Location: Bark River, Michigan.
Course architect: Paul Albanese.
Opened: July, 2018.
From the tips: 7,375 yards. There are five sets of tees, beginning at 5,231 yards.
Rating: TBD. (STUART, Raters have been out but not provided info yet).
Saturday morning green fee: Basic rate is $85 but there are a variety of options, based on groups and hotel guest status.
Caddie service: No.
Walker friendly: No.
Fairways: Low-Mow Bluegrass.
Starter: This is one of Michigan’s newest courses and it has a unique design courtesy of architect Paul Albanese, a resident of Plymouth, Mich. It complements Sweetgrass, another Albanese design, that is part of the Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Mich. Sage Run is eight miles from the Island Resort and its creation is part of an $8 million renovation of the resort.
Play because: In addition to being new to Michigan’s vast golf marketplace, Sage Run has an unusual look. Albanese made use of a huge drumlin — a big ridge that runs through the center of the 300-acre property and creates a variety of elevation changes. The holes run around, over and through the drumlin.
Takeaway: Sage Run is a most challenging layout, no matter what tees you play. It’s obviously lacking in maturity and there are plenty of loose rocks in the rough areas that can come into play. Lots of balls get lost in those areas. The clubhouse and pro shop are small but cozy in these early days of operation. Once the obvious cleanup measures are completed, however, Sage Run figures to be a nice option for golfers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Ratings (1 to 10 scale, 10 being highest)
Pro shop: 5.0.
Course difficulty: 9.0
Pace of play: 6.5.
Overall score: 7.0
THE COURSE SCORECARD
Best Par 3: No. 5, 170 yards. The first short hole on the course can be very misleading. It plays severely uphill, meaning that two or three extra clubs might be needed to accommodate the listed yardage.
Best Par 4: No. 8, 298 yards. This one plays uphill, too, but it’s drivable. This is a good risk-reward hole thanks to its split fairway. A successful tee shot to the left side could lead to reaching the green. A drive to the right is safer, but then you have to contend with lots of bunkers fronting the green.
Best Par 5: No. 12, 585 yards. Another dual-fairway situation to a green that is slightly elevated. The lower fairway is wider and safer, but the approach is then over bunkers to a blind putting surface. The upper fairway is tougher to hit but could offer a less challenging approach to the green.
Facebook: @sage run golf course
Rated by: Len Ziehm