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Sean_A

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2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK
« on: November 04, 2022, 06:27:08 PM »
The Loop was virtually a life-long ambition of Tom Doak. Since reading about Tom Simpsonís idea for a short reversable course some 40 years ago in The Architectural Side of Golf, Doak waited for the right land and the right owner. Due to its flat, open site, there was an opportunity to create such a course for Texas Tech University. However, there was concern about the visual aspect of the design so the idea wasnít pursued. Jump ten years into the future and at the other end of the country, another opportunity arose. The owner of Forest Dunes, Lew Thompson, approached Doak to design a second course for the resort which he had recently acquired. The new course had to achieve the two goals of encouraging golfers to stay on site and wow them. While the land is sandy and perfect for golf, it isnít a site that will captivate golfers. The wow factor would have to come from the design rather than the location.

The property is sandy which makes construction relatively simple. There were large areas of land cleared of trees. There were virtually no beautiful specimen trees which needed protection. There were no dramatic elevation changes which would create blind shots. Lew Thompson may have been the perfect owner to green-light such an idea because he wasnít a golfer with the baggage of preconceived notions which needed to be placated. The elements were in place for Doak to fulfil a lifelong dream. Doak also understood that a reversable course must deliver two loops of approximately equal quality for the idea to survive. With that in mind he worked on the Black Course second to fit with the Red Course. A large disparity in quality would surely see the ruthless business end of the decision-making process put an end to the experiment. Surprisingly, to me anyway, it only took about a month for Doak to devise a routingÖ.yes, a month. 

When meeting with L Thompson Doak showed the plans for the Red Course which would play counter-clockwise. After allowing for some comments, Doak then revealed the plan for the other course, a clockwise course? It wasnít a separate 18 design, but an 18 green and fairway reversable 18-hole course. Two courses in one which when combined with Tom Weiskopfís Forest Dunes would give golfers reason to possibly spend two nights on site. The added amount of acreage and short grass would jack the maintenance costs up somewhat, Thompson immediately grasped the concept and must have thought the idea would provide the wow factor and put bodies in beds. Work began the following year and The Loop was opened in 2016.

Before playing I was concerned about the courses melding together as one. A few issues perplexed me. For instance, there canít be too many bunkers on a reversable course before things start to unravel. How then to create added drama on a subtle property? Well, that isnít a problem because Doak made a career of creating interest from the green back to the tee and use of short grass. I didnít see it happen, but itís quite possible to go many 10s of yards long on some approaches. That isnít something one sees every day. Somewhat similar to Pinehurst 2, many of the greens are pushed up/crowned which emphasises good approach angles and missing in recoverable spots. The bottom line is the bunkering is important, but not in a way which dominates the design.

A second apprehensiveness I had was how would the unused teeing areas blend into the design? The answer is rather simpleÖonce I saw it in action. The teeing areas are kind of half built and more often more rounded. When using the tees, they are obviously tees. When not in play they blend into the surrounding area. Without the creative single flags indicating the tee positions one has to pay attention as to where the opposite course tees are. Itís a slick solution that on some level took some thinking outside the box. Related to tees is the mounding for the greens. The integrated shaping makes these features part of the hole from any angle. Yet the flow with the overall aesthetic is not interrupted. Concealing some of the aggressive crowned nature of the greens is a bit of razzle dazzle.

A final worry of mine was carts. Renaissance was lucky in that the course was designed not to use carts. However, carts are most certainly and regretfully on display far too much. A counter-measure is the carts are programmed to restrict their use. At least there arenít dreadful cart paths cutting through the course which would diminish The Loop aesthetic moreso than the ďcart tracksĒ easily seen on short grass. Letís hope cart paths are never built, although I wonder if open hard sandy areas in pinch points etc may help disguise the minor damage.   



We made the two hour journey due east from Lake Michigan to Forest Dunes, which is between Grayling and Roscommon. To offer some context, that is about 3.15 hours to Little Caesars Arena, home of the mighty Detroit Red Wings. Neither Grayling nor Roscommon is very distinguished, but once at the resort that hardly matters. After the usuals, we made our way to the handsome first tee of the Black Course (clock-wise). Its hard to believe this is also the 18th fairway for the Red Course. The only hint of any such thing is the green sitting off the right with no obvious way to approach it! The tee shot needs to be a basher to reach this 430+ hole in two. There is an ornery hollow left of the green which can't be seen well from the low point of the fairway. It can be fully appreciated while standing on the 2nd tee. 


A short hole follows. The bunker mid-green left signals trouble. I am not sure its any worse than missing right, down the slope. 


I found the longish two-shotter 3rd rather awkward. The tee shot is hard on the left boundary, staring down trouble left and a bunker right. The green sits on a ledge hanging over a bunker and a drop-off right. In retrospect, it may be best to be intentionally short and left of the green on high ground. Its an uncomfortable hole, but perhaps the best long par 4 at The Loop. A wide open, moderate length two-shotter, the 4th is hard to visualize until closer to the green. Much depends on where the the hole is located! The front of the green is cocooned in the bossom of two large mounds. A right bunker is housed in one mound. Most of the run-away green hides behind the mounding. Of course, the fun hole location is up front where the mounds can be put to good use as buffers and deflectors. 


I made it a policy not look around for Red Course tees and shots. In this case, its fairly obvious a par three from the background ridge plays over the low ground to this green...14 Red. Thats Ally standing about wondering what in the hell we are doing  8) .


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 24, 2022, 11:52:00 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-4)
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2022, 12:59:06 PM »
I look forward to this.  There was a regional architect in Minnesota, Joel Goldstrand, who built several nine hole versions of these and I never found one I liked.   I think they would have been better served building the best nine possible in one direction.  The experience has somewhat tarnished my enthusiasm for making this trip.  Very interested to see Seanís impression of an effort by a more capable architect. 

Mike Bodo

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-4)
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2022, 03:47:45 PM »
Still one of the most fun rounds of golf I've had the privilege to experience. I need to go back and play the red routing and replay the black on back to back days. I also need to check out the Par 3 course, which was being built when I was there in 2019. I think I just talked myself into a weekend trip there next summer. LOL!  ;D
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-4)
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2022, 03:52:59 AM »
I look forward to this.  There was a regional architect in Minnesota, Joel Goldstrand, who built several nine hole versions of these and I never found one I liked.   I think they would have been better served building the best nine possible in one direction.  The experience has somewhat tarnished my enthusiasm for making this trip.  Very interested to see Seanís impression of an effort by a more capable architect. 

Jason

This was my first crack at a reversible course other than TOC. As I wrote elsewhere, The Loop was my main motivation for the trip and didn't disappoint.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 13, 2022, 06:40:58 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-4)
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2022, 07:44:42 AM »
THE LOOP BLACK TOUR CONT

On many of the holes where the ball can be kicked from tee to green. A few par 3s stand out as the exception and the 5th is one such example. The green is two tier sloping left toward a now familiar off green depression.


A reachable par five, the 6th has a perfectly placed bunker about 30 yards shy of the green which partially disguises the shallow green. I was taken by the run-away green. A view of the green from the right side.


One of those half par holes, the 7th is a short par 4, one of four. This is an attractive hole which has a lot going on for a guy like me who can't drive the green. The hole looks like a dogleg right because of the space left (line of charm), but there is a line of instinct which is harrangued by a centreline bunker, pinching rough and a supporting bunker nearer to the green. I don't know the course well enough to say if the line of instinct is worth the risk. I played conservatively left and had a routine approach. Ally drove way left and didn't seem to have much trouble with the second shot.




In this case the centreline bunker is directed toward the drive, regardless, I have always been a fan of bunkers well short of greens. 


Another carrry short hole, the 8th looks intimidating, but there is oodles of space to the rear of the green. I like the rough. There doesn't seem to be an effort to beautify these areas. They look like true native areas that are well controlled.


