True North Golf Club

Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

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 don't find myself yearning to come back for more.   Grade B-

Quick Facts

Designer:  Jim Engh in 2004

Cost:  Private

Course Website:  True North's official website    Phone Number:  (231) 526-3300

Directions:  Get here! - 2500 True N Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

7th Hole at True North Golf Club (595 Yard Par 5)
7th Hole at True North Golf Club (595 Yard Par 5)

Signature Hole:  7th - 595 Yard Par 5 -

Photos:  See additional photos of True North

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:

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
Black 72 7011 74.8 150
Silver 72 6354 71.3 139
White 72 5578 67.7 129
Gold (Women) 72 4755 68.6 121


Individual Hole Analysis

Best Par 3:  13th - 198 Yards -

13th Hole at True North Golf Club (198 Yard Par 3)
13th Hole at True North Golf Club (198 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  2nd - 473 Yards -

2nd Hole at True North Golf Club (473 Yard Par 4)
2nd Hole at True North Golf Club (473 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  18th - 562 Yards -

18th Hole at True North Golf Club (562 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at True North Golf Club (562 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  15th - 320 Yard Par 4 -

15th Hole at True North Golf Club (320 Yard Par 4)
15th Hole at True North Golf Club (320 Yard Par 4)

Bogey Beware:  8th - 562 Yard Par 5 -

8th Hole at True North Golf Club (562 Yard Par 5)
8th Hole at True North Golf Club (562 Yard Par 5)

Flyover Tour: