Mines Golf Club
13th hole / 468 Yards / Par-4
Architect: Mike DeVries (2005)
The name Mike DeVries may not be as readily known to many golfers but the talented architect has quickly made is mark in bringing to life various golf properties with his keen sense of detail and a clear passion in instilling his efforts with a number of classical elements patterned from golf’s golden age in the 1920s.
Located just 5-10 minute drive from downtown Grand Rapids, the course is situated on a former gypsum mine — hence the name.
DeVries came onto the scene in a big time way with his outstanding effort at The Kingsley Club just a few years prior. Kingsley is a private club located nearby to Traverse City in the northern section of Michigan and been rated by a few national golf publications as one of America’s top 100 courses.
The Mines is a public course and the rolling terrain given its past heritage provides for a wondrous mixture of holes.
The 13th, a par-4 of 468 yards, plays uphill and turns right in the drive zone. It is essential to avoid that bunker but come near enough without venturing into it. Even for the strongest of players carrying one’s tee shot over that bunker requires a Herculean effort of nearly 300 yards. Complicating matters is that the prevailing wind pattern is often against you.
The approach shot is also daunting. Uphill all the way — mandating sound club selection for any hope for success.
The putting surface shows the craftiness of DeVries. The green rises noticeably from front to back. Closely mown areas await on both sides — the slightest pull or pushed approach rolling-off and finishing in a very challenging position for those seeking to escape with par.
“I think the 13th normally plays the hardest.,” said Brad Steffen, General Manager and Head Golf Professional. “A long second shot to an uphill, very narrow green that’s undulated. Any little miss left or right will run off.”
Interestingly, there are no bunkers by the greensite and that can lull many first time players to erroneously conclude achieving a low score is very doable.
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