The short course would join a pair of 18-hole regulation courses at Manistee (Mich.) National Golf & Resort. Most of the course design is being done in-house, says Denis Meikle, the resort’s PGA Professional, with outside designers helping with drainage and some of the construction.
Manistee (Mich.) National Golf & Resort is looking to provide a nine-hole, par 3 golf course, the Manistee News Advocate reported. Manistee National’s PGA Professional, Denis Meikle, said the new course would help make the resort a popular travel destination.
“It’s one step in about 20 or 30, or who knows how many, in making a really premiere resort destination here,” he said. “They’re doing it right. It’s going to be pretty spectacular when it’s done.”
Manistee National purchased 19.94 acres of land in April, the News Advocate reported.
“The people that own our course, they’ve owned it for a few years and I think they’re seriously wanting to make this a premiere destination resort of Michigan. … They really felt that 36 holes is nice, but a lot of nice resorts have a par 3 course,” Meikle said. “We had some property that they were wanting to put that on, and we actually started to construct it in another spot—we laid out a few holes and started to move some earth—and then this property across the street became available.”
Meikle told the News Advocate the opportunity was too good to pass up.
“We thought we could really give ourselves a little more elbow room if we were to put it in over there,” he said. “It allows us to do something different with the property we were going to use, and gave us a whole section of land, a large 20-acre section of land that we could put a nice course in.”
Par 3 golf courses are growing increasingly popular throughout the country, the News Advocate reported. Meikle said the shorter courses are more inviting for casual golfers, while still being challenging enough for those with more experience.
“When people go out and play their rounds, it’s the weekend, it’s crowded, a lot of times they’re competitive, they’re playing a regulation course,” he said. “A lot of times, these par 3 courses are more relaxed. … It can be played by all caliber of golfers. You can take little kids out there and have them hit from 50 yards in, or you can play it from the backs and have challenging shots all the way around.”
Meikle said the holes’ lengths will range from 50 yards to 200 yards and the greens will be large and undulated, the News Advocate reported.
“People will be able to chip and have it hit somewhere, roll down, come up a ledge and roll back around, so it’s going to be kind of fun. There will be a loop where people can go and play three holes,” he said. “How the dynamics of it all work out, I’m not sure, but if you’re here as a hotel guest and you’re here for a weekend and playing our other two courses, maybe you have a couple hours in the evening and you just want to go over there with a couple of your friends and have a relaxing nine-hole, short course round that’s not going to beat anybody up.”
Meikle told the News Advocate most of the course design is being done in house.
“One of our owners has really been researching a lot of course designs and stuff,” he said. “We’ve hired a couple designers to come and help with drainage and some of the construction of it, but most of it has been done right here by our ownership and some of the workers and stuff. … One of our principal people has done a lot of research and has spent a lot of time over there. It changes. One day it will be one way and then he’ll see something or read something and he’ll change it.”
On Oct. 19, 2021, the Filer Township Planning Committed voted unanimously to approve a special use permit to allow the new course, the News Advocate reported. The hope was to have the course open sometime in 2022, but Meikle said construction material shortages may make that difficult.
“It will be close, but I don’t know if it will be open [this year]. We kind of hit a snag with trying to get irrigation parts,” he said. “Like it is with a lot of things, you just couldn’t get certain materials. … A lot of the parts and things, aside from just designing and building the course, the water and the drainage and pipes and all that, we just couldn’t get a lot of it. That set us back a little bit.
“I know they want to try to really crank on it this spring and summer to try to get it done, but I know from being around courses that get built, it’s hard,” Meikle continued. “… I would think if it opens this year it will just be a soft opening where some of the guests come out. More than likely it will open in 2023.”
Manistee National’s two 18-hole courses, originally named Cutters’ Ridge and Canthooke Valley, have been renamed The Revenge and The Retreat, respectively, the News Advocate reported.
“We’ve changed the names of the courses to make them a little easier to market and remember. We’ve done some work with logos and just trying to make some signature holes on the already existing, beautiful golf courses,” he said. “We did a lot of work over the past couple years and throughout the beginning of the pandemic on the courses. … There’s been a lot of remodeling to the hotel and we’re building cottages and stuff for people to stay in.”
Meikle told the News Advocate he looks forward to the new course, even if he has to wait until 2023 to see it complete.
“I’m pretty excited to see how it works and how it fits in with everything here,” he said.