The Roscommon, Mich. property, which came under new ownership in 2011, was honored for its contributions to the local community and the game of golf.
The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) has named Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon, Mich., as its 2016 National Golf Course of the Year Award winner.
Forest Dunes was nominated for the honor from the NCGOA’s Midwest Region and earned the distinction over other finalists for the 2016 national award that included Northeast Region winner TPC Boston (Norton, Mass.); West Region winner Ak-Chin Southern Dunes (Maricopa, Ariz.); and South Region winner Heron Point Sea Pines Resort (Hilton Head Island, S.C).
Forest Dunes is also the reigning Michigan Golf Course Owners Association Golf Course of the Year.
“Forest Dunes Golf Club is a top-notch operation from the golf course itself, the ownership, the management, and the dedicated staff,” said Jay Karen, NGCOA’s Chief Executive Officer in announcing the honor. “[The club] has also made exceptional contributions to the local community and to the game we all love.”
Located in northern Michigan’s lower peninsula about eight miles from the tiny village of Roscommon (population 1,060), Forest Dunes was designed by PGA TOUR legend Tom Weiskopf and originally opened in 2002 as a seasonal, private club.
Now open to the public, the course combines natural beauty with exceptional playability, and has five sets of tees that stretch it from 3,500 yards to 7,100 yards to accommodate golfers of all skill levels. The golf course’s front nine features parkland-style holes that meander through corridors of pines with elaborate bunkering, while the back nine is characterized by rugged, native dune areas and scruffy underbrush that crosses and borders fairways and greens.
“The really unique thing about our course is, yes, the nines are very different, but they really flow,” said Chad Maveus, General Manager/Director of Golf. “You really don’t sense that difference in a significant way when you’re playing.”
Winner of an impressive list of awards from a variety of respected golf entities, Forest Dunes is fast becoming a “bucket list” destination for golf aficionados. “A really great club has to have three intangibles,” Maveus said. “It needs to be a great design in a location that people want to travel to. We’ve got both of those. Thirdly, your support team has to be fully invested for the long term, and we certainly have that, too.”
Forest Dunes was purchased in 2011 by Lew Thompson and Sam Mathias, successful business professionals from northwest Arkansas, who have put in place a plan to make the club a leading national golf destination (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2011/10/26/forest-dunes-golf-club-purchased-by-investment-group/)/
In mid-summer 2016, that plan will accelerate with the opening of The Loop Golf Course at Forest Dunes (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2015/12/29/the-loop-at-forest-dunes-gc-plans-soft-summer-opening/). A 30-year dream of architect Tom Doak, the layout will feature 18 distinct fairway and greens complexes that are reversible, allowing golfers to play the same holes in multiple directions on a day-to-day rotation.
The opening will also create a “stay-and-play” desire with golfers who can take advantage of on-property accommodations at Lake AuSable Lodge, a 14-room, 26-bed facility that opened in 2013.
Generally open for play six months each year (late April to late October), Forest Dunes GC is dedicated to growing the game. Clinics are offered for juniors and ladies; an internship program offers hands-on experience for students who aspire to be club professionals and are currently enrolled in the PGA of America Golf Management program; and the club is an annual host to a Northern Chapter PGA Pro-Am event.
Events and programs are also in place to raise awareness and generate proceeds for Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides educational support to spouses and children of America’s fallen and wounded soldiers.