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New Course: Lost Dunes
By Art McCafferty

Photo
The 13th hole at Lost Dunes

The past couple of years I have examined the lives and work of many of America's finest architects. Michigan is fortunate to have courses designed by some of the most famous of these individuals. While it is exciting to have a "name' architect come into our state and design a course, it is equally exciting to have one of ours design one outside of our state. There are a number of Michigan architects, William Newcomb, Jerry Matthews, Rich Smith and Ray Hearn to name a few, that have successfully taken their skills outside of out state. While these are all excellent architects, I believe the one that will leave the greatest legacy is Tom Doak.

Tom, a graduate of Cornell University where he completed a program not unlike that of Robert Trent Jones, mentored under Pete Dye. He has visited many of the world's great golf courses and recorded his observations in national publications as well as his own books. He has a photographic memory for golf courses and is equally adept at capturing those images as a photographer. Golf Magazine labeled him as one the most important golf architects in the world today. His book, "The Anatomy of a Golf Course", is a seminal work on the subject. He currently is writing golf columns for Esquire and is in the process of completing a book on Alister MacKenzie for Sleeping Bear Press.

His design company, Renaissance Golf Design, Inc., includes Bruce Hepner, Tom Mead, Jim Urbina and Don Placek. They have produced The Legends (Heathlands) at Myrtle Beach, Stonewall in Pennsylvania, Charlotte Golf Links, Quail Crossing in Indiana, Beechtree Golf Club in Maryland, Riverfront Golf Club in Virginia, Apache Stronghold in Arizona, Atlantic City CC in New Jersey and the Village Club of Sands Point in New York. Future works of Renaissance, include courses in both Scotland and Australia. Tom has designed three courses in Michigan; Highpoint, Wilderness Valley (Black Forest) and Lost Dunes.

Lost Dunes, located in Bridgeman, just off I-94 near the Indiana border, opened in 1999. Golf Digest awarded it as the third best private course of that year. Unfortunately, many of our readers will not have the opportunity to golf Lost Dunes. It is a spectacular course that combines the unique dune environment of our state with the talents of Tom and his team. Joel Prince, the Head Professional at Lost Dunes and formerly the head pro from that other dazzler, The Dunes, was instrumental in getting Tom to visit the property. " I had played Highpoint and was familiar with Tom's work. We had a couple of other architects route the course, but after Tom visited the site and gave us his ideas, we knew we wanted him," said Prince.

The Lost Dunes is an extraordinary course that truly marries the land to the game. The use of different grasses in waste areas, bunkers and rough is sensational. While each hole is compelling, the stretch of 13-15 is of particular note. These holes are snuggled up against a couple of dunes on one side with a large ponds acting as a buffer on the other side. They offer charm, challenge and beauty.


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