The side ends with a big par 4 which is a rather dull looking flat hole. It is the expert bunkering which creates the interest. The interplay between bunkers well short of the green on the left and the hollow staggered on the right reminds me of Tom Simpson's work. The short grass bleeding away left of the green is a great foil for the left to right tilt of the green. 


If there is one hole I didn't care for it is 10. This par 5 covers the same sort of the land as the 9th at the far end of the course.  The green is fairly small with a nose mound just short of it. Onto the the 11th. There is a lone pine up the right, shy of the green (background on 7 Red). It can block out appoaches, but look at the space left.


A sole centreline bunker stands between the golfer and a green in regulation. The fairway feeds into the bunker making the bounce in approach from the left a problem.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 03:24:23 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2022, 04:20:25 AM »
Sean,


To me and probably most golfers - judging from photos it looks rather bland however its hard to see the slopes it probably plays better in reality. Also I suspect that it is this way to enable the course to be playable in opposite directions in a loop rather than out and back like the Old Course/Old Course in reverse which seems to have more interest either way.


Cheers
Ben




Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2022, 10:32:57 AM »

To me and probably most golfers - judging from photos it looks rather bland however its hard to see the slopes it probably plays better in reality. Also I suspect that it is this way to enable the course to be playable in opposite directions in a loop rather than out and back like the Old Course/Old Course in reverse which seems to have more interest either way.



I would never put any of my courses in the same league as The Old Course [anti-clockwise], but whichever of the two routings at The Loop is the "B side", I will happily argue that it's better than The Old Course [clockwise], which has a few holes that don't work very well at all.


You are correct that there is less eye candy at The Loop than most modern courses.  Anything you do to make the bunkers more dramatic from one direction, makes them less dramatic from the other direction, unless you are just digging them deeper into the ground like in the U.K.  That's why I was pretty confident than Sean [who hates over-bunkering and eye candy] would like The Loop more than the average American rater.

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2022, 11:07:13 AM »
It is hard for the photos to do justice to the setting and charm of the course. The linear view of an individual golf hole doesn't give you enough of the frame and as has been discussed at length, the relatively mundanity of the landscape is the reason the reverse layout works so well.


I thought 7 on Black was the most visually appealing hole of either loop. It reminded me somewhat of Bandon Trails or the inland parts of Pac Dunes.


The nuance in the shaping work around the greens is going to be hard to pick up in this tour, but it is what will keep you engaged with the layouts for multiple plays. Our one circuit of each wasn't enough to appreciate it all, but I'm glad to have had the chance to experience it.
Best of '22: Al Mouj; Cleeve, Painswick, Minch Old, Silloth, Balfron, Archerfield, Roxburghe, Stoneham, Woburn Marquess, JCB, Hayling, Wentworth (East), East Sussex West, Dunes, Arcadia Bluffs South, Crystal Downs, The Loop, Shoreacres, Chicago, St. Patrick's, Rosapenna Sandy Hills & Old Tom Morris

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2022, 03:55:55 PM »

To me and probably most golfers - judging from photos it looks rather bland however its hard to see the slopes it probably plays better in reality. Also I suspect that it is this way to enable the course to be playable in opposite directions in a loop rather than out and back like the Old Course/Old Course in reverse which seems to have more interest either way.



I would never put any of my courses in the same league as The Old Course [anti-clockwise], but whichever of the two routings at The Loop is the "B side", I will happily argue that it's better than The Old Course [clockwise], which has a few holes that don't work very well at all.


You are correct that there is less eye candy at The Loop than most modern courses.  Anything you do to make the bunkers more dramatic from one direction, makes them less dramatic from the other direction, unless you are just digging them deeper into the ground like in the U.K.  That's why I was pretty confident than Sean [who hates over-bunkering and eye candy] would like The Loop more than the average American rater.


Tom,




Do you have any contour plans or plan sketches (did Don Placek do one?) showing landforms that you are willing to show on GCA as it is hard to see from photos or aerial photos. It will help some of us to understand the shapes and how it works on each hole in different directions?.


Some of us will never be able to play the Loop.




