Clearbrook Golf Club
CLEARBROOK GOLF CLUB (616-857-2000) is just a short drive away from its sister property, the Ravines. It is very possible to play both of these courses in the same day, making the trip to Saugatuck very worthwhile. There is a nice variety in design between the two layouts and Clearbrook offers some of the best fine dining available in the lakeshore area. We enjoyed a great meal before our drive back to Detroit. They also have a driving range and two putting greens on property.
The over-riding physical characteristic of Clearbrook is a meandering brook which runs through the property . Your tee shot or approach will be affected on eight holes, 6 of them on the front. There also are 3 ponds that come into play on the opening nine.
There is a good balance of difficulty between the front and back - the first nines feature all the even handicapped holes, while the 2nd nine has all the odd number handicaps. The opening four holes are fairly playable par 4's, though the second requires a long, accurate drive, followed by a tough approach over the creek.
The par 5th is the prettiest hole on the course and one of the most challenging. Grand Rapids Magazine has ranked this hole as one of the top 18 in West Michigan. The brook snakes its way close to the green, requiring your approach to fly over it in two sections. There is a small landing area in-between if you choose to lay-up and play it safe. Numbers 6 And 7 are two of the easiest holes on the course - a short uphill par five followed by a reasonable par 3. The eighth requires another approach over the seemingly endless creek, while the 9th is a relatively long par 3 - and one of the few totally dry holes on the front.
The back opens up with a beautiful and challenging par 4, which is short but plays uphill. The water on the right will affect your tee shot if you hit it short. Number eleven is one of the most birdie friendly holes on the course if you can land it on the correct portion of the green . After a challenging par 5 that requires an accurate approach as it doglegs slightly to the right, you will be faced with a series of formidable par 4's concluding with the # 1 handicap on the course - the 450 yard 15th.
Though not handicapped highly, the sixteenth is a double dogleg requiring precision off the tee and near the green. Following a very doable par three, the finishing hole packs more punch than you realize. This 330 yard par 4 has water hazards bordering the right fairway and offers your last chance to cross the creek on your way to the clubhouse. Although the back has less water hazards than the front nine, it provides challenge with tight. sloping fairways, bunkers and mild elevation changes.
Clearbrook is a good test. The conditioning was quite good from tee to green, and the consistency of the putting surfaces was appreciated. We enjoyed the variety of the layout, and used every club in our bag along the way. The doglegs are gentle so you will be tempted to use your driver often.
Keep it straight and you can score well. We think you will be happy with the conditions, service and interesting design!
January 1, 2003