TULLYMORE GOLF CLUB – Stanwood, MI
A – Playability & Challenge
A – Quality of Course
A – Memorability
A+ – Service Levels
A – Pro Shop
A – 19th Hole Experience
A – OVERALL EXPERIENCE
(Written by Mark Suzda) … Sometimes in our quest to knock out a block of courses from our Top 100 list (aka – the annual Golfest trip), we cruise through some of them in a blur. It’s never intentional; it’s just that the bar is set so high that it takes something special to make it really stand out from the rest. Tullymore Golf Course in Stanwood, Michigan is one of those places!
Tullymore, a perpetual top ranked course since it was opened in 2002, is unique in that you get stopped in your tracks right away. Not so much from the beauty of the place, but from the friendly and courteous staff. At Tullymore, every golfer is treated like they are somebody special. There is an obvious sense of pride among the employees that permeates into great customer service — something that is in very short supply these days. I was impressed by their hospitality with their good old fashion humor, and when 14 of us come stampeding in first thing in the morning, it was a unique quality to possess. The way they welcomed us was a perfect example of how the ultimate golf experience should get underway.
As far as the golf experience goes, let me set the mood. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. for our final round of golf of the Golfest 2008 Great Lakes Tour. We were met with uncharacteristic icy cold weather. However, we were warmed up at the sight of the first fairway. This true three-shot par-5 was a picture of perfection with the sun trying to break through the thin layer of low lying fog. It was like something that you see in the movies.
The starter greeted us with sincerity and informed us about the nuances of the course like he cared, rather than that standard baritone “go through the motions” speech dished up by many stuck up courses. There was also another added touch and that was a spotter down about 250 yards in the fairway. No lost balls here on this hole! From start to finish this course was a pleasure to play. I found Tullymore very pleasing to the eye and my fellow Golfest crew felt the same. The Jim Engh designed course features subtle elevation changes as it navigated its way through the local surroundings. It appears there was no disruption of any of the local landscaping in designing this layout. The overall condition of the course was phenomenal; from well-manicured fairways to some of the truest and beautiful greens I have seen since Pebble!
My scorecard was looking really good after nine holes and I didn’t feel like I had to pipe any 300-yarders to make it happen. But that proved to be a little misconceiving, because there were three par-3’s and the front nine plays 500-yards shorter than the back. To even things out, three of the courses five par-5’s are on the back end of this adventure.
Although I enjoyed most of the holes on this course for different reasons ranging from memorability to playability, the 535-yard finishing hole on this course was my favorite. The tee shot on this par-5 requires a carry over a marsh and offers up a true risk/reward situation. The more you cut off to shorten the hole, the bigger the risk. The marsh chases its way all the way to the green on the left side and combined with a couple of strategically planted pines basically discourages any thoughts of an eagle-try. I quickly dialed down my idea of an over-aggressive draw to this hole, because I didn’t want to have to scramble for a snowman. By the way, the backside of the green is set up stadium style, which allowed us to watch all of our groups finish up their 144th hole of the trip. A great ending on a great course. If you are in Michigan and have the ability to set a day aside to visit this masterpiece of a course, you won’t regret it! Happy Golfing! …