Thursday, September 8, 2011

An outdoorsman's take on a southern Michigan golf course

Yeah, come nowhere near either of those numbers.

To quote one great line from the Big Lebowski, no, I am obviously not a golfer. I preface this post with that.

I do, however, like to pretend that I am one. So whenever I'm feeling adventurous on a getaway, I may stumble onto a golf course and swing my $8 left-handed golf clubs for a morning or afternoon.

My family has been camping at Somerset Beach Campground each Labor Day for what seems like the past 10-plus years. The campground, located in Somerset Township in northern Hillsdale County, is a nice alternative to going up north, which is what most Michiganders seem to do on the last weekend of summer.

My dad attempts a tee shot at tee No. 4.      

I began playing golf at Lake LeAnn Golf Course, a small, 9-hole course by the campground near Chicago Road, years ago, with my uncles and cousins showing me the basics. I can't say I'm much better now than I was then, but I get my lucky tee shot every once in a while on the course.

First of all, it's a cheap course. We paid $6 greens fees, which can be unheard of. With a cart, the total raised to $11. Not bad.

Of course, that $6 fee means the course may not be in great shape. And it wasn't. The fairways were a bit rough, and the greens had several brown spots all over them. It isn't watered as regularly as some golf pros probably want it to be, but we weren't complaining.

First tee from the teebox. Pin is up the hill on the left.
It's slightly hilly, as seen by the first tee. The green is up on a hill, and takes some maneuvering around some smaller hills to get there (if you don't crush your tee shot 350 yards). Other hills come into play as well, including the behemoth Hole 6, a 600 yard-plus par 5 that snakes up a hill.

Water doesn't play a factor in the course until you hit hole 9, which requires a tee shot over a lake. I've made it across the lake in my young years of golfing, but had no luck this year. Smacked a tee shot to the base of it, only to not get any lift and end up in the drink.

I'm biased since it's the course I grew up learning golf on, but it's not a bad little round. I do wish more care would be taken to the course, because it has potential. And only being 25 minutes south of Jackson, I was surprised to see very few golfers out on Labor Day weekend. No one was behind or in front of us the entire time.

The Pure Michigan campaign touts its golf courses in ads all the time. This is one course that probably doesn't get touted, but that's okay. I think we bad golfers wouldn't mind an inexpensive alternative to some of the pricier courses. We're obviously not golfers.

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