We launched the road trip on a 497 yard Par 4, which was also the first hole I had played in 3 weeks after being down with Covid. Other than hitting a few balls on the range, I came into this monster cold and it showed as I may or may not have violated the "no 2nd takes" pledge. Everyone involved was required to sign an NDA for this top secret moment. Or not. BOGEY
Next, we drove north from Oxford to Davison where Sugarbush GC offers the 13th hole - a 646 yard Par 5 - a long, narrow, beast that brought me to my knees with a fortunate BOGEY
Distance was no obstacle as our next stop took the crew across the Mackinaw Bridge to Brimley, home of Wild Bluff GC and the beautiful 15th hole - a 220 yard Par 3 overlooking parts of Canada and the bay. It's a stunning hole but definitely on the difficult side when playing from the tips. Missing the green leaves quite a challenge, which your humble host found out the hard way. BOGEY
The Tullymore Golf Resort near Big Rapids offers 36 holes of great golf and our "Toughest 10" journey led us out to the tee of the 14th hole on St Ives. This gorgeous hole requires a 200ish yard carry over water to find the fairway and then somewhere in the range of 185-210 second shot over wetlands to an elevated green. In other words, this is a tough hole and coming into it +3 thru 3 holes, the pressure was on to get it right. After a tee shot into the right rough, it was time for a 208 yard hybrid - do or die style. Thankfully, it landed in a good spot and the result was my first PAR of the show.
Seeing the beauty of Lakes of Taylor in its downriver location may come as a surprise to many, but this Arthur Hills designed course is as solid a test of the game as any course in the state. It's beautiful and though our feature focused on the 8th hole, there could have been several other holes nominated as being in the special. Head Pro Alec Grant bombed his tee shot down the right side of the 8th, easily getting home in two shots...while I took a more conservative (short hitter) approach that left me with a downhill chip from the left rough needing to get up and down to save PAR
This was my first visit to a Metropark course and what a great experience it was...until I struck the tee shot on the 11th hole. This lengthy Par 4 turns left and requires a drive that stays in the short grass. Mine didn't, finding the penalty area on the right side. I wanted a 2nd take! My 3rd shot missed the green and the end result of sloppy play on a beautiful hole was a (gasp!) DOUBLE BOGEY
Our next stop on the tour was my favorite on the show because I got to spend time in the presence of a Hall of Famer, Dave Kendall. This legend of the game joined me on the imposing 13th hole and put on a clinic playing a challenging hole. Better than that, his passion for the game, the course, and seeing others enjoy it always come shining through. I hope all of you have the chance to meet and play with Mr Kendall at some point. It's truly a blessing! PAR
Our second Metroparks visit provided another reminder of the incredible beauty and value of these courses. Huron Meadows is a gorgeous course and with a peak rate of $45, the crowded parking lot made perfect sense. As we arrived at the 9th tee, I was told I was about to play the "longest Par 4 in the county!" Oh boy...here we go. Good tee shot...horrid 2nd shot far to the right, leaving me a 40ish yard pitch...and a 7 foot sidewinder putt for par. Normally on MGL TV, I'll need multiple takes when putting - just to get one close enough to be respectable. This time, the curling putt found the hole right on cue! PAR
"Grande" is the right name for this expansive property and Ray Hearn's design is one of the most scenic in the state. Steve Saari and I headed out to play the - stop me if you've heard this before - 497 yard Par 4 - 16th hole. Today's helpful hint: when you need to hit a very long drive, popping one straight up 220 yards is not helpful. Left with an impossible 280 to the green, you'll not be surprised to learn I would go on to card a BOGEY
The final stop on the journey brings us to Marshall, where owner Lowell Weaver presents a wonderful course, high level of service, and an award-winning restaurant at The Medalist. At the center of our experience was the daunting 11th hole - a tight, tree-lined Par 4 where precision and length are required. I brought neither of those to the last hole in the challenge, leading to a closing BOGEY.