Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Destination: Michiana

By Art McCafferty

There are no border wars in Michiana. The citizenry on both sides of the Indiana and Michigan state line have been doing business with each other for years. These days in Michiana, most, but not all of the golf news is being made in northern Indiana.

In the South Bend/Mishawaka area, two new courses have come on in the past five years that have really created a buzz. This dynamic duo coupled with some renovated Michigan courses are creating the basis for yet another destination area.

Juday Creek
Granger, IN

The first to arrive was Mike and Linda Rogers's Juday Creek. This 1989 course vaulted to number eight in an Indianapolis Star rating during its first year of operation. Chicago-based Killian Design Group, architects of Sand Creek in Chesterton, Indiana and Kemper Lake near Chicago, certainly helped in getting the new course such instant attention and status.

The Rogers, originally from Bad Axe, started on their way to success by developing a series of "Lindy's" pizza restaurants around the Dowagiac area.

They are a perfect team. Mike renovates their new properties while Linda handles the books and makes sure there is positive cash flow. Incidentally, Mike named "Lindy's" after his wife, primarily to make sure the various vendors contacted Linda instead of him. Woe greeted the salesperson who asked Linda Rogers for "Mr." Lindy.

However, operating five different restaurants proved to be a bit much, and in an effort to simplify their life, they sold four of their them, keeping the original one in Dowagiac. Money in hand, they decided to pursue a new passion: golf. Juday Creek and its accompanying 138 home sites, thus became their answer to a more simplified life. Right, and I have some nerf drivers I want to sell you.

Juday Creek is run under the watchful eye of golf professional Chad Kennedy. With plenty of play, Chad has to keep the rangers moving the slower players along in order that other players can finish their round in a reasonable time. Juday Creek is not an easy golf course, quite the contrary, the course is well trapped and there are water and wetlands seemingly everywhere.

The service at the course is first rate. It has that excellent "Lindy's" food and a beautiful clubhouse where you can watch other players finishing up.

  • Slope: 73.3 course rating/133 slope
  • Number of holes: 18 holes , par 72, 6940 yards
  • Phone: 219-277-4653
  • Quote: "Rated 8th best public course" Indianapolis Star
  • Address: 14770 Lindy Rd. Granger, IN 46530

    Blackthorn Golf Club
    South Bend, IN

    Just down the road and west from Juday Creek is another fabulous course, Blackthorn. Designed by world famous Dr. Mike Hurdzan, this course is finding a place on many of the "Best Of" lists.

    Hurdzan, who was responsible for Devil's Pulpit in Canada, Eagle Sticks in Zanesville, Ohio and Cincinnati's Blue Ash courses, has done an outstanding job. Blackthorn was rated as one of the best new courses of 1995 by Golf Digest. In addition, it also made its list of top 500 courses this year. It has easily shot up to the top ten lists in Indiana and is clearly one of the class golf courses in the Midwest. And if you believe, Brian Godfrey, the golf professional at Blackthorn, the tract will be soon be noted as "one of the top one hundred courses in the country."

    Jack Quimby, assistant manager at Blackthorn said that, "They were careful to set the course into the existing ground,...We don't look new. We look like we are 50 years old."

    Blackthorn has a great practice facility with two acres of range with target greens, plus a putting green with areas for chipping and sand shots.

    Their Blarney Hole is a one-of-a-kind feature and acts as a mulligan hole for all golfers, thus making the course 19 holes. Golfers think it's a great idea and it's an unqualified hit as the ultimate mulligan. There is even a "Blarney stone in the middle of the fairway; those that hit it, get a free golf ball.

    Perhaps the color of black brings out the best in golf architects. We have Tom Doaks's Black Forest , Tom Fazio's Black Diamond in Florida, the sensational new Black Bear coming on board in Vanderbilt, Pete Dye's Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin, Gary Player's Blackmoor and now Mike Hurdzan's Blackthorn in Indiana. Now all you need to complete your foursome is Johnny Cash, Gary Player and Darkman.

  • Slope/Rating: 135 slope with a 75.2 rating
  • Number of holes: 18 holes
  • Phone: 219-232-4653
  • Golf Professional: Brian Godfrey
  • Address: 6100 Nimitz Parkway, South Bend, IN 46628

    Before leaving Indiana, Michigan Golfer would like to recommend some fine courses in southern Indiana. Since these courses open in March you can get in some rounds before our own courses open up.

