Designers Johns and Rhebb debut resort’s newest world-class attraction
Roscommon, MI – Northern Michigan’s Forest Dunes, one of the country’s most acclaimed golf destinations, is proud to announce the August 1 opening of its new 10-hole, 1,135-yard Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns-designed Short Course.
Home to the celebrated Tom Weiskopf-designed Forest Dunes course (ranked 28th on Golf Digest’s list of America’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses) and the innovative reversible Tom Doak layout, The Loop (with its counterclockwise Red routing ranked No. 47 and the clockwise Black routing ranked No. 45 on the same Golf Digest list) and the 18-hole, two-acre Hilltop Putting Course, Forest Dunes offers one of the most complete and unique golfing destinations for golf aficionados and buddies trips.
Situated on a peaceful, rolling bulge of land positioned perfectly between The Loop and Forest Dunes courses and near the spacious clubhouse, pavilion, practice area and massive HillTop Putting Course, the short course, with fun, strategic holes measuring between 65 and 150 yards, is a new focal point and an energetic hot spot for golfers of all ages and skill levels.
Forest Dunes owner Lew Thompson wanted a fun and playable course for his grandkids and beginning golfers so he entrusted Johns and Rhebb, who helmed the renovation at Orlando’s Winter Park 9 course, to build a course with entertaining shot values and an unintimidating sense of fun. He also wanted it ready for this summer. Johns and Rhebb responded with a course that has excellent shot values while maintaining a playfulness is throughout the design. And they got it built and grassed in just 81 days.
“We essentially had carte blanche from Lew, which was awesome, and really the only way we could get the project completed in time,” says Rhebb. One of the few requests Thompson had was to make the course playful––a theme that permeated throughout the design process.
“You don’t often get the chance to get super creative when designing courses, but with the short course we really had the opportunity to have some fun with it. Lew wanted it to be fun and always engaging, and we were able to express that in the design,” Rhebb adds.
The short course’s creatively-designed greens are constructed to funnel balls toward pin locations, improving the likelihood of ever-elusive holes-in-one, while a few tee shots tempt you to make use of strategic slopes and banks instead of flying it in the air. The greens showcase a variety of subtle shapes, many being bowl-shaped and some resembling catcher’s mitts or table tops.
A unique feature on the course will be that holes 1 and 10 are crossover holes with a tree protecting from direct ball flight issues. “The land gave us such a great canvas to create something fun that offers a ‘welcoming handshake’ to entry-level players and says ‘this is what golf can be.’ Here you can go out in your flip flops and hit flop shots with a few buddies, try to make an ace on every hole, or use a putter off the tee to try and run one on the green,” says Johns.
Not only does the design lend itself to great on-course fun, its routing also incorporates Forest Dunes’ bustling social scene, with the entire first hole and 10th viewable from the pavilion. “The pavilion is the social hub, it’s where music is playing and people are having drinks, so we wanted to take some of that liveliness and put it into play somehow,” Johns adds.
Thompson thinks the prime location of the short course will easily entice guests to play it before or after a round on The Loop or Forest Dunes or any time they’re recreating on the resort grounds. “When you come to Forest Dunes, we want you to have a good time,” says Thompson, who says music, bare feet and eightsomes are all fair game on the new par-three course if that’s what it takes to make the game more accessible and fun. “What Keith and Riley have built is bringing a new life and energy to the property. It’s going to bring people together and make their time here more enjoyable.”
To learn more, visit www.forestdunesgolf.com or follow them on Twitter @forestdunesgolf.
About Forest Dunes
Nestled on 1,300 acres of heavily wooded land within the Huron National Forest, Forest Dunes has become one of the country's premier golf experiences. In this pristine setting, Tom Weiskopf designed one of his top layouts featuring rugged native dunes, scruffy sand areas and water features. The course has been consistently ranked among the best courses by the leading golf publications. Golf Digest, which ranked its original Weiskopf course the Best New Course in the Country when it opened in 2002, currently ranks it No. 28 among its top public courses, and GOLF Magazine and Golfweek have also ranked it among their Top 100 courses. The unique and reversible Tom Doak design, The Loop, adds a second/third Best New Course to the golf experience at Forest Dunes. In addition, the property features the beautiful Adirondack style Clubhouse with Sangomore’s restaurant, Lake AuSable Lodge with 14-rooms, new golf villas, and cottages.
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