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Brad Steven

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Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« on: February 15, 2022, 11:11:54 AM »
Looking to take a group to Forest Dunes for a couple days and hoping to get some insight into the golf experience there.  I've heard the original FD described as having a mix of the pristine and the rustic (PV-like).  Generally, I'm a fan of Weiskopf designs and if FD is in fact at the top of his list, I think I'll like it.  The Loop is a common discussion item here I know and while I'm certain it will make for a great 18 hole experience, I'm intrigued at just how different the loops will play.  Not all of my guys are architecture enthusiasts but they know really good golf when they see it.  Would appreciate any comments. 

Brett Meyer

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2022, 11:47:12 AM »
Forest Dunes and the Loop are both excellent. I think that they're both easily among Michigan's top 5 public courses--and that's become a really good list. The only other Weiskopf course that I've played is the Cedar River Village course at Shanty Creek and Forest Dunes is far superior. It has several excellent short par 4s (6, 13, 17), a few excellent par 5s (5, 15), and a lovely setting. The name should be taken literally--there's forest and there are dunes.

Another huge plus of the Forest Dunes complex is that I've never seen two courses on the same site that are so completely different. Forest Dunes is pristine, the Loop is very rustic. The Loop gets so much attention because its a reversible but for me, the most notable thing about the Loop is that it's the only course that I've played in the US that truly plays like a links course. Drop your putter from knee-height in one of the fairways and you'll hear what I mean. The course design is also conducive to links-style golf, with short grass everywhere. Some complain about the greens being too small and severe and I agree with that in spots but overall, it's a very interesting and original course.

The accommodations are now also fantastic. So is the new par 3 course. All-in-all, it's a great golf resort and I can't wait for them to add the third course.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2022, 12:45:58 PM »
Some complain about the greens being too small and severe and I agree with that in spots but overall, it's a very interesting and original course.


The greens are on average 6000 square feet, so "too small" is not correct.  There are a couple of smaller ones.  Some golfers are wimps nowadays!  ;)


As to the OP, I would say Forest Dunes is one of the best Weiskopf courses.  [It helps that there aren't many houses; most of his courses are real-estate driven.]  Forest Highlands in Arizona is still my personal favorite.


P.S.  A lot of the credit for the "Pine Valley" look on part of the back nine should go to the project manager, Tom Fous, who worked on all that while the course was sitting idle through a squabble between the original partners.  At least that's what I was told at the time by my friend who was doing marketing for the place.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2022, 12:53:28 PM by Tom_Doak »

Brad Steven

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2022, 01:14:04 PM »
Well being a relatively poor lag putter, the "smallish" greens at the Loop will suit me fine.  My last trip to Streamsong led to a lengthy mental health break.   >:(


Sounds like Forest Dunes really offers a study in contrasts.  The idea of playing an aerial target game on my first 18 followed by a shot-making ground game in the afternoon is pretty darn cool.  Just bouncing from bent/blue grass surfaces to tight and firm fescue will require some quick adjusting on the fly. 

Pretty excited about it now.  If they have a nice bourbon selection and allow cigar smoking on the patio I'll be very happy indeed. 

Tom Bacsanyi

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2022, 02:22:34 PM »
I love Forest Dunes, but for me Frost Creek (formerly Adam's Rib) is better. Pretty much a mountain golf ideal.


I would like to see Forest Highlands though. Has anyone played all 3? Forest Dunes, Forest Highlands, Frost Creek?
Don't play too much golf. Two rounds a day are plenty.

--Harry Vardon

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2022, 02:46:00 PM »
Play Forest Dunes before you play The Loop. I played it after, and had little love for it. Perhaps it was the conditions (soft and spongy) in addition to the claustrobphobia that I felt, among all those trees
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Richard Hetzel

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2022, 02:49:58 PM »
I think it is a great golf course, possibly the great conditioning made it feel better? The conditions (when I played it) were unreal. I have not played many of his golf courses so I really cannot compare. However, I have played about 95+ courses in the state of Michigan and it is in my top 5 in Michigan for sure. I played it before the Loop was built as well.
Last Ten Played: 
Maysville CC (KY), Ross Course French Lick (IN), Covered Bridge (IN), Trout Club (OH), Elkhorn Ridge (SD), Bully Pulpit (ND), Links of ND, Hawktree (ND), Dakota Winds (ND), Links of Lawsonia (WI)
Top 5 this year:
Yale
Culver
Hawktree
Charleston Municipal
Streamsong Blue

Charlie Ray

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2022, 01:20:20 PM »
Weiskopf's original course and the Loop offer a dichotomy that may not exist anywhere else.  Loop = fescue, brown, walkable, fast & firm, ground-game.  Forest Dunes = green, soft, 'get the yardage and fire away' golf, pretty, and carts.  I concur that playing Forest Dunes first is wise advise.  Many of my playing partners preferred the Dunes to the Loop; I however, cancelled tee times at Dunes to get a 4th and 5th round in at the Loop.  Not much memorable about Weiskopf's course except the fancy impressed concrete 'stone' cart paths and the motorbike carts.  Resort was comfortable and enjoyable. 

