Cypress Point. Royal Melbourne. St. Andrews.
Portmarnock. Lahnich. The names alone
elicit visions of golf tradition, grandeur
too, is a golf course that can stand on
Only time will
tell, but Arcadia Bluffs — a Rick Smith designed
course set alongside the Lake Michigan
shoreline — may very well
be history in the making.
day, it too may be revered as a site that is
a benchmark for
other outstanding courses to measure themselves
It may be the finest facility you’ll find
in the United States, maybe in the world,” Arcadia
Bluffs director of golf William Shriver claims. “And
I’m not taking anything away from the rest
of the world, either.”
Shriver isn’t just speaking in platitudes.
His exuberance is not unfounded. Arcadia Bluffs
has emerged as a world class golf experience
on a setting so beautiful that a camera should
be standard issue equipment for any round.
The meshing of blue hues from the sky and the
lake, combined with the rich, deep green tints
of the bentgrass golf course spread over rolling
sand dunes create a spectacular color panorama
suitable for framing.
Forget about whether it’s a golf course
or not, I challenge anyone to find a better piece
of property in the state of Michigan, period,” Shriver
said. “There’s not another piece
of property like it, and certainly no other golf
course like it in Michigan.”
Arcadia Bluffs is located a few miles south — as
the sea gull flies — of the magnificent
time-tested Alister Mackenzie creation at Crystal
Now I know what Mackenzie felt like back along
time ago when he was given all these spectacular
sites to work with,” Smith said. “This
is beyond spectacular.”
Unlike Crystal Downs, which is a private
club, Arcadia Bluffs — with all its grandiose
accoutrements — is open for public play.
The par-72 golf course is laid out on 245
acres alongside the Lake Michigan shoreline.
of magnificent oceanside golf courses,
breath-taking views of America’s greatest freshwater
lake can be seen on every hole.
It’s about the most water a person will
see from a golf course without any of it coming
The wind-swept sand dunes are covered with
native grasses and fescue, enhancing the
look even more.
Over 50 sod wall bunkers — reminiscent
of those found overseas — are smartly placed
throughout the course, adding an element of beauty
and deep deception.
With no water hazards on the course, the fescues,
bunkers and chipping areas around the greens
gives Arcadia Bluffs the feel of famous ocean-side
courses in America and the United Kingdom,” Smith
The elevation changes, dramatic backdrop
of the lake and playability/difficultly
all provide a slightly different look
from every tee, like 18 original oil
in an art
There is very little on that course that is created,” Shriver
said. “From the get-go, the goals were
to work with the land. The links-type layout
is a design that fits perfectly with that type
It is a challenging, but fair golf
Aracadia Bluffs plays as long as 7,405
yards from the championship tees. With
winds, it can show its teeth. But its
beauty will never
be outdone. The front tees play nearly
2,300 yards shorter with other choices
You can make it as difficult as you want to make
it,” Shriver said. “But like any
course in the world, if you put the ball into
play off the tees and keep it on the fairway,
you can play it and be successful playing it.”
The greens are large and undulated.
Distances to the pins are displayed
from each cart
on the Global Positioning Satellite
There’s a premium on the game from 75 yards
in,” Shriver says. “You have to think
before you shoot.
There are seven pin positions and every one is
very accessible and very equitable. It draws
on your creativity as well as your skill.”
A typical round at Arcadia Bluffs
begins with some early birdie opportunities.
nine features three par-5s, three
par-3s. All three par-5s are played
over the first five holes.
The back nine is a more traditional
The No. 13 hole features and elevated
teeing area with a fairway carved
out of a deep
ravine. Playing it is like going
through a deep valley
of fescue-covered sand dunes. No.
15 rolls between high, grassy knolls
behind the green. No. 16 is laid
out alongside a cliff of shorline
with a 225-foot
drop to the beach with the lake
view present all the way down.
It just builds as you go,” Shriver said. “All
18 holes are certainly wonderful, and when people
ask me what our signature hole is, I just tell
them to pick one.
After the 10th hole — from 11 through 18 — it
is the finest stretch of golf holes you’ll
ever play. It just gets a little better as you
go. You have the views of the lake, a lot of
elevation change and dramatic sculpting. It’s
a very strategic stretch of holes, as well as
breathtaking and beautiful.”
The clubhouse is grand. The
dining excellent. The lounge
The golf shop
friendly. The practice range
and short-game facility
outstanding. The golf course
second to none.
When people first see it, they are in awe,” Shriver
Dramatic. Breathtaking. If
we have 100 players, we hear
it 100 times.
You wouldn’t know whether you’re
on the Monteray Peninsula
or Lake Michigan. You could be anywhere in the
We’ll let the golf course, the clubhouse
and the staff speak for
A golf experience at Arcadia
Bluffs will certainly speak
don’t forget the camera.
It will guarantee some outstanding shots — with
our without clubs.