Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Boulder Creek Golf Club
by Greg Johnson

The folks at Boulder Creek Golf Club figure to be generous, starting with a greeting, through the first and last tee shots and upon exit.

"I think it will be something every level of golfer can enjoy, mainly because 90 percent of the holes are generous off the tee and really designed with both the good golfer and average golfer in mind," said Mike Mikowski, head golf professional at the public course surrounded by a real estate development on Grand Rapids' north side.

"It's not an easy course at all, but there isn't an impossible hole. There really isn't a bad hole at all, and several very nice holes. It's really amazing what Mark DeVries created out of a gravel site."

DeVries, a veteran designer from the Grand Rapids area, feels proud of his accomplishment.

"It was scarred earth when we started, a hole in the ground, but we've made it beautiful," DeVries said. "The developers wanted a challenge, but not something that would scare people away. This is the kind of course people will want to come back and play again and again."

A tour of the course reveals five tee positions for each hole in a yardage range of 6,850 yards to 4,996, bent grass tees, greens and fairways and a variety of challenges.

The first few holes take you away from an elegant elevated clubhouse with restaurant and banquet facilities toward a ridge where more holes are nestled in the woods.

The fourth hole features stunning trees as a backdrop, and one starts to understand the word boulder being used in the name. It's followed by No. 5, a ski hill disguised as a golf hole that will test tee shots and one's ability to play a dramatic elevation change. That's the No. 1 handicap hole.

No. 6 makes it three jewel holes in a row. It's a 152-yarder from the back tees, and in a beautiful wooded setting.

"I think the golfer will like the variety," said Bob Hogeboom, the project manager of the course for owner/developer Andy Dykema.

"No two holes look alike, and there is a little bit of everything out here, wide open, trees, boulders, water, natural grass areas and really nice vistas from the high parts of the property."

The highlight holes on the back are No. 15, a sweeping par 5 that will challenge the good player to reach in two shots while avoiding a water hazard, and No. 18, which starts with a shot over water and then a march up toward the clubhouse and a tremendous tree that guards the green.

The golf doesn't have to end at 18, or start at No. 1 for that matter. The practice facility is modern and shaped for every part of the game. Amy Summers, a former assistant professional at Egypt Valley Country Club, will be the director of teaching.

"We want to offer the golfer the full array of services, from lessons to dinner and everything in between," said general manager Jerry Roberson.

Preliminary plans are to open in April and remain as a public venue. The golf course part of the project is estimated at $4 million. Opening rates will be $39 for 18 with a cart on weekdays, and $49 on weekends.

Walking will probably be allowed, but the elevation changes can be taxing in some areas of the course. In addition, the walking golfer would miss out on one of the features of the course. Dykema, who makes his living in construction, has paved wide, modern cart paths.

Call (616) 361-0255 for more information.

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