Cheers
Ben






« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 03:58:09 PM by Ben Stephens »

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2022, 04:05:35 PM »
Ben -

There are a number of videos touring the Loop on youtube. This is a good one to start with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOoMYOQ22f0

More here:  https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+loop+golf+course

These videos should give you a much better feel for the course.

DT
« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 04:10:16 PM by David_Tepper »

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2022, 07:48:10 PM »


Do you have any contour plans or plan sketches (did Don Placek do one?) showing landforms that you are willing to show on GCA as it is hard to see from photos or aerial photos. It will help some of us to understand the shapes and how it works on each hole in different directions?.



Somewhere, we have the original topo map, but we didn't do a drawing including that for the finished course.  With the exception of a few holes, the topo is relatively gentle.


A lot of the contouring that Ally is admiring is created, out of necessity because the superintendent took a lot of topsoil along with the trees during the clearing process, so we had to shape our way back up to the edges of the clearing, creating the fairway undulations in the process.  It was really a lot of extra work we didn't expect to have to do [and didn't get paid extra for], but it did give a lot of added interest to the design.  It's just at a scale that would make it pretty hard to illustrate -- as with, say, The Old Course.

Ronald Montesano

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2022, 08:05:46 PM »
What did the lad do with the soil and trees? Side hustle?
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Joe Hancock

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2022, 08:22:32 PM »
What did the lad do with the soil and trees? Side hustle?


Yep. The guy retired from the business because he found such a lucrative market for small red pines and small amounts of topsoil that the thousands of homeowners in the area clamored overÖ..


🙄
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Mike Schott

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2022, 09:31:00 PM »
Sean,


To me and probably most golfers - judging from photos it looks rather bland however its hard to see the slopes it probably plays better in reality. Also I suspect that it is this way to enable the course to be playable in opposite directions in a loop rather than out and back like the Old Course/Old Course in reverse which seems to have more interest either way.


Cheers
Ben


In my memory (I played Red and Black late in the first season and not since), much of the charm is the strategy of choosing the correct side of the fairways off the drive and moreso the green complexes. There are numerous options around most of the greens. I personally enjoyed using the abundant backstops as a hacker who missed most of the greens in regulation.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-11)
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2022, 11:54:46 AM »
The Loop Black Tour Cont

One of my favourite holes on the property, the 12th swings right between bunkers then downhill to one of the more bunker protected greens.


This hole is more akin to something one might find in the London Heathlands.


Behind the green.


The knob to knob 200ish yarder 13th is harsh, but delightfully so.




Behind the green.


The purple patch continues with #14. The fairway dips at about 230 yards from the tee. For those trying to recover from a poor drive right trees further on have a say in the matter. Fortunately, this par 4 is long enough that playing it as a par 5 is no shame.


A local, Eric Terhorst, joined us for both games. Judging by the conversation, Eric must know The Loop better than most as well he should considering how much he plays  8)


Another striking green.


On the short 15th the tees are shared with 4 Red which is to say there are tees scattered about the would be shared fairway. The huge right bunker is a bit of red herring as it is well short of the green.


It is difficult to say after one go, but this stretch of holes may well make Black my favourite of the two loops.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 03:29:21 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Eric_Terhorst

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2022, 06:09:11 PM »
Thanks for the shout-out Sean, and for showing my good side  :)   I enjoy being a tour guide at The Loop, just don't ask me to read putts for money.


For me, the Black's front nine is the best stretch of 9 holes at Forest Dunes. It's a blast of a par 34, with 3 par 3s of varied length and challenge, two terrific short par 3.5 holes (#4,7) and four tough par 4.5 holes (#1,3,6,9).  However, occasionally 4 strokes is a good outcome from greenside at #6, and all the greens have the potential to make you shake your head as you assess what to do next after missing. 


The greens at #9 and #13 are particularly challenging, with humps and hollows in and around the greens often leading to...uh...surprising results (expletives deleted).  Both are sensibly played by leaving the approach short and left-ish.