Bill Seitz

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2022, 01:47:56 PM »
How good are the players in your group?  One of the interesting debates among the guys from No Laying Up on their recent Michigan trip was what they thought of the Loop, and what was interesting was that the good players didn't enjoy themselves, while the higher handicappers loved it.  And that's not because it's easy, but because the way those two types of golfers consume their rounds.  The good players didn't like the super firm conditions (and I'd agree when I played it a couple years ago, it was really, really firm, maybe too firm), and pushed up greens on some holes that made scoring near impossible.  I had a similar criticism when I played it, that you could not get anywhere near a front pin, because if you tried to bounce one up, you'd hit a hill and die, and if you carried it to the green, you were bouncing to the back if not over the green. 


But for the higher handicappers, they saw a place where they were almost certainly not going to lose any golf balls.  Higher handicappers may struggle with chips and pitches off of tight lies, but you can putt from everywhere at the Loop, so they weren't chunking chips all day.  They could be more creative with shots that were easier to hit, while lower handicappers tend to want to hit certain shots a certain way, and get frustrated when it's hard to do so.


That said, I still think the Loop is really good and it would be a shame to miss it if you're there.  We stayed one night so we could play it both ways, and the accommodations were nice.  Not super luxurious, but everything we needed. I haven't played the Weiskopf. 

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2022, 01:10:27 AM »
How good are the players in your group?  One of the interesting debates among the guys from No Laying Up on their recent Michigan trip was what they thought of the Loop, and what was interesting was that the good players didn't enjoy themselves, while the higher handicappers loved it.  And that's not because it's easy, but because the way those two types of golfers consume their rounds.  The good players didn't like the super firm conditions (and I'd agree when I played it a couple years ago, it was really, really firm, maybe too firm), and pushed up greens on some holes that made scoring near impossible.  I had a similar criticism when I played it, that you could not get anywhere near a front pin, because if you tried to bounce one up, you'd hit a hill and die, and if you carried it to the green, you were bouncing to the back if not over the green. 


But for the higher handicappers, they saw a place where they were almost certainly not going to lose any golf balls.  Higher handicappers may struggle with chips and pitches off of tight lies, but you can putt from everywhere at the Loop, so they weren't chunking chips all day.  They could be more creative with shots that were easier to hit, while lower handicappers tend to want to hit certain shots a certain way, and get frustrated when it's hard to do so.



The NLU guysí take on The Loop (forwarded to me by a friend on GCA; I have never spent five minutes on NLU) was somewhere between annoying and hilarious.  They thought they would play well their first time around the course, in competition, with no advance prep, and were whiny about it when they got their asses handed to them.


The specific criticism that you canít get close to a front pin might be true at Red 1 and 6 and 8 and 14 and 15, so maybe twice a round.  On the other holes there is plenty of opportunity to land short and run up if you play a lower trajectory shot.  If you pound a drive and insist on hitting a high wedge in there, maybe itís not as easy to get close.  Itís gotta suck when an expert golfer canít hit a shot his mom can.  ;)

Ben Stephens

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2022, 03:28:55 AM »
Didn't Weiskopf do Loch Lomond? or did Jay Morrish do most of the work?

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2022, 03:29:29 AM »
I look forward to playing The Loop this coming August (I donít believe the plan is to make time for Forest Dunes but that isnít nailed down yet).


Making a course sing from two directions is incredibly hard, much harder than most people realise. If Tom and crew have even 90% managed to pull it off with the same panache as their other courses, then that is a huge triumph. Iíve a feeling Iíll like it very much.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2022, 03:31:27 AM by Ally Mcintosh »

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2022, 09:41:39 AM »
Didn't Weiskopf do Loch Lomond? or did Jay Morrish do most of the work?


Weiskopf and Morrish did Loch Lomond together (and Forest Highlands, but not Forest Dunes).  I donít think anyone was leaving it out of the discussion trying to parse who did more of it.  Itís certainly one of his best courses but I like Forest Highlands more.


One problem for Loch Lomond is the weather.  Years ago Walter Woods introduced me to the greenkeeper there and teased him that he was the only guy who could grow grass in the dark!  Itís a beautiful spot but not very sunny.

