Appeared in May/June 2005 LINKS
By: Michael Patrick Shiels
A financially balky debut will hold down the hoopla for any new course, alluring aesthetics and strategic brawn notwithstanding. Forest Dunes, surrounded by pristine Huron National Forest in north-central Michigan, is a Tom Weiskopf design that’s been quietly delivering the goods since its mid-2002 opening. That subtle coming-out party was a triumph in itself, since the course had sat dormant for two years after its original owners defaulted.
One of the startup lenders, a carpenters’ union pension fund, took control of the project in 2001, and today Forest Dunes is a burgeoning semi-private operation with a cozy new Adirondack-style clubhouse. Firm, fast and fun, the 7,104-yard layout has a ground-game feel to it and seems to sprint from square tees down emerald fairways cut through blonde native grasses, jack pines, exposed dunes and sandy scrabble. Like anything of superior vintage, it’s getting better with age.