Old Channel Trail: A Michigan Classic

By Ray Brewer, Contributor

MONTAGUE, Mich. - The saying family owned-and-operated takes a different meaning at the Old Channel Trail Golf Course in western Michigan.

Where else in the area, or close to the area, can you find a golfing establishment that has been open before the Great Depression.

Old Channel Trail, which currently houses three nine-hole courses, has had golfers playing on its greens since 1927.

The Woods, OCT's oldest course, was designed by Robert Bruce Harris in the 1920s. The Woods' look, symbolizes its history.

It's an original links style course strategically dotted with Scottish bunkers and 70 year-old maples.

OTC's second oldest course is called The Meadow, which came along in 1966 and is designed by Bruce Matthews. This particular course features your typical long fairways and everlasting rolling greens.

The final course in OCT's trio is called The Valley, which designed by Jerry Matthews in 1996. This course wonders back and forth across a breath-taking ravine and through stately pine trees.

All three courses are set perfectly on the shores of Lake Michigan. (Can you beat that?)

OTC's owner Meriam Leake, believes all three of the courses offer golfers several options.

"The greens are excellent and it's a beautiful setting," she said. "All of the courses are pretty equal in popularity. The Valley is new, so it is getting a lot of play. It's difficult from the back tees."

In most instances, the Valley and the Woods courses are combined to make a full 18-hole round. If the two are put together, it is a par-71 with a slope rating of 70.4

The elder of the three course is a par-36, with a slope rating of 116 and a course raring of 34.9.

Leake says that the course offers a challenge from the back tees, but at the same time can be fun for the average golfer from the closer tees.

In terms of a setting, there is nothing than can match OTC. The Valley course wraps around a ravine and from every point of the club you can see Lake Michigan.

"It's very cool in the summer here," Leake said. "There are some really nices breezes that come from the lake."

In addition to the course, the club offers three practice holes, a driving range, putting area, professional instruction and picnic area.

Ray Brewer, Contributor

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