ROSCOMMON, Michigan – Northern Michigan’s Forest Dunes, one of the country’s more acclaimed golf destinations, here on Aug. 1 will open its 10-hole, 1,135-yard Short Course designed by Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns.
Home to the celebrated Tom Weiskopf-designed Forest Dunes course, the reversible Tom Doak layout, The Loop and the 18-hole, two-acre Hilltop Putting Course, Forest Dunes offers one of the more complete and unique destinations for golf aficionados and buddy trips.
Located on a rolling bulge of land between The Loop and Forest Dunes courses, the Short Course has holes measuring between 65 and 150 yards.
Forest Dunes owner Lew Thompson wanted a fun and playable course for his grandkids and beginning golfers so he entrusted Johns and Rhebb, who helmed the renovation at Orlando’s Winter Park 9 course, to build a course with entertaining shot values and an unintimidating sense of fun. He also wanted it ready for this summer. Johns and Rhebb responded with a course that has excellent shot values while maintaining a playfulness is throughout the design. And they got it built and grassed in just 81 days.
“We essentially had carte blanche from (Forest Dunes owner Lew Thompson), which was awesome, and really the only way we could get the project completed in time,” Rhebb said.
One of the few requests Thompson had, according to Rhebb, was to make the course playful – a theme that permeated throughout the design process.
“You don’t often get the chance to get super creative when designing courses, but with the short course we really had the opportunity to have some fun with it. Lew wanted it to be fun and always engaging, and we were able to express that in the design,” Rhebb said.
The Short Course’s greens are constructed to funnel balls toward pin locations, improving the likelihood of holes-in-one, while a few tee shots will tempt players to make use of strategic slopes and banks instead of flying it in the air.
A unique feature on the course will be that holes 1 and 10 are crossover holes with a tree protecting from direct ball flight issues.
“The land gave us such a great canvas to create something fun that offers a ‘welcoming handshake’ to entry-level players and says ‘this is what golf can be.’’’ Johns said. “Here you can go out in your flip flops and hit flop shots with a few buddies, try to make an ace on every hole, or use a putter off the tee to try and run one on the green.’’