When we reached the par 3 13th tee and looked at the green up at the top of the hill, Ally said something like "She stands proud!"  Indeed, it's a brilliant choice for a green site, with only the top half of the flagstick typically visible from the tee.  Count me as one who generally enjoys an uphill par 3 with a skyline green.  This one though has numerous internal rolls, and it falls off both sides and slopes steeply from front to back--a few inches can make the difference between your second shot being a 40-foot twister or a straightforward uphiller.  The 13th can turn into another 4.5 par hole in a hurry.

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2022, 08:01:57 AM »
I'm really enjoying this tour so far. The green complexes look great - especially 4 & 6. The lack of fussiness (Sean describes as "true native areas that are well controlled") give this the feel of a UK course. I'm ashamed I've yet to make it up there to see.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2022, 09:19:57 AM »
Thanks for the shout-out Sean, and for showing my good side  :)   I enjoy being a tour guide at The Loop, just don't ask me to read putts for money.


For me, the Black's front nine is the best stretch of 9 holes at Forest Dunes. It's a blast of a par 34, with 3 par 3s of varied length and challenge, two terrific short par 3.5 holes (#4,7) and four tough par 4.5 holes (#1,3,6,9).  However, occasionally 4 strokes is a good outcome from greenside at #6, and all the greens have the potential to make you shake your head as you assess what to do next after missing. 


The greens at #9 and #13 are particularly challenging, with humps and hollows in and around the greens often leading to...uh...surprising results (expletives deleted).  Both are sensibly played by leaving the approach short and left-ish.


When we reached the par 3 13th tee and looked at the green up at the top of the hill, Ally said something like "She stands proud!"  Indeed, it's a brilliant choice for a green site, with only the top half of the flagstick typically visible from the tee.  Count me as one who generally enjoys an uphill par 3 with a skyline green.  This one though has numerous internal rolls, and it falls off both sides and slopes steeply from front to back--a few inches can make the difference between your second shot being a 40-foot twister or a straightforward uphiller.  The 13th can turn into another 4.5 par hole in a hurry.

Eric

13 Black and 6 Red may be my favourite short holes on the property. I am not sure, but they may be the longest and shortest of the par 3s.

Tucky

I don't know what they do with the rough, but it feels very natural and usually playable. I don't think I lost a ball in two days and I hit some loose shots. The course was presented about as well as could be in a firm & fast style....which is quite remarkable for Michigan.  You would love the courses.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 11:45:38 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Eric_Terhorst

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2022, 10:19:04 AM »

Eric

13 Black and 6 Red may be my favourite short holes on the property. I am not sure, but they may be the longest and shortest of the par 3s.


Sean, you're correct about the playing distances of your picks.   One of the great things about The Loop is that together the Red and Black have 10 (!) excellent par 3s.  I find the green at 13B a touch severe for a long uphill hole--diabolical fun for resort play, but can be exasperating in repeat plays.  I'll take the other short hole, #8, always deceptive and often wind-blown, as my favorite on the Black, and agree with you on 6 Red. 

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2022, 11:33:53 AM »


I'll take the other short hole, #8, always deceptive and often wind-blown, as my favorite on the Black, and agree with you on 6 Red.


8 Black is a personal favorite of mine.  It's really the only hole [twinned with 11 Red] that doesn't use the same corridor as the hole in the reverse direction; a photographer friend I played with laughed when we got to it because he had somehow missed that it was a hole while spending the previous two days taking pictures!


It's a very simple hole, fairly small green tilted away to the left, so the one thing you absolutely can't do is miss short right in the bunker, yet I have seen good players in important matches do just that, because they don't want to play too safe and give their opponent a chance to best them.


The most difficult part of the design, that most people never think about when playing the two courses, is that the greens often have to do double duty on two very different sorts of holes.  That one is a good example:  8 Black is a short par-3, but 10 Red is a very long par-4.  So how do you make a green that works well for both of those?  For that one, we just kept the green simple and pretty small . . . all of the bail-out area for the par-3 is the approach for the par-4, and on the par-4 the green tilts toward you and to the right, instead of away and to the left.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2022, 11:51:49 AM »
The Loop Black Tour Cont

The 16th isn't a hole which many will remember, but it is one of my favourites. There is trouble up the right for a variety of tee shot lengths, but the bunkers aren't intimidating...that is until one approaches from the left. The Biarritz style green sits above a large hollow to the right which is death by several almost shots.






