In southwest Michigan, there are two golf courses offering 36 holes and one unforgettable day.
By Greg Johnson
It is about 20.3 miles between HawksHead Links Golf Course in South Haven and Ravines Golf Club in Saugatuck as the hawk might flight or as golfers can drive.
Both are located off of the I-96 corridor as it winds between South Haven and Saugatuck just inland from Lake Michigan; and they are award-winning public golf resort options for the traveling golfer.
They compete in a way, but more often than not are an irresistible 36-hole-in-a-single-day option of the highest order featuring great variety, top-notch design, and great playing conditions.
Quinn Smith of QNorth Golf, the management company for Ravines, said the visitors they attract are upscale destination golfers, who are often seeking multiple options and venues to try on their trips through Southwest Michigan.
“We recommend HawksHead when those golfers call in large part, because what the golfer can get is two great golf experiences on two very different golf courses. The golf courses are both excellent, yet couldn’t be more different,” said Smith. “HawksHead features more prairie land and the long grasses, more links like, while the Ravines is a shotmaker’s course that is more wooded and really just a different look and feel.”
HawksHead is an Arthur Hills design founded in 1996 and features nearly 6,945 yards of links features with multiple tee options. Walking is permitted, and a great option. Hills designed a natural flowing course with native grasses and within a few years of being built, looked as if it had been there for many generations.
Greg Ruppert, a golf professional, is the manager for Owner Al Ruppert. Kevin Brinks is the director of golf, and Kevin Lamb is the superintendent. They run a course that exploring golfers will appreciate because of its variety and challenge. The Inn and restaurant are also outstanding for those who want to linger longer than the time it takes to play an 18-hole round.
To the north, Ravines is an Arnold Palmer design that opened to play in 2000 and features approximately 7,070 yards of multiple golf landscape. From some parkland holes to those appearing as if the great holes were built in, around, and crossing the natural ravines on the property, hence the name. The glaciers of long ago did some nice work carving the land, and Palmer’s design showcases it.
Rob Charter is the club manager, and the Superintendent is John Tuckerman. They present a casual, yet club experience and Arnie’s Cottage with local craft brews is a great 19th hole option. Like at Hawkshead, exploring golfers will enjoy the variety on the golf course. It demands good golf swings in places, yet offers multiple yardage options that suggest golfers check their egos and the door and choose carefully.