Worth Your Money: Forest Dunes Golf Club in Northern Michgan

Tired of hearing about how great a golf trip to Pebble Beach or St. Andrews is? No kidding. These days we're looking for a golf trip that makes sense for our games and our budgets. So we've started a weekly feature on Golf.com called "Worth Your Money," where Golf Magazine's travel editors find a destination that combines great golf and great value. This week, we check out Forest Dunes in Michigan. THE DESTINATION: FOREST DUNES, ROSCOMMON, MICHIGAN Forestdunes3_forwebThe third hole at Forest Dunes Golf Club. Larry Lambrecht forestdunesgolf.com, par 72; 7,104 yards. Greens fees: $59-$149

Like the state’s auto industry, this superb but secluded Michigan track has experienced cycles of boom and bust. Built in 1999, it soon fell into foreclosure, only to be bought by the Detroit Carpenters’ Pension Trust Fund, which harbored plans to turn it into a private club. That the Tom Weiskopf design remains public is a boon to anyone who makes the 90-minute woodsy drive from the nearest airport in Traverse City to a course that lives up to both parts of its name, spilling through pine trees on the front nine before opening on the back into a sandy dunescape. Doglegs work every which way, and decisions haunt you from start to finish. Known for his nifty short par 4s, Weiskopt does his reputation proud on the 302-yard 17th, aptly dubbed “Wild Dunes” for the features that define it. In addition to a grand clubhouse, Forest Dunes also sports a 15-acre practice facility. After the journey it takes to get there, you’ll want to take your sweet time before heading back home.

WHERE TO STAY Forest Dunes. Stay-and-play packages, with lodging in one of six on-site guests homes, each of which sleeps four-to-six. $149 per person.

Ray’s Retreat Country Inn.
A 17-unit motel with well-kept rooms and a complimentary hot pancake-and-sausage breakfast. From $50. raysreatreatcountryinn.com
Marsh Ridge. Options range from individual rooms and suites and deluxe townhouse accommodations in the form of a four-bedroom Scandinavian-style lodge. From $79. marshridge.com

WHERE TO EAT Bennethums Northern Inn Restaurant. Hearty, seasonal American cuisine with a specialty menus that changes every month. bennethums.com

Alpine Tavern & Eatery. Brisket, burgers, pizzas, pasta and assorted tavern-style dishes. alpinetavernandeatery.com Big Buck Brewery and Steakhouse. Very good beef. Very good handcrafted brew. bigbuck.com

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