The front nine begins across the drive from the clubhouse and opens with an elevated and landscaped tee on the 320-yard par-4. The first hole is fairly forgiving, and a good warm-up hole, but beware on number two.
The second hole is a sharp dogleg right. You tee off over a gully and there is not a chance of cutting the corner as a deep and dense woods protects the right side of the hole. If you play it right, you’ll land on another hill and look down upon a large, but undulating, green protected on the front and left side by sand. This 392-yard par-4 hole features a number one handicap rating for men and number five for women. Women gain a 90-yard advantage off the tee and extra stroke for par.
Next up is “The Little Monster.” Rated one of the top 18 holes in Michigan by the Detroit News, Lake Doster uses this 100-yard par-3 as its signature hole and incorporated its shape into its logo. A newly rebuilt tee sits high above the treacherous green below, completely isolated by trees, surrounded on three sides by water, and further protected by three deep sand traps. The traps may prevent a long shot from going in the drink, but watch out for that recovery shot!
Upon making it past “The Little Monster,” you will be rewarded with perhaps the prettiest and most interesting hole on the course. A 293-yard par-4, the fourth hole reveals a secluded tee looking out over a curvaceous fairway spotted with fairway traps rising to an elevated green. You are almost guaranteed an uneven lie on your second shot into a sloped green. You want to be below the hole on your first putt.
The next two holes are long driving holes and offer a break before the next signature hole, “Old Grandad.”
Rated number-3 handicap, the 377-yard, par-4 number seven is so named because of the huge, full maple tree standing guard on the right side of the fairway. If you avoid “Old Grandad” and successfully land in the fairway, you will be hitting up to an intimidating green with deep sand bunkers protecting the front and right side of the hole.
Next up is a fun, 141-yard, par-3. On number eight, you will shoot from an elevated tee to a balanced and generous elevated green. Traverse the gully and pond safely, and you will be rewarded with an easy par.
Finishing the front is a take-the-driver-and-let-it-fly, 515-yard, par-5. A well-placed second shot, avoiding the pond 120 yards from the green, will put you in good shape to par. A birdie would be a bonus on this heavily sloped (l-r) and rolling green.
At the turn, take advantage of excellent lunch offerings in the clubhouse restaurant. Chef Dave Shepard is on duty daily (except Mondays) and prepares quick and delicious specials. Be it a hot dog, burger or pasta primavera, you will be well-fueled for the back nine.
Number 10, a 327-yard par-4, features a tight fairway and narrow green, but it will serve you well to get your limbs loosened for the rest of the round.
Number 11 will take you across the road and into the long and secluded back nine. This 476-yard par-5 is a blind dogleg right to a small, rolling green.
A good breather hole is the par-3, 125-yard number 12. Straight, short and yielding, this little hole will boost your game with an easy par, or if you’re lucky, a birdie.
Number 13 is a 514-yard dogleg left par-5. There’s plenty of room to the right, and plenty of trees to the left. Make a smart shot, split the fairway and you’re halfway home.
Number 14, a 413-yard par-4 (5 for ladies) is deceptive. What looks like an easy par can quickly turn into a scramble for bogey. Keep the driver in the bag and lay-up in front of the wide pond lying in wait 210 tempting yards from the tee, or let a driver rip to the right and come into the hole from the rough.
Perhaps the toughest par-3 on the course (yes, including “The Little Monster”) is number 15. It plays all of its 178 yards and features a pond to the right of the green. The water is technically out-of-play, but can intimidate you into playing too far left and landing in the left sand trap. The green also slopes to the left.
The highest point on the course is the tee on number 16. This interesting 369-yard par-4 is a fun driving hole with a long green that slopes toward the fairway. Take a moment to look behind you and you’ll spot Lake Doster in the distance.
Number 17 is another signature hole called “Bogey Gulch.” Featuring the largest green on the course, this 411-yard, dogleg left par-4 is so named because of the valley stretching below the elevated tee. Span the gully with your drive and you are in good position to hit the green. Be accurate though — the putting surface is well-protected by sand bunkers and a natural slope to the left.
Finishing your round on number 18 gives you one last chance to bang your driver to the hilt. A generous fairway leads you into a narrow green surrounded on three sides by sand traps.
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