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By Don Vanderveen

Scott Lake Golf Club has built a reputation as “The place where golf is fun.” Now, it has nine additional reasons to support that claim.

Long known for its well groomed 18 holes and Friday scramble format, Scott Lake has opened up another dimension for West Michigan golfers with its new South 9.

Don’t be fooled by the name designation. The South 9, which opened in 1998, plays more like a “Northern 9.”

It has a distinct Northern Michigan feel to it complete with elevated tees, ravines and valleys, wetlands, rolling mounds, hardwoods and water.

“ People who play it say that it reminds them of courses up north,” Scott Lake general manager Jeff Hoag Sr. says.“There’s not another nine like it in Grand Rapids.”

Designed by Jeff Gorney, the layout of Scott Lake’s South 9 is superb. The views are dramatic. Best of all, it is only minutes away from downtown Grand Rapids and the greens fees are in line with the West 9 and East 9 at Scott Lake.

“ It is a special nine holes, no question,” Hoag said. “But it’s critical to us to still give our customers great value. “ It has certainly provided us with the availability of more tee times. It’s like allowing our customers to go up north without emptying their wallets.”

With a natural topography similar to that of northern Michigan courses, a lot of target golf is required. It is not as forgiving as Scott Lake’s other 18 holes, but it is not overly difficult to play, either.

“ Because the wetlands come into play, it can be more difficult for the less-skilled golfer,” Hoag said. “But you don’t have to be a hero on every shot. You just have to hit good golf shots.”

The first two holes will make someone forget that this is Kent County. From the tunnel underneath the road to the first tee, to the wetlands that come into play before the first green, to the elevated tee shot hovering over the 170-yard, par-3 at No. 2, The South 9 seems like a “North 9.” Wetlands offset No. 3 with hardwoods emerging on the fourth and fifth holes, providing exhilarating views of the course. The rest of the course sets up much the same way — with elevated tee shots, wetlands and rolling valleys with an undulating green at No. 9.

Hint: take time to review the course guide provided when playing it for the first time.

“ Our customers just love playing that nine,” Hoag beams.

The 2,931-yard, South 9 will create a different 18-hole rotation during the week for those who play Scott Lake, providing patrons with a pleasant change of scenery.

For those who want to play a straight, honest golf course that has long been a favorite in West Michigan, Scott Lake’s East 9 (3,070 yards) and West 9 (3,282 yards) remain competitive and in excellent shape.

Those 18 holes are the centerpiece for one of the area’s largest and longest running competitive tournaments: Scott Lake’s Two-Person Friday Scramble. It allows golfers to compete for prizes in an 18-hole tournament with cart for a cost lower than many greens fees in the area.

“ We’ve been very successful with that format and it has provided a niche for the golfing community,” Hoag said.

And now with a South 9 that takes people “up north,” Scott Lake is fulfilling yet another niche for West Michigan.

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