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Bucks Golf Course

By Don Vanderveen / Photography by Umlex Group

Mt. Pleasant has become a casino-based oasis where big money can be made or lost at the flip of a card. But when it comes to great golf in the area, the Bucks stop here.

Bucks Run, a Jerry Matthews’ designed golf course, has joined The PohlCat on the banks of the Chippewa River to provide the Mt. Pleasant area with another outstanding championship golf course.

The golf course is a sprawling 290 acres of woodlands and wetlands built around a 35-acre lake, creating a scenic, peaceful country club setting. The 18,000 square foot clubhouse resembles a large, upscale hunting lodge offering views of the lake and several holes on the course.

“ We did what the land dictated,” Matthews said. “The finished product is one of my favorites, without a question. From a design standpoint, it’s the third course we’ve done around a gravel pit mining operation. I find them extremely challenging. I always say that nature is the best designer, and our chore is to find golf holes nature has created. Working with a man-made mining operation on man-made landscape presents a lot of interesting scenarios.”

Five holes at Bucks Run play around Fisher Lake, the centerpiece of the layout.

“ The lake ties the whole thing together, because you start and finish there, and you get different looks going around the course,” Matthews said. “I really enjoy the eighth hole, because we did nothing but build a green and four tees and it worked out exceptionally well.”

Three more holes play along the Chippewa River, which borders the north end of the course. Several tee shots near the quarry can be hit from the top of a cliff to the greens. One is a 195-yard shot that is all carry, creating a spectacular free fall down to the receptive green.

“ There’s trouble out there, but it’s fair,” head professional Jim Zeh says. “You can see what you’re going after. There are some all-carry shots — and some shots you have to drive over water or wetlands to get to the fairway — but there are no hidden shots.”

The former land mining site had been dormant until it was brought to life by the Fisher brothers — Bill, Jim and Bud — and the architectural skills of Matthews. Continuous asphalt cart paths meander throughout golf course.

“ They had the advantage of owning the property and the money they saved by being in the construction and concrete business, they put back into the course,” Zeh said. “The results speak for themselves.

“ Jerry Matthews brought a world of experience,” Zeh added. “He’s built so many courses in Michigan that he is used to natural surroundings and working with water, trees and wetlands. All the work was done in the gravel pit. It was a big hole in the ground and the water naturally filled it up. They took down as few trees as possible and saved as many as they could.”

With at least four sets of tees located on every hole, Bucks Run is accommodating to most handicaps. It plays 6,756 yards from the black tees, 6,291 from the white, 5,920 from the gold and 5,090 from the red.

Several golf packages are available to play and stay at Mt. Pleasant’s two championship courses — Bucks Run and The Pohlcat — and then try dealing with “Lady Luck” at the nearby Soaring Eagle Casino. Less than an hour to the west is St. Ives, and the soon-to-be-opened Tullymore.

In addition to the championship course at Bucks Run, there is a small island 18-hole Green Grass Putting Course offering a fun and challenging natural round of miniature golf.

“ There’s a lot of golf up here,” Zeh said. “We have great golf, a great clubhouse and great service. When it’s all blended together it makes a great package.”

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