Red Hawk Landing High Praise
Red Hawk Golf Club in East Tawas, which is open for its second full season of golf, is considered by Golf Digest as the No. 11 golf course in the state of Michigan. This ranking includes private, public and resort courses. Kevin Whitmore, PGA pro and general manager at Red Hawk, beams with pride and says, "We are truly honored and excited to be named among so many outstanding and time-tested golf courses. For Red Hawk to be mentioned in the same breath as Oakland Hills, Crystal Downs, Bay Harbor and Point O'Woods is a fantastic achievement for our young golf course."
First impressions are not enough at Red Hawk. After a round last fall, I played it again in May, and was convinced that it belongs with the best in the state. This signature Arthur Hills' design is a classic, taking full advantage of what nature has to offer. The course blends in well with the 205 acres of pine, oak, maple, beech and birch forests. The tees, greens and fairways are all bent grass and are lined with huge forests providing dramatic backdrops for perfectly manicured greens. The greens are young but they are true and accurate. Accurate shot making is a must. Red Hawk plays 6,589 yards from the championship tees but don't let that fool you. Shot placement, strategy and accuracy all come in to play. The landing areas are generous but require good shot making to score well. There isn't a lot of water but what there is makes shot placement critical. Bunkers are minimal but placed in strategic locations to again force you to play risky shots.
Each hole takes on a different look and strategy. Take for instance, what I consider to be the best par-3 in the state. No. 3, 194 yards from the Gold back tee, is a spectacular hole in anyone's book.
Two nice features about Red Hawk are the well thought-out drop areas on certain holes bordering the wetlands in case of an errant shot and the generous approach areas to the greens.
Our foursome had difficulty picking its favorite hole because each hole is distinct. No. 4, a short par-4 sets up for birdie if you can find the right distance to the fairway avoiding the fairway bunker. But be careful. This is a beautiful hole but can be tricky. No. 7, the longest hole on the course, requires two well placed shots in order to avoid a blind shot on your approach. The approach plays slightly downhill with trouble on the left. No. 13 features paper birch lining the fairway, a strategically placed fairway bunker and a generous approach area.
Years ago, when I learned the proper way to caddy and the rules of the game, I was taught to put the bunker rakes in the trap after use instead of in the potential path of a ball outside the bunker. I also was told that driving on the fairway is better than in the rough. Not many, if any, public courses encourage these nuances of the game. Well, Red Hawk does, which is another reason why I like it so much. It just does things right.
Another reason I think Red Hawk stands out as one of the premier courses in the state is because of its friendly staff. Courtesy and helpfulness go hand in hand at Red Hawk. The Falco Rosso Restaurant fits right in also; try its meatball or fried perch sandwiches.
Red Hawk is located about six miles outside of East Tawas at 350 West Davison Rd. and can be reached by calling (517) 362-0800 or on the web at http://www.redhawkgolf.com.
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