    Sultan's Run, (located in Jasper) which reminds many of the Jones course at Treetops, is an awesome tract. You will also find Hidden Creek in Sellersburg to your liking, the Donald Ross course at French Lick is a timeless classic and Otter Creek in Columbus is a tremendous example of Robert Trent Jones' architecture.

    Spruce Ridge
    Dowagiac, MI

    Chris Foote and his father Ron have their work cut out for them for the next couple of years, but it is work that they will enjoy. They bought the former Bryn Mawr golf course and have vowed to make it one of the best golf facilities in southwest Michigan. This is not an idle boast; Ron Foote is the course superintendent of MSU's two courses.

    Their immediate plan is to bring the course up to their own expectations. The greens and fairways will get most of their attention. They would also like to redesign the course by bringing into play a 15 acre parcel of hardwoods on the property.

    Spruce Ridge also boasts a lodging facility that is very unique: an eight bedroom home that features an indoor pool and a glassed in Florida room. If anybody has a large group of golfers, this might be a fun place to rent out for a couple of days.

  • Number of holes: 18
  • Phone: 616-782-5827
  • Address: 26831 Dutch Settlement Rd. and M-62, Dowagiac, MI 49047
  • Directions: M-62 or M-51 to Dowagiac. East on Division and left on Dutch Settlement Rd.
  • Amenities: Driving range, lessons, restaurant/snack bar, overnight lodging for up to 12 golfers

    Hampshire Country Club
    Dowagiac, MI

    This 18 hole layout has added another 9. Jack Berry says this is one of the best courses in the county. Lawrence Packard, Chicago- based architect, designed this neat layout. The club hosts the Western Amateur Golf Championship qualifier. Golf this course -- you won't be disappointed.

    Brookwood Golf Course
    Buchanan, MI

    Brookwood is a hard course to find, but worth the effort. Headed up by George Thomas, University of Notre Dame golf coach, the course is boastful of the severity of its layout. Undulating hills and tight fairways contribute to the course difficulty. George's son Joe and his daughter, Teresa Pekaier, serve as the teaching professionals. Since they are family, you can also expect some tender loving care and some commiseration on the results on your scorecard.

  • Slope/Rating: 71.2
  • Number of holes: 18
  • Phone: 616-695-7818
  • Golf Professional: Joe Thomas and Teresa Pekaier
  • Address: 1339 Rynearson Road, Buchanan, MI 49107
  • Amenities: Driving range, lessons,shower/lockers, restaurant/snack bar

    Pipestone Creek
    Golf Course, Eau Claire, MI

    LeRoy Dustin and Bruce Dustin have been growing this golf course for 40 years, since they purchased and then launched the first six holes of their layout. They added three more holes in 1960 (six hole courses had not caught on yet) and then they finished up in 1971 with the back nine. The East Nine is more of an executive course with six par 3 holes.

  • Course Architect: LeRoy Dustin
  • Number of holes: 18 holes, par 67, 4402 yards
  • Phone: 616-944-1611
  • Street Address: 6768 Naomi Rd, Eau Claire, MI 49111
  • Directions: I-94 to Exit 29, south to first stop sign. Turn left, go to flashing light in Sodus, then left for 4- 1/2 miles.

    Blossom Trails
    Benton Harbor, MI

    Blossom Trails' 18 hole course is a nice friendly 6205 yard layout. It also boasts Berrien County's only par 3 course. Great place for the family.

  • Slope/Rating: 69.3
  • Number of holes: 18 holes, par 71, 6205 yards
  • Phone: 616-925-4951
  • Address: 1565 E. Britain Ave., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
  • Directions: I-94 to Exit 30. W to Crystal Ave turn right and then turn left on Britain.
  • Amenities: Driving range, practice sand trap, lessons, restaurant/banquet

    The Oaks
    St. Joseph, MI

  • Slope/Rating: 71.0
  • Number of holes: 18 holes, par 72, 6950 yards
  • Phone: 616-429-8411
  • Address: 3711 Niles Rd., St. Joseph, MI 49085
  • Directions: Exit 27 off I-94; go south, and it's 3/4 mile on left
  • Amenities: Driving range, lessons, shower/locker, snack bar, banquet and meeting facilities

    Indian Lake Hills
    Eau Claire, MI

    This 27 hole layout is a wonderful test of golf in a beautiful setting. The holes are cut out of woods and orchards. The courses play to between a 33 and 34 rating.

