Forest Dunes adds fun, par-3 Short Course in Michigan


Forest Dunes already had two of the best golf courses in Michigan, but now there’s even more reason to visit the resort in Roscommon.

Forest Dunes this month opened its new Short Course, a 10-hole, 1,135-yarder designed by Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns, the designers of the popular Winter Park Golf Course near Orlando.

The Short Course is situated between Forest Dunes’ original course designed by Tom Weiskopf, which ranks No. 3 in Michigan on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list, and the Loop, a reversible Tom Doak design that ranks No. 4 in the state. The holes measure between 65 and 110 yards.

“We essentially had carte blanche from (Forest Dunes owner Lew Thompson), which was awesome, and really the only way we could get the project completed in time,” Rhebb, who also works frequently as a shaper for Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, said in a news release. “You don’t often get the chance to get super creative when designing courses, but with the Short Course we really had the opportunity to have some fun with it. Lew wanted it to be fun and always engaging, and we were able to express that in the design.”

The news release said “the Short Course’s creative greens were constructed to funnel balls toward pin locations, improving the likelihood of holes-in-one, while a few tee shots tempt players to make use of strategic slopes and banks instead of flying it in the air. The greens showcase a variety of subtle shapes, many being bowl-shaped and some resembling catcher’s mitts or tabletops.”

Thompson said in the release that music, bare feet and eightsomes are all fair game on the new par-3 course if that’s what it takes to make the game more accessible and fun.

“When you come to Forest Dunes, we want you to have a good time,” Thompson said. “What Keith and Riley have built is bringing a new life and energy to the property. It’s going to bring people together and make their time here more enjoyable.”

Adding short courses is a growing trend for operators of premium golf destinations, with the 13-hole, par-3 Preserve at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon and the nine-hole, par-3 Cradle at Pinehurst in North Carolina serving as prime examples. The shorter courses can attract families and novices as well as serve as a fun break from larger, traditional courses. Cabot Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, home to Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links, also recently opened a new par-3 course, a further example of the trend.



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