by Dennis Keenon
Hawk Hollow has earned rave reviews as a total golf destination since its grand opening last July 30.
Designed by Jerry Matthews, Michigan's most prolific golf course architect, Hawk Hollow features a stunning array of marshland, tree-lined and open holes on a sprawling 500-acre site just 10 minutes north of downtown East Lansing.
With Hawk Hollow, owner D.L. Kesler has added another much-needed upscale golf facility to the Lansing area that attracted heavy play through the fall season.
"From the time we opened through fall, we were really busy," Hawk Hollow general manager Alex Coss said. "The comments we heard most often were about what great condition the course was in for our first year and about the overall beauty of the course."
Hawk Hollow may well be on its way toward a goal of becoming a statewide golf destination. "We want to attract players from all over the state," Coss said. "We think we have the golf course and amenities to realize that goal."
Those amenities feature a total golf practice facility that already includes a practice range, a putting green and a chipping and putting area with sand trap. A second full-shot practice range and an 18-hole putting course are on the drawing boards for use this summer.
In addition, more golf is on the way at Hawk Hollow. Three regulation-length practice holes built as part of the original design will be incorporated into a third nine-hole layout also scheduled for completion this summer.
With four sets of tees, Hawk Hollow will challenge players of all abilities. While playing the black tees at 6,975 yards and blue tees at 6,510 yards may indeed leave the 90s shooter a bit black and blue, the white and forward tees play from a more comfortable 6,000 yards and 5,175 yards, respectively.
Several holes stand out.
On the front side, the par 3 seventh will require a mid-to-long iron (150 yard from the white tees, 185 from the blues and 205 from the blacks) over an expansive marsh area fronting and wrapping around the right of the green.
Even more memorable are the three finishing holes.
The par 4 16th, a dogleg right with a 175-yard-long pond running down the right side of the fairway, offers great rewards for players who risk using their drivers off the tee.
Those brave souls who can carry their tee ball 240 to 250 yards over the pond to a narrow landing area will be left with a pitching wedge second shot on the hole that plays 400 yards from the blacks, 385 from the blues and 360 from the whites. The safer play will be to use an iron off the tee to set up a mid-to-long iron shot to the green.
The 25-acre Hawk Lake comes into play on the monster (240 yards from the black tees) par 3 17th, hugging the right side of the fairway tee through green. Stray slightly off line to the right, and you'll need water-wings to retrieve your errant ball.
While the 18th plays a modest 395 yards from the black tees, precise shots off the tee and from fairway to green will be required. The 18th wraps gently to the right around Hawk Lake and a short-iron second shot will have to clear a corner of the lake to safely reach the putting surface.
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