Golf Course Architecture - Issue 62: October 2020

71 The industry welcomes customers from in and out of state. Golf figures prominently in the state of Michigan’s extensive economic development and tourism ad campaign, simply titled ‘Pure Michigan’. Historically, Forest Dunes was envisioned as a private club/ real estate destination. The bubble bursting pivot forced upon all industries drove their switch from private, to a public destination resort. That pivot also informed a decision to become a multi-course facility. Frisch says: “The Forest Dunes course was a perennial favourite, but the resort also needed to entice people to stay overnight. The Loop has transformed the resort’s business into multi-day destination.” With the addition of the short course, it becomes a very sticky overnight. The evolution of destination golf demanded a second course at Forest Dunes. Michigan resident Tom Doak completed the Loop in 2016. It is a festival of thumpy fescue on sand. The routing clandestinely delivers two courses on the same land. This ingenuity becomes increasingly evident the deeper into the round in the opposite direction. It was likely a shock to the system for the Forest Dunes regulars, but a links lover will find the Loop an outstanding destination to prep for a trip to Scotland or Ireland. The conditions are stellar and the resort decision to allow carts has proven a marketing advantage. The Loop is a single 36-hole course. It is an enlightening experience. A round should not be considered complete if only played one way. It is a piece of golf art akin to Beethoven’s ninth or Prince’s Lovesexy album, where songs don’t have individual indexes. Our group was treated to a surprise visit from Loop architect, Tom Doak. After sending an email to alert him of our arrival and inquire what he was up to, he responded, “with interstate travel limited, not much, why?” He hopped in his car for the 1.5-hour trip and graciously joined us for 18 holes of the Loop and riveting nineteenth hole conversation. With the addition of the Rhebb and Riley short course – starting and finishing by the bar, which has outdoor seating, delivering a gallery effect on the finishing holes – as a destination, Forest Dunes is an interesting combination of something for everybody. My dad would have done laps on the Weiskopf: green, excellently conditioned but moist and pretty with fantastic putting surfaces. I could lap the Loop all day and we would all meet at the short course for a settling of bets followed by a putt off on the putting course. Everybody wins and that is hard to do when some favour opposite conditions. GCA Photos: Forest Dunes