Rated 5 out of 5 by 3
Rated 5 out of 5 by Iamdiesel18 Must play in Traverse City
The staff was extremely friendly and helpful with booking the tee time over the phone, checking in, preparing the cart, and getting me started.
I golfed as a single with a tee time around 4 in the afternoon. I checked in early (over 1 hour early) and was informed by the starter that the course was wide open and I could head out as soon as I wanted. The starter was very helpful and knowledgeable. I told him what my handicap was and asked him which tees he would recommend I play from (14 handicap and he recommended the white tees). He also recommended having some type of range finder or gps device in order to play The Bear. He was 100% correct about that.
The course is as difficult as advertised. Look up reviews all over the Internet and they all say it is one of, if not the hardest golf course in all of Michigan. Every hole on this course has lots of danger whether it is water, waste areas, or huge, deep bunkers. Thankfully I had my rangefinder with me so that I could figure out distances to bunkers, water, etc. if you don't have a rangefinder, download a gps app before playing this course. You WILL need to use it in order to save yourself lots of lost balls and penalty strokes.
The course itself was in great shape. Each hole has character and no two holes are the same. Almost every hole has some type of forced carry whether it is off the tee or into the green. The greens were the best I have played on all year. They are fast and each green has tons of character with multiple tiers. If you land on the right tier, plenty of 1 putts are there for the taking. Likewise, if you are on the wrong tier, expect a lot of 3 putts.
If you want to play a course that has wide fairways and you can hit your driver off of every tee, go somewhere else. I probably hit my 3 hybrid off of the tee more than anything else in my bag. I spoke to the starter again after my round and he called it a thinking man's course. If you want a course just to hit driver off of every hole, he recommended The Wolverine, calling it a "true resort style course."
I will definitely play this course again when I come back to Traverse City. I got in my round in about 3 hours. The rates drop and are reasonable around 3:30 in the afternoon. Based on the other courses I have played in the Traverse City area, this was in the best shape by far.
Friendly tip/heads up: It was very windy and got more and more windy as the day went on. The starter advised it is always relatively calm in the morning but the wind will start whipping off of the lake in the afternoon.
August 12, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by pmymdac It's right up there...
... with the best courses I've played in Michigan. We played on a drizzly day so the course was wide open and we got round in 3.5 hours. Greens are excellent and you will do well to average 2-putts or better. Fairways extremely generous and rough not so difficult as long as you stay out of the thick stuff. It's not as difficult as its reputation (the Bear didn't bite me) and it makes for a very enjoyable round.
June 15, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by dthrift3 Golden Bear Does it Again
Jack Nicklaus does it again. he never stops amazing people with his golf talent, now this time in golf course architecture. The design is perfect. Many of these up north courses have some filler holes here and there to get you to their sigature hole. This one however, has none. EVERY hole is a picture hole.
July 27, 2014