The Forest Dunes fall landscape

The Forest Dunes fall landscape

Text: Greg Johnson

Fall is the best time for golf at Forest Dunes Golf Club reports Don Helinski, director of operations at the destination golf resort in Roscommon, Michigan near Grayling.

“September is always our busiest month of the year even though you wouldn’t think so, because everybody is back in school and things like that,” Helinski said. 

“It’s beautiful here always, but the colors change and the blue stem gets taller and look different with different color shades. You have the contrast of the native grasses with the trees and the waste areas and the natural dunes. It’s stunning to look around, and our courses are kept in top shape,” Helinski added.

Forest Dunes is located on about 1,300 acres of heavily wooded land within the Huron National Forest and has become one of the country’s premier golf experiences. The resort is home both parkland and innovative reversible courses, and as the colors begin to change in September, golfers are drawn to the unfolding drama. 

“I’ve always thought fall was a great time to play golf in Michigan, and obviously the secret it out,” Helinksi said. 

The classic style of Forest Dunes was designed by British Open Champion Tom Weiskopf featuring rugged native dunes, scruffy sand areas and water features. With bentgrass greens, tees, and fairways, and Kentucky Bluegrass roughs, Forest Dunes is a par-72 layout stretching about 7,116 yards in total. 

“We only do aerification on the Forest Dunes course and we wait until October,” Helinski said. “Un-punched golf conditions are available through the entire fall on The Loop courses, because they are young courses without the compaction yet. When we do aerification, we are top-dressing and keeping sand in the holes.”

The Loop, featuring Black and Red, was designed by Tom Doak of Renaissance Golf Design and opened in 2016 as a par-70 course with a total yardage of 6,704. Its landscaped design is comprised of Domainant X-Treme 7 greens, fescue mix fairways, and fescue mix and Colonial Bentgrass tees for the clockwise and counter-clockwise reversible course. 

Forest Dunes is hosting two special events in October, one of which, Brockwurst Open, was launched several years ago and proved to be so popular—and sellout so often—and led to the creation of the second event, the Fall Classic; both of which are four-person scrambles. 

The Fall Classic is October, 5 and the cost is $125 a player. It includes cart, lunch, and a buffet dinner as well as a Forest Dunes mug and two pours of beer. The Brockwurst Open will take place on October 12 and will also costs $125 per player and includes cart, lunch, and dinner. The theme is Bavarian so the dinner buffet and the beer pours include some Bavarian options. 

The property also features the beautiful Adirondack style Clubhouse with Sangomore’s restaurant, Lake AuSable Lodge with 14-rooms, new golf villas, and cottages.  

Photography by Brian Walters