Review: Lost Dunes Golf Course, MI

A Tom Doak Masterpiece in MI
Lost Dunes is a private course just a little over an hour from Chicago that Tom Doak formed from an old sand pit right by Lake Michigan. While it doesn’t have any lake views, it is just inside the dunes. This is one of those courses for years that I’ve dreamed of playing. Make the drive on I94 between Chicago and Detroit, many drivers will have noticed this course on both sides of the highway. Driving by at 70mph, you can only get a glimpse of the course, but what you could see from the car, always made me want to stop and play. So on my last trip to MI I decided it was time to make it happen. While it is private, they do allow some outside play, and they do often host outings for members and guests.
After getting buzzed in and all set up, I was joined by my caddie Mark. (An excellent caddie by the way)  I would suggest playing with a caddie at this course, since Tom Doak has a couple of wrinkles here and there that getting some advice will make your round much more enjoyable.  The first hole is a solid par 4 that you tee off high and kind of plays slightly downhill to the green.  The second hole is a well-designed par 4 that has sandy waste area all along the right side.  The green is also tucked into some dunes on the left side.  The next par 3 is pretty straight forward.  The par 5 4th hole is a solid test.  The green has great undulation and offers a wide variety of hole locations making it play very different depending on pin placement.  The 5th hole is a long demanding par 3 that can play anywhere from iron to driver depending on wind and tee-markers.  The next two holes are solid par 4s that play next to each other and have some big fairway bunkers that are best to be avoided.  Then there is a short walk back under the highway to hole 8.  It is a long par 5 that plays over a small lake.  Depending on what tees you are playing is how much lake you have to shoot over.  From there it is bombs away to get to the green.  The par 3 9th is a solid closing hole returning you right to the club house. 

There is such a long hike to the tee of hole 10 that they will give you a shuttle to the tee.  This par 4 is very demanding.  It takes a huge drive to have a comfortable shot into this well-guarded green.  A wide creek runs right in front of the green and left of the green.  Going long or right isn’t a good option either.  Laying up and going for a tight chip is probably the best option.  The next two holes are back and forth that play kind of in the open.  It is an uphill approach to the green and then climbing to the extremely elevated tee box for the next hole.  The next par 3 is somewhat tame, just giving you a little time to relax for the next stretch of 3 holes.  Starting with 14 you now enter a dramatic beautiful part of the course.  You tee off high and there is a large quarry lake all along the right side.  The 15th hole is a big par 5 that also has more lake all down the right side.  And when you get to the 16th hole which is at the end of the lake; you tee off on a par 3 to a severely undulated green.  The closing two holes are both solid tests of your driver.  They are both demanding shots that require accuracy.  As you wrap up your round on 18 you will have enjoyed a Tom Doak masterpiece.  While it is not as natural as some of his courses, his creativity and reclamation of this old sand quarry is excellent.  As expected with a private course, the conditions were excellent from tee to green.  

If you are in the Chicago area, check to see if there is an outing there for you to play in, or if you have connections, use them to get on this gem.  It is clearly one of the best in MI.

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Quick Hits
+Tom Doak masterpiece
+Pristine Conditions
+Fair yet demanding
+A the top 5 MI course

–Private so connections needed to play