Tale of two Engh's: True North and Tullymore in northern Michigan
One of the Rocky Mountain West’s most prolific modern golf course architects, Jim Engh, serves up two northern Michigan golf designs, and both are welcomed additions in the past decade to the state’s already rich golf scene here: Tullymore Golf Club and True North Golf Club.
Both are very visually pleasing to the eye (and the camera if you’ve got it with you), but have their share of differences too. Tullymore is set on 800 acres of wetlands in Stanwood. The terrain is mostly flat, relying on a lot of shaping and mounding to keep things interesting, plus a lot more of Engh’s signature “knuckle bunkering.” The hole variety at Tullymore is as good as it gets, and they even throw in five par 5s and five par 3s, which will keep a lot of amateur golfers happy with the flow of the round.
True North on the other hand is, as the name implies, classic northern Michigan hilly golf in Harbor Springs near Little Traverse Bay, with lots of downhill and uphill holes. It appears more built for membership in a couple areas whereas at Tullymore everything is right out in front of you. The par-5 18th hole is probably the most imaginative, risk-reward hole among the two courses (with two paths to the green, one narrow but the other mostly blind), and it’s perplexing nature was likely built with members’ matches versus a guest on the line. Nothing at Tullymore is as head-scratching.
Both Tullymore and True North are of similar semi-private standard with a real estate component hoping to drive memberships eventually. True North opened in 2004, two years after Tullymore as a private course, but they’ve continually opened their doors to the public and offer a rate of $145/$95 twilight. The course receives very few rounds, so not only do you feel like you’ve got the golf course to yourself on a September morning like we did, the condition of the course is as good as it gets. In fact, club officials tell me they’ve never aerated the greens here. Tullymore’s tee sheet, considering it’s so close to Grand Rapids, is usually more filled.
So which is the better golf course? I think Engh did a better job at Tullymore with his design. The hole variety is outstanding here with brawny, true three-shot par 5s and shorter ones you can play aggressively and reach in two but only with a near perfect shot. But if you want top notch scenery, some up-and-down golf through hills and thick forest and a more secluded atmosphere, True North is your horse. It is also just around the corner from Boyne Highlands’ four golf courses, Bay Harbor and Dunmaglas, enough to make for a good week of golf in the Charlevoix-Petoskey-Harbor Springs area alone.
Stay tuned for more on the golf in northern Michigan.
|« Win free a free golf trip for two to Alberta's Canadian Rockies||Northern Michigan is a summer destination built for golfing benders »|