  • Phone: 616-782-2540
  • Address: 55321 Brush Lake Rd., Eau Claire, MI 49111
  • Directions: I-94 to Exit 29, Pipestone Rd. through Eau Claire, east to Brush Lake Rd., turn north.

    Pebblewood Country Club

  • Slope/rating: 66.1
  • Number of holes: 18 holes, par 68, 5403 yards
  • Phone: 616-465-5611
  • Street Address: 9794 Jerricho Rd., Bridgeman, MI 49106
  • Directions: I-94 to Exit 16, one mile north to light, turn right and go two miles.

    Lake Michigan Hills
    Benton Harbor, MI

    A favorite of Michigan Golfer editor Terry Moore, this tract is rated as one of the best courses on that part of the state. Look for some great stay and play golf packages with The Boulevard all-suite hotel. It is a great property and they work with most of the golf courses in the Benton Harbor/ St. Joseph area.

    Lake Michigan Hills in Benton Harbor has been attracting golfers from the "border states" for some time. It's the qualifying site for the Western Amateur and has proven to be a fine test of golf. Along with some tough par 3's on the back side, Lake Michigan Hills is known for its excellent bunkering.

  • Slope/Rating: 73.9
  • Number of holes: 18 holes, par 72, 6900+ yards
  • Phone: 616-849-3266
  • Address: 2520 Kerlikowske Rd., Benton Harbor, MI 49002
  • Directions: I-94 to I-196N, Exit 1. Follow signs east to first four corners, turn north 1/2 mile on left.
  • Amenities: Driving range, practice sand trap, lessons, shower/lockers, restaurant, banquet facilities up to 300.

    Green Valley
    Golf and Health Club
    Sturgis, MI

    Reno Santori has been the owner of Green Valley for over 25 years. The course is short, friendly and you can score on it quite easily. Water comes in to play on three of the holes, but outside of those hazards there is not much trouble. However, it is one golf course in Michigan where you can go in the wintertime for a workout. There are plenty of exercise machines and a couple of racquet ball courts to help keep the locals fit as they wait for spring golf.

  • Slope/Rating: 66.5
  • Number of holes: 18 holes, par 68, 5405 yards
  • Phone: 616-651-6331
  • Address: 25379 W. Fawn River Road, Sturgis, MI 49091
  • Directions Right off of Fawn River Road
  • Amenities: Sauna & weight room, racquetball courts and lounge

    Paw Paw Lake Golf Club

  • Number of holes: 18 holes, par 70, 5457 yards
  • Phone: 616-463-3831
  • Address: 4548 Forest Beach Road, Watervliet, MI
  • Park Shore Golf Club
  • Number of holes: 18 holes, par 68, 5387 yards
  • Phone: 616-445-2834
  • Address: 610 Park Shore Dr., Cassopolis, MI

    One thing all these courses have in common is an early opening date. The springtime sun reaches them quite a bit sooner than other courses in Michigan.

  • Michigan Golfer

    Business Directory

    Golf Courses

    Grand Haven Golf
    Grand Haven, MI

    Juday Creek Golf Course
    Granger, IN

    Lake Doster Golf Club
    Plainwell, MI

    Lake Michigan Hills
    Benton Harbor, MI

    Maple Leaf Golf Course
    Linwood, MI

    Pine View Golf Club

    St. Ives Golf Club: Canadian Lakes
    Stanwood, MI

    Sultan's Run
    Jasper, IN

    Wallinwood Springs Golf Club
    Jenison, MI

    Woodlands of Van Buren
    Wayne, MI

    Golf Lodging & Packages

    AppleTree Inn - Battle Creek
    Battle Creek, MI
    616-979-3561 800-388-7829

    Battle Creek Inn - Battle Creek
    Battle Creek, MI

    Best Western Kings Island
    Kings Island,
    513-398-3633 800-553-9963

    Comfort Inn - Battle Creek
    Battle Creek, MI

    Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center
    Big Rapids, MI
    616-796-4400 800-999-9069

    Resort One Vacation Rentals
    Gaylord, MI
    517-732-2666 800-557-3767

    Waterfront Inn
    Traverse City, MI


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