Unlike above, Ally chipping from a sensible area.


A large dip shy of the 17th green is its main protection from reaching in two. I suspect many approaches finish right of the green. The home hole is attractive in that the bunkers play well with the elevation change. It pays to play from the top of the far side of the dip and to be right. The safer the tee shot to the left the more difficult the approach. There is a well shaped hollow to the rear of the green which played havoc with more than one of our recovery shots. 


Much like the Red, the Black course runs the gamit of difficult to easy, but always in a manner which is lively. The greens are of course brilliant. The use of short grass is at once a saving grace and a torture to be endured. While I am big fan of centreline bunkers, perhaps they were employed once or twice too often. Even with this slight drawback the bunkers are never anything less than thoughtful and there is often a push and pull narrative with the many hollows dotted around the course. A less obvious aspect of both courses which I found excellent is the use of trees. Because trees weren't used as penal green walls tightly aligned along fairways, I appreciated their use as single and small cops interventions. The Loop may well be the most arresting course I have ever played. There isn't a single hole among the 36 which feels wrong. I can sympathise with Tom Doak when he suggests that the Black and Red should be seen as one endeavour for there is not one without the other.  2* 2022

Happy Thanksgiving

Other courses on the 2022 Lake Michigan Tour:

The Loop Red


Crystal Downs
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,71406.0.html

Arcadia Bluffs South
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,71374.0.html

Eagle Springs & Dunes Club
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,71344.0.html

Lawsonia Links
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,71343.0.html
« Last Edit: November 25, 2022, 03:02:29 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2022, 08:38:40 PM »

A less obvious aspect of both courses which I found excellent is the use of trees. Because trees weren't used as penal green walls tightly aligned along fairways, I appreciated their use as single and small cops interventions.



Sean:


One reason I was more inclined to use those trees as hazards was that I realized they would only come into play half as often as on a normal course.  The trees on the approach to Red 13 are an afterthought on the tee shot for Black 6, and the lone pine on the approach to Black 11 is behind the green and out of play on Red 7.  That "half time" aspect of the course freed me up to do some things I might not normally do.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2022, 04:50:40 AM »

A less obvious aspect of both courses which I found excellent is the use of trees. Because trees weren't used as penal green walls tightly aligned along fairways, I appreciated their use as single and small cops interventions.



Sean:


One reason I was more inclined to use those trees as hazards was that I realized they would only come into play half as often as on a normal course.  The trees on the approach to Red 13 are an afterthought on the tee shot for Black 6, and the lone pine on the approach to Black 11 is behind the green and out of play on Red 7.  That "half time" aspect of the course freed me up to do some things I might not normally do.

Yes. I don't even recall the number of tree holes there are. I am usually annoyed by trees, but at The Loop I think they add something positive to the design. Just as important, if the trees disappear the holes aren't spoiled. While I like the somewhat similar use of trees at Crystal Downs, I think the holes will be badly effected when they go. I still think Renaissance went too far in getting rid of trees. They should have ignored the questions about the course being a links or not.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022:

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2022, 06:24:05 AM »
Trees only become annoying as hazards when a course is tight. The few occasions that a tree comes in to play at The Loop works well for added variety because the flanking stands of trees are generally well back from any line of play.


The Loop is really an incredible golf course. Aside from the absolute mastery of the build and detail, the whole aesthetic completely suits my tastes.





Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: 2022 Lake Michigan Tour - 5 THE LOOP BLACK (1-15)
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2022, 09:43:16 AM »


I still think Renaissance went too far in getting rid of trees. They should have ignored the questions about the course being a links or not.



It's hard to ignore the questions when it's the client who thinks it needs to be more of a links.

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