Golf Course Reviews

Donald Ross Memorial | 8.5 Score

Donald Ross Memorial, Hole No. 3 | Par 3. Replica of No. 11 at Charlotte Country Club
Donald Ross Memorial, Hole No. 3 | Par 3. Replica of No. 11 at Charlotte Country Club.

Location: Harbor Springs, Mich.
Course architects: Bill Newcomb. Jim Flick, Everett Kircher, Stephen Kircher, Bernie Friedrich and Newcomb formed the committee that selected the holes.
Opened: 1989
Par: 72
Tee — Yardage | Rating / Slope: 
Brown — 6,814 | 73.9 / 143
Purple — 6,563 | 72.3 / 140
Orange — 6,233 | 71.1 / 136
Green — 5,658 | 67.9 / 139
Silver — 4,935 | 64.5 / 129
Orange — 6,233 | 77.4 / 145
Green — 5,658 | 67.9 / 139 
Red — 4,935 | 69.8 / 129  
Saturday morning green fee: $$ [$50-$99] 
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: Carts only
Fairways: Bentgrass
Greens: Bentgrass

8.5 Fun Meter

Starter: The Donald Ross Memorial, an amenity of the Boyne resorts, pays homage to the legendary golf architect who designed more than 600 courses, including Pinehurst No. 2, Seminole, Royal Dornoch, Oakland Hills, Inverness and Aronimink. Each Ross Memorial hole is identical to a famous original in shape, bunkering, yardage and elevation changes. The 18 holes were chosen from among 300 candidates by a team that spent four years scouting Ross designs in search of holes that worked with Boyne’s gentling rolling terrain.  

Play because ...: The Ross Memorial offers the opportunity to play holes from 14 different Donald Ross courses, many of them that are not open to public play, and to test oneself against holes that saw action in three Ryder Cups, eight U.S. Amateurs, 11 PGA Championships and 14 U.S. Opens. In 1990, Golf Digest named Donald Ross Memorial the best new course in the U.S.

Takeaway: From its deep hay-like rough to its domed greens, false fronts, and 120-plus bunkers, the Ross Memorial dangles risk and reward throughout and challenges players to think strategically on each tee. About a six-hour drive north of Chicago, it’s a great finale of a week-long buddies’ trip to one of Boyne’s three resorts, which offer a chance to play 10 affiliated courses, including designs by Arthur Hills and Robert Trent Jones Sr. For families, the Boyne resorts offer indoor and outdoor swimming, segway tours, a zip line, fat-tire bicycling, tennis, chairlift rides, horseback riding and fishing.

THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale; 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 8.3
Pro shop: 8.0
Clubhouse: 8.5
Difficulty: 8.8
Pace of play: 8.8

Best par 3: No 8 [181 | 167 | 143 | 118 yards]
This hole is a replica of No. 11 at Charlotte Country Club. If you’re afraid of the water, then Ross gets into your head here despite the serenity of scene dominated by a weeping willow on a peninsula jutting into the lake. With a little more length this could be a drivable par 4, but at 181 yards, the hole demands a solid shot over water to a heavily bunkered green. For poorly struck shots, a severe false front can send a ball trickling back into the drink just 4 yards short of the putting surface.

Best par 4: No. 18 [438 | 407 | 375 | 350 | 264 yards]
A replica of the 16th hole at Oakland Hills Country Club’s South Course near Detroit, this dogleg right curls around a lake. From the back tee, a drive of 276 yards to provides a clear view of the green, followed by a wedge or 9-iron that must clear water short and avoid four bunkers left and long. As with any great finishing hole, you’ll feel the critical eyes of diners in the clubhouse perched just behind the green. 

Best par 5: No 13 [510 | 502 | 458 | 411 | 372 yards]
Faithful to No. 15 at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., a lake looms right of a fairway spilt down the middle by four yawning bunkers. Ross designed this to offer a clear choice – take the shortest line to the hole and bring water into play or take the safe line to the left fairway, add up to 60 yards to the hole and forget about getting home in two.

Phone: 844.247.2466
Instagram: @boyne.highlands
Twitter: @Boyne_Highlands

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