Missing Links: The Short Course at Forest Dunes Golf Club

What do you when you are off of golf’s beaten paths? Try a little harder.

That’s what’s happening at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon, MI., with the construction of a 10-hole short course to go with the Tom Weiskopf-designed Forest Dunes course and the reversible Tom Doak layout, The Loop.


“Being a peninsula state, we don’t get a lot of the ‘through’ traffic that some other places get,’’ said Forest Dunes Director of Operations Don Helinski. “We are truly a destination – kind of an escape. If people can get here, we have to have something for them to do.’’

Generally, 54 holes of Weiskopf and Doak course is enough to satisfy any golfer’s desires. But despite having one of the finer resorts in the Upper Midwest, Forest Dunes owner Lew Thompson knew something was missing. When he last year visited The Cradle, Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort acclaimed short course, Thompson knew he found his missing ingredient – or in this case – missing links.

“Lew has two grandsons – 10 years old and eight years old – he wanted something he could play with them,’’ Helinski said.

Designed by Riley Johns and Keith Rhebb, who previously partnered on the acclaimed renovation at Orlando’s Winter Park 9 course, the Forest Dunes short course is the first layout guests see when they drive toward the clubhouse. The course is located on a hill in between the Loop and Forest Dunes courses, and adjacent to the resort’s adjacent two-acre, 18-hole HillTop putting course.

The Pavilion at Forest Dunes Golf Club


“You almost can putt off the HillTop course and onto the Par 3,’’ Helinski said.

In addition, the short course starts and end next to Forest Dunes’ outdoor dining pavilion, which features a bar and three wood-burning fire places.

“It’s a social thing, in terms of what guests are looking for with these short courses and putting courses. “Golf is necessarily about competitions – it’s about comraderies. The way these new Par 3 courses are being built (around the country), they have become a fun way groups to play together. The main thing is, it’s another amenity for our guests.’’

Photos: Forest Dunes Golf Club


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