The Bluffs at Arcadia Bluffs

After playing The South Course, we checked in to the Lodge and made a 6:45pm reservation for dinner at the restaurant. We sat outside on the patio to eat, which was hot in the direct sun, but worth it for the views and the atmosphere of the place. At 7pm, the bagpiper came out and played for 20 minutes. Then at 8pm (yes, we were still eating), he came out and played until sunset, which was about 40 minutes. It was spectacular.

I was drinkng Coconut Coffee Rubenesque made by Starving Artist Brewing Company, which is one of the best beers I’ve ever had. I got Pork Belly for a starter, Chilean Sea Bass for dinner, and a warm chocolate chip cookie with coffee ice cream and fudge for dessert. Amazing meal!

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In the morning we fueled up on the breakfast buffet, hit some balls on the range, and tried a few shots out of the practice pot bunker. It was quickly decided that we should do everything possible to stay out of the bunkers on the course. After hitting some putts on the practice green I could tell right away the green was much faster than over at the South, even with it being wet from overnight watering.

The Bluffs, which opened in 1999 has been on my Michigan golf bucket list for a long time. After nearly 20 years it is still ranked #13 in Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses and #3 in their list of Best Golf Courses in Michigan. That says a lot about the course.

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The carts have the nice GPS screens, but we still wanted a yardage book, which cost $6. I don’t understand why they don’t throw these in your cart like the South course, especially when you’re paying almost $200 a round.

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The course is absolutely incredible. There is nothing I can say or show that would give you the feelings you get as you drive around the course and experience the view with each hole. It really takes your breath away.

The course starts with a par five and three of the first five holes are par fives. As a long hitter I really liked that and it gets you in to your round. The front nine also has three par threes, making par still come out to 36 for the side. I started out bogey-par-birdie before 3-putting three of the next four holes. Did I mention the greens are fast? I settled in with the putter after that only making one more 3-putt. This is the type of course where I have to play a lot of target golf to score well because I don’t have the game where I can just rip a driver on every hole. Thankfully I love target golf and was playing well this day. I hit 8 fairways (with a few others just rolling into the rough) and 8 greens in regulation. Shot 41-42 with 18-16 putts and wasn’t in a single bunker!

My favorite holes were probably 11, 12, and 13, which are all along Lake Michigan. I was surprised at how little the wind affected us. We had to adjust a lot more the day before when we played the South Course. This place is really something you have to see for yourself. It seemed like every time we turned a corner or come up over a hill we were in awe of the view. The course layout was fun, challenging, and had a good mix of directions and elevation changes. I don’t remember ever feeling like something was a gimmick.

We’re already talking about going back next summer.

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