Golf's Truly Hidden Gems

Mike shared his favorite “hidden gem” with Links Magazine, Belvedere Golf Club.

Belvedere Golf Club is a William Watson design in Northern Michigan from the mid-1920s. It occupies old rolling farmland and touches on forest in a few spots. The layout features excellent putting contours and wide variety throughout the course, including some wildly undulating surfaces (Nos. 6, 9, 11, 13, 18) as well as subtler greens that are perched on a plateau or hillside (Nos. 4 and 16). There are many outstanding holes and the interest is in the shots required and the recovery shot options when you miscalculate a shot. The charm of the course is evident in the quaintness of a small pro shop and simple clubhouse (members only). The hospitality of the club is genuine and warrants a visit by any golfer who seeks what is good in the game.

Check out the article for more hidden gems.

The Fried Egg: Greywalls Review

Our friend, Andy Johnson of The Fried Egg, recently posted a review of Greywalls.

“Greywalls possesses a supreme diversity of landscapes. There are stunning views of Lake Superior, gargantuan granite outcroppings, the Oriana Creek, ravines, and a sandy dunescape. The setting is unique in the world of golf. But Greywalls is not just about views; it also has a stellar design by Mike DeVries.”

Thanks, Andy!

Read the rest here

PRESS RELEASE: Bloomfield Hills Country Club – Course Restoration

Bloomfield Hills Country Club (“BHCC”) of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan has formally committed to the restoration of its golf course. Originally laid out by Harry Colt in 1913, it is the last remaining one in the United States to have been designed by him alone.

A long-term plan has been developed by Mike DeVries of DeVries Designs, Inc. and Frank Pont of Infinite Variety Golf Design (“IVGD”) which will provide the key framework for the delivery of a structured and faithful restoration. This is the first project to be undertaken by this Trans-Atlantic partnership of two of the world’s most renowned golf architects, both of whom are proven experts in the restoration of classic golf courses.

LaBar Golf Renovations will be the on-site contractor working closely with Mike DeVries throughout the project with Frank Pont providing regular insight. Work will commence in 2020.

Bunkering will be restored to an early vintage Colt style and edge margins of the putting surfaces will be reclaimed in order to enhance the topography’s beauty and provide the golfer with more options when undertaking recovery shots around the green. Dan Billette, BHCC’s Golf Course Manager, re-grassed the greens several years ago with Pure Distinction. This process will continue throughout the reclaimed areas. Additionally, the course’s irrigation system will be wholly updated, ensuring that its infrastructure is well positioned to satisfy the club’s needs well into the future.

A redesign of the 3rd and 4th holes will allow a lost and challenging par three to be reinstated. Colt originally designed the 3rd as a long par four and the 4th as a long par three. However, during the Depression, these holes were changed to become a mid-length par four and a short par four respectively. The new 3rd will be a 255-yard downhill par three. The 4th will become a long par four of 440 yards. This combination will restore the balance of holes throughout the routing and provide golfers with more varied shot-making opportunities.

The driving range will be also redeveloped. It will be widened in order to enhance visibility and provide more teeing space. A new practice putting green will integrate with the 1st hole’s teeing ground, providing more room for events and enhancing movement around the recently renovated clubhouse. The porch balcony will provide a dramatic vista across a new joint fairway which will be shared by the par five 1st and 18th holes, rolling away from the clubhouse as a continuous swath of closely mown ground interspersed with bunkers.

BHCC’s Colt course has a very special place in the annals of golf architecture in North America. 2021 will herald it shining anew, its classic features restored, its agronomy improved in preparation for its next century of golf.

About Mike DeVries & DeVries Designs:
Mike apprenticed with golf architect Tom Doak before attending the University of Michigan where he earned his Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Following a stint as an on-site design coordinator with architect Tom Fazio, he has designed six new courses and consulted to numerous clubs with regard to their course renovations.

DeVries Designs’ restoration projects have included Meadow Club in Fairfax, California (designed by Alister MacKenzie and Robert Hunter in 1927) and Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York (designed by Donald Ross in 1901). Its most noteworthy new design is Cape Wickham Links in Tasmania, Australia, currently ranked #24 in the world by Golf Digest magazine.

About Frank Pont & IVGD:
Having earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, Frank studied golf course architecture at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, where he studied the works of Harry Colt and Tom Simpson. Subsequently, he undertook apprenticeships working with architect David McLay Kidd in Ireland and Hawaii.

