Review: Tullymore Golf Course, MI

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover
We all know the saying that judging a book by its cover is a very bad idea.  Golf courses can be the same way.  Sometimes a couple pics on the internet and we might think we know how a course will play or what the experience will be like.  I have to admit, I’d seem some pics of Tullymore and while they were nice, I can’t say they wowed me.  Even as you scroll through the pics I took while playing Tullymore, you might not be blown away like some other courses.  But let me say this, Tullymore is a unique and challenging course that is a must play in MI.
Tullymore has an interesting feel when you drive up.  It is kind like a resort area, but yet feels like a high-end suburb when you arrive.  The clubhouse is impressive as is the landscaping around the entrance.  The staff kindly greets you and shows you the way to go for check in and then the range.  While I knew the courses was often highly ranked in the state, I just wasn’t blown away by the pictures.  I was so wrong about this course.  Once I got out on the holes and meandered around the front 9 I was blown away.  It is hard to put it in words the unique nature of each hole, having many simple design features I haven’t seen in other courses, and the sheer joy of playing such a surprising layout.  The par 3s were so solid and some unique 4s really had me thinking through the whole front side.  My favorite holes had to be hole 4, 5 and 9.  The back to back par 3s of holes 4 and 5 were so different.  The 4th hole is a beautiful shot over water while the 5th is a downhill and is semi-blind to much of the green.  The 9th hole is a short uphill par 4 that is incredibly unique how it plays and looks.

After passing by the clubhouse and heading to the back 9, I found the second half of the course was even more interesting than the first half.  So many holes had me thinking and pondering if I had ever seen another hole like this before.  The final few holes are really impressive.  The horseshoe shaped green at 16 after 600 yards of fairway is really special.  The finishing hole is another par 5 which offers so much risk and reward to finish strong or finish big.

Since the course has 5 par 3s and 5 par 5s it really sets it apart from other more “traditional” layouts. The par 35 front and 37 back too makes for an interesting feel between the 2 nines. If you play from the back tees it can play quite long at over 7200 yards.  The layout is really great, and the conditions are some of the best you’ll find around.  Every green was smooth and fast, the fairways were tight and bouncing and the rough was thick, but manageable.  It is a really tough course with lots of water so be prepared.

I arrived at Tullymore not expecting much, but I left simply blown away by the course architecture.  Jim Engh might have designed one of the most unique courses I’ve ever played.  The challenging routing and radical green complexes make this one of the best courses in MI.  I know it has received fan fair from national publications, but until you play it for yourself it is hard to understand how great this course is.  Don’t judge it by a couple cover pictures, get there and play this outstanding track.

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Quick Hits
+Unique layout
+Beautiful scenery
+Stellar conditions
+Variety of holes

–Really tough