Serious golfers will appreciate Calderone Farms
GRASS LAKE, MI--Southern Michigan's I-94 corridor may not compare to Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Trail, but it rapidly is becoming home to numerous impressive golf destinations. The newest addition to an already striking array of challenging championship courses along the bustling route is Calderone Farms, located eight miles west of Chelsea.
Designed by Michigan golf architect, William Newcomb, the 220-acre course opened for play this spring. Newcomb, perhaps best known for the Donald Ross Memorial Course at Boyne Highlands, characterizes Calderone Farms as an "upscale, resort style, championship" golf facility, conveniently located and easily accessible. The best description may be "deceptively designed," ala Pete Dye, with whom Newcomb collaborated on earlier course layouts.
Motorists traveling I-94 may be fooled in their initial impression of the course by the benign appearance of the par-3 11th hole running parallel to the interstate. It appears wide-open, short, and without major challenges. In fact, it is 232 yards long, uphill, with a strategically placed bunker guarding the center of a sloping green--and, it almost always plays into the wind.
Serious golfers will appreciate Calderone Farms for what it does and does not have. It has four sets of tees ranging from 5,300-7,001 yards, to accommodate all skill levels. Landing areas are open and generous, and reasonably level. There also is not a single forced carry required anywhere on the course. Surprisingly for this geographical area, however, there are no natural wetlands and only three man-made ponds on the entire course.
The greens average about 6,500 square feet with subtle undulations. Several are elevated and multi-tiered. Each green is uniquely designed for the hole and requires a strategically placed approach shot based on the pin location. The fairway and greenside bunkers are deep with steep side.
Meandering through open, rolling terrain and wooded areas, the golfer is quickly made aware of one of the greatest challenges of Calderone Farms--the ever-present westerly wind. At the player's back, the wind may turn the par-5, 539-yard, fourth hole and the 404-yard, 16th into birdie opportunities. That same wind may make the short fifth hole and the 457-yard, par-4, 13th hole unreachable in regulation. Depending on the wind, club selection may vary by three or more clubs on certain holes.
Arriving at the course, the player will find the clubhouse to be comfortable and accommodating but not ostentatious. The remodeled farmhouse has been expanded to provide space for the pro shop, restaurant, and golf cart storage. A 15,000 square-foot putting green providing a variety of challenging pin placements is located beside the clubhouse. The practice range, a short drive up a cart path, runs adjacent to the first fairway.
As with any new course, there are a few rough spots but the rolling terrain provides excellent drainage. Grass on tees and greens is uniform and players will feel this to be a mature tract. Future plans include a new clubhouse and two additional nine-hole layouts.
If you need more from your golf experience, stop by the property's whitetail deer museum on your way home.
Calderone Farms http://www.calderonefarms.com
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