By Brian Weis
Belvedere Golf Club’s website sums it up best, “Take a walk into history and play golf as it was meant to be.”
The Belvedere is one of the most storied golf courses in Michigan including hosting 39 Michigan Amateur Championships. A walk thru the quaint golf shop is like viewing a pictorial “Who’s Who” Directory. Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Tommy Armour, Sam Snead, and Ken Venturi have all carded rounds on this hallowed ground.
Designer Willie Watson, known for his minimalist course design, opened the course in 1925. While Watson maximized the lands topography it still took nearly two years and a crew of 150 men to build the course.
At 6,713 yards the course is short by today’s standards, however the green complexes will test even the best of putters. Playing around at Belevedere is like taking a stroll in a park – relaxing and enjoyable. And isn’t that the way golf was meant to be played?!
Two time Masters Championship winner, Tom Watson vacationed in the area during his childhood. Recently, Tom Watson relived his youth and after his round, pronounced Belvedere one of his favorite courses in the world. “Most people playing here probably don’t understand why this is truly a great course,” he said.
As the story goes, former U.S. Open champion and TV commentator Ken Venturi drove to Northern Michigan to play Belvedere Golf Club based solely on Gene Sarazen’s recommendation. When the pro asked how he had heard about the course, Venturi replied that Sarazen said he he had to play the 16th hole.
Initially the hole looks benign, a straight away 346 yard parkland style hole. Approaching your second shot, you start to see the amazing contouring flowing from the hill through the green and into the rough and fairway. Pay particular attention to pin placement and stick your wedge close. A long putt on this undulating green could spell disaster. Anything less than 3 putts is a moral victory.
4 Tees: 6713, 6542, 6102 and 5444 yards
Rates: $79 in season, $50 off season
Belvedere Golf Club
5731 Marion Center Road
Charlevoix, MI 49720