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Frankfort Golf Club - Frankfort, Michigan

by Jim Neff

The purpose of this column is to discover the hidden gems of Michigan golf, courses that are bargains to play but might not get the publicity they deserve. In order to qualify as a "gem," a course must be in excellent condition, have greens fees of $30 or less for eighteen holes, and must allow players to walk.

Overlooking Lake Michigan and Crystal Lake in the northwest corner of lower Michigan, Frankfort Golf Club enjoys one of the primo scenic locations in Michigan golf. The nifty, little nine hole course was rated as "One of the top five nine hole courses in Michigan -- " by the National Golf Foundation.

Although there are no par fives on the course, the very hilly terrain and narrow fairway chutes make the course challenging for everyone. But the real fun at Frankfort GC are the "special features" which can be found nowhere else.

The driveway to the clubhouse alerts motorists to "watch out for flying golf balls." That's because the first tee is on the motorist's left and the first green is on the right -- the driveway bisects the first fairway! (The same road also winds through the course so homeowners have access to the highway.)

Holes number three and seven have periscopes behind their tees so you can determine if the fairways are clear before teeing off. Number three also has the unique distinction of having two greens, one in a valley and one on a ridge -- declare your intentions before hitting your second shot.

The finishing hole requires one of the most interesting "finesse" shots in Michigan golf. The 103-yard, par three has a tee on a ridge with the green a couple of hundred vertical feet below. The trick is to lay the ball out into thin air and see where it drops, sort of like trying to toss a peach off a two-story balcony and into a bushel basket on the ground.

After golf, enjoy the old-time clubhouse and restaurant, just dripping with character. And the nearby village of Frankfort, with its marina and pier on Lake Michigan, is a great way to top off a day.

For tee times and prices ($12.00 for nine holes in 1997), call 616/352-4101.

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