Column: Unfamiliar courses present a fun challenge

Golfers around the Tri-Cities are fortunate to have several great courses within an easy drive.
Matt DeYoung
Aug 2, 2012

 

Want to navigate narrow fairways lined by countless trees at an upscale course? Head to Grand Haven Golf Club. Looking for a little more open space, at a lower price tag? Check out Fruitport Golf Course. If you aren’t afraid of a little water on a links style course, visit Pigeon Creek. Want to work on your short game?

Evergreen Executive Golf Course is the place for you.

These are just a few of the great golf options in close proximity to those living on the Lakeshore, and that doesn’t even take into consideration Spring Lake Country Club — a hidden gem not many get to experience because of its private status.

There are enough courses within 30 minutes of the Tri-Cities to keep a golfer busy all summer.

But there’s something to be said for branching out and trying new courses.

Sure, it’s great to know what lies around each dogleg. There’s something comforting about playing a course you know, putting on greens you can read, tipping the same beer cart girl week after week.

My favorite rounds of golf, on the other hand, are on courses I’ve never experienced before.

I love to find an out-of-the-way course that I’ve never played before and take a little road trip, most often with my dad.

Sure, my score might be a few (OK, a dozen) strokes worse on an unfamiliar course. Miss the green left and there’s a hidden bunker back there that you never suspected. That little ditch your ball just rolled into? Yup, it’s full of water. Line up your putt, only to have it break left instead of right because for some unknown reason, the ball always breaks toward some unseen water source miles away.

It’s all part of the allure of a new course.

I love rounding a corner on the cart path and being treated to beautiful views of fairways flanked by water or woods; or pull up to an elevated tee offering stunning views of the countryside spreading out before you.

Golf to me is more than just smashing the ball off the tee and hoping to sink an occasional putt for par. 
It’s a chance to get outside, to enjoy the great outdoors, and to explore all the beautiful courses around the state.

If your thing is heading out to West Ottawa or Oakridge golf courses for league play once a week, that’s great. I’m envious; I only get to play once or twice a month.

So when I do play, I love to get away. This year, my dad and I have made the trip north of Grand Rapids to play Pilgrims Run, and also headed south toward Hamilton for a round at Diamond Springs. Both are outstanding hidden gems, carved out of beautiful Michigan landscapes and well off the beaten path — my favorite kind of golf course.

 

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