IVGD is currently advising seven of the top fifty courses in Golf World magazine’s most recent rankings for Continental Europe. Its Colt restoration projects include Utrecht De Pan (designed by Harry Colt in 1929 and now ranked #2 in Europe) and Royal Hague (designed by Harry Colt and Charles Alison in 1938 and ranked #5). The company has or is currently providing advisory services to 26 clubs with Colt designed courses.

About LaBar Golf :
LaBar Golf is a high-end golf course construction and renovation company based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Founded by Rich LaBar in 2012, the company operates primarily in the Northeast region, and recently expanded nationally for select projects across the United States. The company touts an expert management team with over 100 years combined experience and outstanding labor crews. With an exceptional track record for timeliness, thoroughness, and dedication, LaBar Golf brings an unparalleled level of excellence to every project. Among LaBar Golf's client portfolio are some of the most prestigious golf courses in the country, such as: Winged Foot Golf Club, Merion Golf Club, Shoal Creek, Omaha Country Club, Oak Hill Country Club, Sunningdale Country Club (DeVries Designs) and Siwanoy Country Club (DeVries Designs).  

For more information, please contact:
DeVries Designs (Traverse City): Mike DeVries +1(231) 633 9495, mike@devriesdesigns.com
IVGD (London): Edward Cartwright, +44 7785 227922, edcartwri@gmail.com

3 DeVries Courses Mentioned in Urban Bargains List

Golf Advisor made a list of the best value driven golf courses in America’s urban areas with Pilgrim’s Run being number one in Grand Rapids!

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1. Pilgrim's Run (4.72)
2. Cedar Chase (4.60) 
3. Moss Ridge Golf Club (4.55)

Pilgrim's Run is one of the best values in the country. Two other Mike DeVries specials aren't on this podium but are worth a shout out. Diamond Springs and The Mines present architecturally interesting layouts for budget-conscious golfers.

Check out the article for other budget friendly courses around the country.

Pure Michigan 18

Two DeVries courses have been included in the Pure Michigan 18 campaign! This list highlights some of the most iconic Michigan golf holes.

See the full list

Pierson, MI: The bunker placement at Pilgrim's Run Golf Club's par-5 6th hole gives golfers multiple paths to play. At 483 yards, #6 earned the name Vainglory and is the course's most photographed hole.

Marquette, MI: The 7th hole on Marquette Golf Club's Greywalls course is long par-4 that shows off the rugged beauty of the area with a rock outcrop in the middle of the fairway. The course was designed by legendary golf architect Mike DeVries and provides breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Superior.

Digital Fairways' Review of Greywalls

“When you drive into the Marquette Golf Club you’ll wind through the original course there, the Heritage, which is a great course in its own right, but a traditional layout on relatively benign terrain. After parking and checking in at the pro shop, you’ll drive five minutes or so to the first tee. On the way there, you’ll see a handful of holes from the Greywalls course and it quickly becomes evident that this course is nothing like its sister course, or like any other course you’ve seen. After winding through the forest and arriving at the first tee, you’ll look down the fairway to see Lake Superior several miles in the distance. While lake views are always nice, they are not the main attraction at Greywalls. The golf is so spectacular that it’s possible (though not likely) that one could play the entire round and not even notice the largest freshwater lake in the world out in front of them.”

Read the full article

Grade “A” Architecture Marquette Golf Club

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“The upper peninsula of Michigan is often not thought of like a golf destination of the highest order but for those intrepid souls opting to venture a visit to the 36-hole complex at Marquette Golf Club is well worth the effort.Most notably, the Greywalls Course is a rollicking golf adventure capturing your attention right from the outset.”

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Golf Advisor rates Pilgrim’s Run #5 in the USA!

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Golf Advisor has put out their Best of 2018 Lists, featuring Pilgrim’s Run as #5 in the country! Greywalls and Diamond Springs also join Pilgrim’s Run on Michigan’s Top 25 with Pilrgim’s Run also being chosen for friendliest staff!

Tony Paul of The Detroit News, called Pilgrim’s Run an “impressive hidden gem” in his review of the Golf Advisor ratings. Diamond Springs also gets a mention in other local highlights.

Michigan's Hidden Gem: Diamond Springs Golf Course

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Andy Johnson of The Fried Egg wrote a “gushing” article about Diamond Springs.

“A great design has a way of uplifting your golfing soul. After walking 54 holes in a little over 28 hours, I didn’t expect to have one of those moments when we arrived at Diamond Springs Golf Course. Sure enough, two holes in, I was swiftly walking from green to tee, eager to see what was next.”

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