Elevated tee shots like at Timberstone Golf Course make northern Michigan golf shine
IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. – Northern Michigan does elevated tee shots better than anywhere. So much so I paid homage to my favorites awhile back - and I know I have only scratched the surface. It’s the signature shot of the destination.
Book a couple rounds up north and you’re bound to play one, and today in the Upper Peninsula I played a doozie. It’s the par-3 17th at Timberstone Golf Course in Iron Mountain. 215 yards, straight downhill, about a two or two-and-a-half club adjustment. The green, with two separate tiers, is one of the more challenging I’ve seen on a steep, downhill shot like this. None of us parred, but we all hit shots that seemed suspended in air forever, which is a fine consolation prize.
Like many of northern Michigan’s best courses, this isn’t the only elevated tee shot, but it’s certainly the most memorable. The 18th also plays steeply downhill. It’s over 600 yards long but even moderately-long hitters can reach in two shots. It’s so steep there are two series of rock walls that break into the slope (this hole is “cart path only", fittingly).
I’ve come to discover Michigan’s Upper Peninsula actually has a very solid trio of courses that make for a great long weekend. There is Greywalls Golf Course, which we play tomorrow, widely regarded among Michigan’s Top Five public. The newest kid on the block is Sweetgrass Golf Club, part of the Island Resort & Casino near Escanaba, which recently renovated and expanded. The golf course plays on relatively flatter land with no mountains, but is all-natural and very Scottish-feeling but with some modern architectural touches from designer Paul Albanese. That’s aside from the island green 15th hole, which feels like Myrtle Beach over Michigan, aside from an old bridge recovered from the state roadways that leads out to the green.
All three courses are in Yooper Land, but very different from one another. It makes for a great long weekend - and there’s about a month of good golf left in the season before Old Man Winter takes over all too soon.
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