The Takeaway: True North stands as one of Jim Engh's more acclaimed designs and boasts a remote setting devoid of distractions other than nature. With severe elevation changes and penal bunkering throughout the course, it won't be everyone's cup of tea but it is certainly dramatic. While I thought the course was pretty fun to play once, I was expecting more from the layout and I don't find myself yearning return like I do other tracks. Grade B-
Designer: Jim Engh in 2004
Phone Number: (231) 526-3300
Course Website: Official Website - Visit True North Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 2500 True N Dr, Harbor Springs, MI
Accolades: Ranked 7th in Michigan on Golf Digest's 2015-16 Best in State list.
What to Expect: One of my first experiences at an upper end private course was at the Jim Engh designed Black Rock course in Coeur d'Alene. That course made me fall in love with Jim's work and I continue to enjoy his unique approach to golf course design. However, I've decided that Black Rock is the pinnacle of his work in America which has set an unrealistic expectation when visiting other courses he has designed. Prior to my round I had spoken to the head pro and expressed my fandom of Jim's work. He then told me, "If it weren't for politics True North would be a Top 50 course." My expectations went sky high again as I embarked on Northern Michigan, unfortunately the course didn't live up to the lofty hype. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did, it just wasn't as incredible as I thought it might be. The course features over 100 feet of elevation changes with Engh's classic serpentine and pot bunkers proving difficult for most players to contend with. Conditioning is a strong suit at True North as is the general setting which feels secluded for most of the round with fall being an optimal time to enjoy the weather and colors. The layout is not for walkers but provides some very memorable holes and features which can largely be attributed to the elevation changes. True North isn't for everyone, but those that appreciate the unique design will find few courses to compete with it.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 7th Hole – 595 Yard Par 5
Best Par 3: 13th Hole – 198 Yards
Best Par 4: 2nd Hole – 473 Yards
Best Par 5: 18th Hole – 562 Yards
Birdie Time: 15th Hole – 320 Yard Par 4
Bogey Beware: 8th Hole – 562 Yard Par 5