Good price, great course: Fore Lakes Golf Club near Port Huron
KIMBALL, Mich. -- Fore Lakes Golf Club in Kimball (near Port Huron) is quickly developing a reputation as the best bang for the buck in the Metro Detroit area. Designed by owner Angelo Torello, this 6,600-yard championship layout features water hazards on 14 holes -- and these are not just ponds.
The conditioning from tee to green rivals that of any of the upscale properties in southeastern Michigan, which speaks well for a course in only its second season of operation. There are five sets of tee boxes so you can choose your own medicine. Some of the holes will play extremely tough from the tips. If you are looking for a nice place for an outing or social event, Fore Lakes has the atmosphere -- with great service, wonderful facilities and pleasing views from their restaurant/clubhouse.
An ample putting green is on property, but there is no driving range as yet.
Be sure to stretch and get in a few swings before you tee off, as the opening hole will demand your best effort. This 544-yard (526 from the tans) par 5 requires two accurate shots over water, including an approach of 150 yards or more, nearly all carry, to a large but challenging green. It is nearly impossible to go for it in two. Fore Lakes Golf Club's par-4 second is easier than it looks, with an abundant landing area for this manageable dogleg left.
Your approach leaves you with a lot of room to a huge green guarded by bunkers short and long and water to the right. Hopefully you will score well on holes No. 3 through No. 5 as No. 6 is a long par 3 with water everywhere but in front of the green, and the par-4 seventh is the No. 1 handicap on the course.
The back nine opens up with a dry but long par 3, followed by the trickiest hole on the course.
It is a long way to carry the marsh on the par-4 11th, and an accurate lay-up will put you in reasonable position to approach the green with a fairway wood or long iron. Most players will need three shots to reach the putting surface, as the target narrows with little room for error.
Fore Lakes is an incredible golf experience, with marshlands and intimidating water hazards defining the layout. The distance from the mid tees (tan) is quite short (5,600 yards), but don't let your ego get in the way. The par threes are quite long from the blacks (6,560 yards) and blues (6,120). It might be wise to play one tee box shorter than normal for your first round here, until you develop the accurate feel for lay-ups that is required. And you will want to come back!
Although we had a difficult time keeping it together on all the challenging holes, we would have to rate Fore Lakes as one of the most fun courses to play and certainly the best value in southeast Michigan.
February 28, 2002