Wilderness Valley - Black Forest golf course - hole 4Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley

Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley
6500 Nicklaus Dr
Gaylord, Michigan 49735
Otsego County

Phone(s): (231) 585-7090
Fax: (231) 585-7141
Website: blackforestgolf.com

The Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley boasts one of the most challenging layouts in northern Michigan. It is one of two championship golf courses at the Wilderness Valley Resort. Black Forest is the more challenging of the two, featuring greens that will test even the most seasoned golfers. The course tumbles across rolling hills that provide a variety of elevation changes ranging from subtle to dramatic. There are also a slew of strategically placed bunkers along the undulating greens. Accuracy on both your tee shots and approaches is essential throughout. Its sister golf course, Wilderness Valley, is a nice complement since it offers the same terrain but with a more playable character. It's an alternative option for high handicappers who aren't ready for the intimidating Black Forest Course.

Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley
3.5 stars out of 5 (based on 6 reviews)
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Even the flatter greens on Tom Doak's Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley can be difficult to read.The par-4 ninth on the Black Forest G.C. at Wilderness Valley is short, but there are plenty of treacherous bunkers protecting the green.With plenty of difficult bunkers and confounding greens, Tom Doak's Black Forest golf course at Wilderness Valley tests patience as well as skill.

Golf course details

  • Holes: 18
  • Designed by: Tom Doak
  • Public/Private: Resort
  • Year opened: 1991
  • Golf Season: Open: 3/15 Closed: 11/01
  • Guest Policy: Open
  • Tee times welcomed: Yes
  • Fairways:
  • Greens:


  • Pro in house: Yes
  • Driving range: Yes
  • Rental clubs: Yes
  • Rental carts: Yes

Green fees price ranges

Course policies

  • Metal spikes allowed: No
  • Dress code:
  • Credit cards accepted: VISA, MasterCard, Amex, Discover Welcomed

Length, slope and rating for each tee

Tee Par Yardage Slope Rating
Black 73 7044 147 74.3
Red (W) 73 4556 119 67.2
Blue 73 6688 143 72.8
White 73 6097 127 70.1
Forest 73 5298 111 66

Reader Ratings / Reviews

  • Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley
    2 stars out of 5
    by Brian - Ann Arbor
    on July 17th, 2013 13:10
    Played June 22, 2013. Heard nothing but great things as well, but was underwhelmed. Layout of each hole is pretty good, but some are just stupid (#2, tough hole, but the routing of the hole makes the hills too severe, and the fairway was in horrible shape. Course had some rain the week before our trip, but no washout days. Yet, we played and some holes were so wet, had to take relief from flat areas saturated with water. It was as if the superintendent didn't want to or was to busy/lazy to adjust watering schedules based on past/current/upcoming weather. Over and under watering may be an issue in some areas on the course. The bunkers are filled with rocks - not a few small ones, but some as large as a golf ball. I hit in the trap a couple times, each time, I used my hand to sift out any large rocks and replaced my ball the best I could to duplicate the lie. I've played all sorts of courses in my life, but for a "Gaylord Golf Mecca" course to have such horrible sand conditions was a shock. They need to physically screen out the rocks on each bunker. The fairways were mostly in good shape (alot of weeds though), and the greens rolled well and were in good shape. Some very pretty views and elevation changes too. Good food and drinks in the clubhouse. I think with a little more TLC (fixing the bunkers, correcting drainage and watering timing, some tee boxes need re-leveling, a little landscaping/beautification on the course), the course could be excellent again. If the superintendent and grounds crew really worked hard for a few weeks next year in April and/or May, it would go a long way to getting the course going in the right direction.
  • Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley
    5 stars out of 5
    by Byron Smith
    on February 22nd, 2013 08:28
    I played the course in August 2012 and it was AMAZING!! Spectacular Views & Friendly Staff. When you play Black Forest it feels like you are the only group out there.

    Would highly recommend to anyone, had such a great time!

    Will definitely come back soon. :)
  • Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley
    2.5 stars out of 5
    by Steve
    on July 09th, 2012 19:40
    Played five courses this weekend, all of which were in different maintenance conditions, scenery, price ranges, etc..... I loved this course!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful hole lay outs is an absolute must and this one delivers. I took multiple 1970's style "beaver" divots on final approach shots hitting down on the ball and it was like slicing warm butter! I'm not a spoon fed baby and don't need an absolutely falwless course and have someone wipe my behind upon a demanding gayish glance.

    Well to slightlly highly maintained. If you like the feeling of being cut into the wilderness, lots of distance between holes and beautiful hole layouts, then this is the course!
  • Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley
    1 stars out of 5
    by tay
    on September 17th, 2011 11:01
    I had heard nothing but good things about this course, and could not wait to play it. Wow what a disapointment, this course doesnt even rank in my top 50 courses that i have played. Course has rocks in the sand traps, did not live up to all the hype. Rated #8 in the state to play, I dont think so! Would not go play it again.
  • Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley
    4.5 stars out of 5
    by Matt
    on May 31st, 2011 06:17
    The Black Forest is a truly gorgeous northern Michigan course. I was just up north for a golf package that included the Black Forest, Wilderness Valley, and the Tribute. The Tribute was obviously the main attraction on the list, so we easily weren't expecting too much from the Black Forest. Were we ever surprised... The Black Forest offered great scenery and some good elavation changes. The course was both beauitful and challenging. Some of the toughest greens I have played in Michigan. Be sure to check this course out if you have the chance!
  • Black Forest Course at Wilderness Valley
    4.5 stars out of 5
    by Chris Paulus
    on July 23rd, 2009 18:53
    This is a beautiful course, well conditioned and very challenging. The staff was super friendly and the cost for a course of this design is unbelieveable. Make sure you check your card and think your way around as there are some holes that can jump up and bite you. The 18th is a beautiful finishing hole that is reachable in two and will give you good shot to birdie. Put this on your must play list I know I can't wait to see it again.
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