lake Michigan, the former cherry orchard provides views and a setting reminiscent of southwest Ireland. Designed by Warren Henderson and Rick Smith, who exposed the native contours rather than invent new ones, Arcadia Bluffs takes advantage of the land’s westward tilt and elevation, with views of the water on every hole.

In addition, the duo ensured that each shot was a separate and distinct challenge. Put it all together, and Arcadia Bluffs is the jewel of Northern Michigan’s abundant public golf landscape.
On the 633-yard 11th hole, the wind off the lake adds to the challenge, often counteracting the 200-foot drop in elevation from tee to green, toward the lake. Standing on the tee, wind in your face and looking out over a fescue-bordered fairway that winds and tumbles toward the water, it’s hard not to think that you could be at Ballybunion or Waterville. Even if you’re just here for a look.   

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