Location: Bark River, Mich.
Course architect: Paul Albanese
Tee — Yardage | Rating / Slope:
Black — 7,375 | 76.4 / 147
Blue — 6,852 | 73.9 / 138
White — 6,356 | 71.7 / 133
Gold — 5,841 | 69.2 / 128
Red — 5,231 | 76.4 / 147
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: No
Fairways: Low-Mow Bluegrass
Starter: This is one of Michigan’s newest courses and it has a unique design courtesy of architect Paul Albanese, a resident of Plymouth, Mich. The course complements Sweetgrass Golf Club, another Albanese design, that is part of the Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Mich. Sage Run is 8 miles from the Island Resort and its creation is part of an $8 million renovation of the resort.
Play because ...: In addition to being new to Michigan’s vast golf marketplace, Sage Run has an unusual look. Albanese made use of a huge drumlin — a big ridge that runs through the center of the 300-acre property and creates a variety of elevation changes. The holes run around, over and through the drumlin.
◼ Related: Q-and-A: Paul Albanese
Takeaway: Sage Run is a most challenging layout, no matter what tees are in play. The course is obviously lacking in maturity and there are plenty of loose rocks in the rough areas that can come into play. Lots of balls get lost in those areas. The clubhouse and pro shop are small but cozy in these early days of operation. Once the obvious cleanup measures are completed, however, Sage Run figures to be a nice option for golfers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale; 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 6.5
Pro shop: 5.0
Pace of play: 6.5
Best par 3: No. 5 [170 | 163 | 156 | 133 | 120 yards]
The first par-3 hole on the course can be very misleading. It plays severely uphill, meaning that two or three extra clubs might be needed to accommodate the listed yardage.
Best par 4: No. 8 [298 | 274 | 254 | 233 | 209 yards]
This one plays uphill, too, but it’s drivable. This is a good risk-reward hole thanks to a split fairway. A successful tee shot to the left side could lead to reaching the green. A drive to the right is safer, but that brings into play a number of bunkers fronting the green.
Best par 5: No. 12 [585 | 539 | 500 | 461 | 414 yards]
This hole presents another split fairway to a green that is slightly elevated. The lower fairway is wider and safer, but the approach is then over bunkers to a blind putting surface. The upper fairway is tougher to hit but could offer a less challenging approach to the green.