Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club - South Course

USA, Michigan, Traverse City Area
5 (1)
Designer: Dana Fry
Course Opened: 2018

Designed by Dana Fry in a style reminiscent of the golden age duo of C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor, the South Course at Arcadia Bluffs opened in 2018 and occupies a fairly nondescript farmland site a few miles from Arcadia's original shoreline course. The wide trench-like bunkers and squared off greens resemble some of the features at private clubs like Chicago and Camargo, and the routing similarly flows in a geometric manner from hole to hole.

The best aspect of the course are the large horizontal bunkers, which protrude uncomfortably into driving zones and often cleverly disguise fairway beyond. A number of times the golfer needs to 'trust his yardage book' and hit over bunkers toward other traps that feel closer than they really are. Similarly on the greens, there are a number of strong false fronts that require approach shots played well into the middle of the target. The scale of some of the green complexes is truly epic, while others like the 6th and 7th feel quite tight and dangerous to approach. Depending the tees played, some of the transitions from green to tee are a likely clunky and the overall flow between holes lacks the intimacy and style of the best from the Golden Age. Otherwise, old school design features are generally well handled and should prove interesting for those unable to access the leading Macdonald/Raynor private courses.

 

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