Review: LochenHeath Golf Course, MI

The Best on the Bay
Traverse City, MI is one of the golf meccas in the USA.  There are hundreds of golf holes in this resort area of MI.  With so many options, how do you know which golf course to play?  I’m in favor of playing as many of them as you can during your visit.  One spectacular course that you must play during your visit is LochenHeath.  It is a private club, but they offer limited outside play by request.  If you are considering Traverse City on a more regular basis, you should most definitely look into membership too.  It is the best on the bay.
The history of LochenHeath is most fascinating. It opened to great accolades only to fall into financial woes during the economic downturn.  It actually was shut down for 2 years.  It has since been revitalized into an incredible championship caliber course.  It is set on the high hills on Traverse Bay.  While the water never really comes into play, it serves as a beautiful backdrop on numerous holes.  When you drive into the gate community you are greeted by one of the most impressive range and practice facilities I’ve ever seen. 

After getting things taken care of in the clubhouse, the first tee offers a great panoramic view, but little in terms of an aiming point.   Once you line up and get that first tee shot out of the way, the rest of the hole and holes are fairly straight forward.  The par 3s on the front nine are incredible.  The 3rd hole is a really long par 3 from the tips; driver is a realistic possibility depending on the wind.  The 6th hole along the bay is a great short par 4 and the 8th and 9th holes are spectacular hit top settings with the bay in the distance.  I played from the tips and would recommend playing a tee-box or two up if you are not a big hitter/low handicap golfer.  The course is so much fun and challenging that if you only get one round here, don’t punish yourself from the tips. 
3rd Tee
8th Tee
The turn certainly doesn’t have any special feel to it, you just move on to another hole in the middle of the course.  But quickly you find out that 10-14 is the hardest section of holes on the course.  The uphill 10th is a long tough hole that demands good shots.  11 is a long par 3 that is very deceptive as to the aiming point.  You just can’t go right at all, it will end up in the pond.  The 12th offers a breather with a short and easy par 4.  The 13th and 14th holes are the 2 hardest holes on the course back to back.  The long uphill 13th is intimidatingly narrow off the tee, but you’ll still probably have a very long shot into a well guarded green.  The 14th is down hill but a really long dog leg that needs 2 perfect shots for a chance at par.  While the last 4 holes aren’t easy they are scoreable after surviving the previous holes. 
10th Tee
16th Green

This accessible private course has all the qualities you’d want from a one-time experience or a place to call your home course.  The views are amazing, the conditions are superb and the challenges are endless.  Don’t rush it at LochenHeath; get there early and improve at the practice facilities, stay there late and enjoy the patio/restaurant.  It truly is the “Best on the Bay!”

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Quick Hits
+Beautiful scenery
+Perfect conditions
+Firm and fast
+Variety of holes
+Accessible private
+Best practice facility

–Really, really tough from the tips