Brad Steven

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2022, 10:11:39 AM »
How good are the players in your group?  One of the interesting debates among the guys from No Laying Up on their recent Michigan trip was what they thought of the Loop, and what was interesting was that the good players didn't enjoy themselves, while the higher handicappers loved it.  And that's not because it's easy, but because the way those two types of golfers consume their rounds.  The good players didn't like the super firm conditions (and I'd agree when I played it a couple years ago, it was really, really firm, maybe too firm), and pushed up greens on some holes that made scoring near impossible.  I had a similar criticism when I played it, that you could not get anywhere near a front pin, because if you tried to bounce one up, you'd hit a hill and die, and if you carried it to the green, you were bouncing to the back if not over the green. 


But for the higher handicappers, they saw a place where they were almost certainly not going to lose any golf balls.  Higher handicappers may struggle with chips and pitches off of tight lies, but you can putt from everywhere at the Loop, so they weren't chunking chips all day.  They could be more creative with shots that were easier to hit, while lower handicappers tend to want to hit certain shots a certain way, and get frustrated when it's hard to do so.


That said, I still think the Loop is really good and it would be a shame to miss it if you're there.  We stayed one night so we could play it both ways, and the accommodations were nice.  Not super luxurious, but everything we needed. I haven't played the Weiskopf.


I appreciate the insight Bill ... my guys range from +1 to 11 with most between 4 and 8.  So, relatively speaking a pretty good group.  The premise that the better golfer enjoys fast and firm conditions that requires a ground game less than the higher handicapper is my experience too.  True, just about anyone can hit a shot off a tight lie from 40 yards around the green with a putter but that doesn't mean they'll hit it well or the ball will end up close ... higher handicappers just have a lesser expectation and the result will bother them less. Better players are less tolerant of the vagaries that a bouncing or rolling ball are subject too on less than perfect (green-like) surfaces too.  It's frustrating to think you've hit a good shot only to have the ground contours dictate otherwise - but sometimes the rub of the green works your way too.  Until I play the loop I guess I won't know for sure what I think of the way the greens receive shots - whether through the air or along the ground - but I'm looking forward to it that's for sure. 


I'm a sucker for a parkland gem like Forest Dunes seems to be but I really have come to enjoy the creativity that's engendered by the width, firm playing surfaces and large, complex greens at places like Bandon, Streamsong, Sand Valley etc.  That's really fun golf if you ask me (notwithstanding the frustration of not being able to throw darts with short irons).


   
« Last Edit: February 17, 2022, 10:39:44 AM by Brad Steven »

Niall C

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2022, 10:18:59 AM »
Tom

I tend to think the biggest problem the Loch Lomond course has is rainfall. There is a reason why the biggest puddle in Scotland is situated right beside the course ;D


Niall

Mark Smolens

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2022, 10:29:16 AM »
It looks like there are a couple of openings left for the Am Golf Trips better ball event at Forest Dunes in July. Rounds on all three courses, plus a skins game on the Bootlegger. Looking forward to seeing the place for the first time!

Ben Stephens

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2022, 10:30:47 AM »
Tom

I tend to think the biggest problem the Loch Lomond course has is rainfall. There is a reason why the biggest puddle in Scotland is situated right beside the course
;D


Niall


Didn't Loch Lomond spend millions on a new drainage system for the whole course recently?

Bill Seitz

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2022, 11:47:47 AM »
The NLU guysí take on The Loop (forwarded to me by a friend on GCA; I have never spent five minutes on NLU) was somewhere between annoying and hilarious.  They thought they would play well their first time around the course, in competition, with no advance prep, and were whiny about it when they got their asses handed to them.


The specific criticism that you canít get close to a front pin might be true at Red 1 and 6 and 8 and 14 and 15, so maybe twice a round.  On the other holes there is plenty of opportunity to land short and run up if you play a lower trajectory shot.  If you pound a drive and insist on hitting a high wedge in there, maybe itís not as easy to get close.  Itís gotta suck when an expert golfer canít hit a shot his mom can.  ;)


They also played there during the Dual, when it was probably turned up a notch or two.  I can't remember the exact holes, as it's been a few years, but certainly not every hole had the front pin issue.  And I also assumed that the place would soften up a bit over the years such that it may only be a temporary issue.  Sounds like it's still pretty firm.  Regardless, I think that's a point in the Loop's favor that it takes good players out of their comfort zone while still being an enjoyable experience for higher handicappers. 

Niall C

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2022, 12:05:44 PM »
Tom

I tend to think the biggest problem the Loch Lomond course has is rainfall. There is a reason why the biggest puddle in Scotland is situated right beside the course
;D


Niall


Didn't Loch Lomond spend millions on a new drainage system for the whole course recently?


Ben


I don't know what they have done in the last few years but IIRC not long after Lyle Anderson bought it they sand-capped all the fairways and I think rebuilt the greens using the existing contours. Could be wrong about that last bit.


