After 36 holes yesterday, I am wondering if I’ll be able to battle through another double today. I’m immediately refreshed as I pull up the hill to the clubhouse at Arcadia Bluffs. The views here are nearly impossible to beat, and the clubhouse is a perfect compliment to the surroundings.
This is the third time I’ve been able to tee it up at Arcadia Bluffs. I’d like to say that each time it gets easier, but it doesn’t. The conditions dictate the playability, and the conditions are almost always the same = WINDY.
I had the one of the first tee times out that morning and was paired with only 1 other guy, Dewey from Illinois. He was on his annual trip to the Traverse City area with his wife and kids and took a day for himself to come out and enjoy the Bluffs. We ended up playing the blue tees, one up from the tips, and regretted that choice on a few of the holes for sure.
I started the day well with a smooth par on the first. I was hitting the ball very well all day, especially on the front, but missed 3-4 putts that I have got to start making if I’m gonna shoot the scores I want to shoot. It’s as simple as that.
I scraped it up the 10th and found myself stuck in one of the 10-foot deep green side bunkers. 3 attempts later I was on the green where I FINALLY made a putt…to save double bogey. The eleventh wasn’t much better as I was stuck in the waste area that stripes the left side of the hole. By the time it was over I had back to back doubles.
The next 2 holes hug the coastline, 200 feet or so above the crashing Lake Michigan waves. The views are as clear and beautiful as any I have seen on a golf course. The sun was shining high in a cloudless sky and the lake was the most perfect shade of blue. It’s moments like this that make me happy, even if my golf game isn’t.
The fairways are generous on most of the holes, with large, firm, undulating greens. There are several false fronts throughout, and the wind should dictate how you’re going to play each shot. All in all, the Bluffs course is hard to beat. A great test surrounded by some of the most peaceful views you can imagine. It helps that I didn’t lose a ball.
We finished up the morning round and parted ways. Dewey had to get back to the family and I had a tee time 3 miles down the road at Arcadia Bluffs South Course. When I tell you that the two courses couldn’t be any more different, believe me. The Bluffs is hilly, sweeping, and undulating. The South is flat, firm, and fast.
I’m not saying that I didn’t like the South, but I didn’t love it either. To be completely fair, it is not my style of golf. Or I didn’t play it the right way. Or I was tired. Or the foursome ahead of us was relentlessly slow the entire round of golf and nobody did anything about it.
I played with two great guys, Clay and Hector. Former colleagues in an IT gig, they had played a couple rounds that week, and were wrapping up their time together on the South Course. We waited on every shot we took from the 11th hole on, and even many before that. I clocked the group on the 18th tee, and they took 4:53 to hit their tee shots. That’s just too slow – more to come in another post on that.
The conditions of the course were great. Again, it is designed to be an old school links style course, with squared off greens, rectangular bunkering, and a fast, dry feel. The ball rolled in the fairways, through a lot of the greens, and sometimes into bunkers I didn’t think I could get to. Probably my toughest round of the trip to date, the course didn’t leave me feeling great. In an effort to be fair to the course, I certainly didn’t play it well. Nobody to blame but me.
Clay & Hector didn’t seem to have the same troubles I had with the course, as they played solid rounds of golf and seemed to thoroughly enjoy their day on the South course. I may or may not have offended Hector when I told him the ball he was playing was perfect for the course – he was playing a Top Flite XL, and the thing was rolling forever on the fairways! The comment was not intended to come out as it did, and I hope he knows I wasn’t jabbing him.
The day was fantastic, and I enjoyed the company on both courses. I wrapped up the day by returning to the Bluffs, opening a bar tab, and finding a seat in the row of Adirondacks overlooking the 18th green and Lake Michigan. The bagpiper came out at 7pm and played for about 45 minutes. Such a peaceful setting with great people and perfect weather. If only every day could end this way, I thought. Life would be good.
Well, luckily life is good even without those days. But it sure is great to sprinkle in a few of them every once in a while!