Niall

Marty Bonnar

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2022, 12:27:18 PM »
Assembled in Michigan from foreign parts.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2022, 12:45:58 PM »


Better players are less tolerant of the vagaries that a bouncing or rolling ball are subject too on less than perfect (green-like) surfaces too.  It's frustrating to think you've hit a good shot only to have the ground contours dictate otherwise - but sometimes the rub of the green works your way too.



One of the most important things I learned from The Old Course was that every little contour around the greens that made it hard to get close to the hole WOULD HAVE BEEN A BACKSTOP IF YOU HAD JUST PLAYED TO THE CORRECT SIDE OF IT.


Sime ďgood playersĒ just wonít accept that they might have been out of position and thatís their own fault.

Jaeger Kovich

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2022, 03:39:20 PM »
I've never played Forest Dunes, but Weiskopf's work at the Shenzhou Dunes in China was pretty neat. The property along the water and between the rock outcroppings was probably better than the golf itself, but it was still 2 good enough golf course that it was worthy of the difficult trek across Hainan a couple times.


http://www.shenzhougolf.com.cn/

Jeff Schley

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2022, 11:51:38 PM »
I've never played Forest Dunes, but Weiskopf's work at the Shenzhou Dunes in China was pretty neat. The property along the water and between the rock outcroppings was probably better than the golf itself, but it was still 2 good enough golf course that it was worthy of the difficult trek across Hainan a couple times.


http://www.shenzhougolf.com.cn/
Thanks Jaeger for jarring my memory.  I was going to take a trip to China for golf before covid and this was one my friend said we have to play. Didn't realize it was a Weiskopf until I looked it up and was impressed. Still haven't played, but it is on the list for that China trip.
BTW does anyone know how Tom Weiskopf's health is?  I read last year he was battling cancer. Hope he is/has recovered for a real gentlemen.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Steve Lang

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2022, 02:18:25 PM »
 8)  Brad,


Think many of the previous comments offer some truth about FD... and put me in the amused camp on the NLU guys.


I've only played 5 Weiskopf courses and have enjoyed them all, with FD definitely my fav so far.  I'm biased as we're only 45 min away in summer, its an annual play for the FD course and one of the Loops and I also go out annually to Cedar River which is 20 min away...  Maybe one day I'll get out to some of those western eye candy Weiskopf courses which look very inviting...


I'd recommend folks play from the more forward tees at FD, or at least consider it to see what's demanded out of the gate and/or catch the lay of the land for the next play.  Certainly helps to be a long hitter, like any course, but there's a lot of control/placement/discipline needed to score well.  SO, if ONE IS going to spray it around, beware.     
Inverness (Toledo, OH) cathedral clock inscription: "God measures men by what they are. Not what they in wealth possess.  That vibrant message chimes afar.
The voice of Inverness"

Mike Schott

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Re: Is Forest Dunes Weiskopf's Best?
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2022, 09:11:26 PM »
How good are the players in your group?  One of the interesting debates among the guys from No Laying Up on their recent Michigan trip was what they thought of the Loop, and what was interesting was that the good players didn't enjoy themselves, while the higher handicappers loved it.  And that's not because it's easy, but because the way those two types of golfers consume their rounds.  The good players didn't like the super firm conditions (and I'd agree when I played it a couple years ago, it was really, really firm, maybe too firm), and pushed up greens on some holes that made scoring near impossible.  I had a similar criticism when I played it, that you could not get anywhere near a front pin, because if you tried to bounce one up, you'd hit a hill and die, and if you carried it to the green, you were bouncing to the back if not over the green. 


But for the higher handicappers, they saw a place where they were almost certainly not going to lose any golf balls.  Higher handicappers may struggle with chips and pitches off of tight lies, but you can putt from everywhere at the Loop, so they weren't chunking chips all day.  They could be more creative with shots that were easier to hit, while lower handicappers tend to want to hit certain shots a certain way, and get frustrated when it's hard to do so.



The NLU guysí take on The Loop (forwarded to me by a friend on GCA; I have never spent five minutes on NLU) was somewhere between annoying and hilarious.  They thought they would play well their first time around the course, in competition, with no advance prep, and were whiny about it when they got their asses handed to them.


The specific criticism that you canít get close to a front pin might be true at Red 1 and 6 and 8 and 14 and 15, so maybe twice a round.  On the other holes there is plenty of opportunity to land short and run up if you play a lower trajectory shot.  If you pound a drive and insist on hitting a high wedge in there, maybe itís not as easy to get close.  Itís gotta suck when an expert golfer canít hit a shot his mom can.  ;)


I had a similar experience with my playing partner when I played The Loop. I'm a hack so it didn't matter but he's a low handicap player and a long hitter. This was the end of the course's first season and the conditions were very firm. He kept hitting driver which would roll 30 yards into the woods or the waste areas causing much aggravation. But the course is right in front of you with most hazards in plain sight. If he had played smart golf he'd have had a fine round. And the green complexes are among my favorites. The options seem endless.

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