Cabot Cliffs

Inverness, Nova Scotia

Tullymore Golf Course (Stanwood, Michigan)

Tullymore Golf Course logo Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

The Takeaway:  One of Jim Engh's higher acclaimed courses, Tullymore boasts Engh's brazen style with muscle bunkers, punchbowl greens, and loads of risk/reward options. The extreme nature of the design would be difficult to enjoy on a daily basis, but is well worth a visit in Michigan.  Grade B-

Quick Facts

Designer:  Jim Engh 2002

Cost:  $75 - $165 Click for current rates

Phone Number:  231-972-4837

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit Tullymore Golf Course's official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - 11969 Tullymore Dr, Stanwood, Michigan  49346 – UNITED STATES

Photos:  See additional photos of Tullymore Golf Course

What to Expect:  Jim Engh is one of those architects you either "get" or you don't. He has perhaps the most unique design style in golf which seems to instantly appeal to players or repel them. His individual style certainly caught the attention of raters at Golf Digest that put Tullymore in its Top 100 Golf Courses in America rankings, and even after falling off that list, it held in for over 10 years on the Top 100 Public Courses in America list. When players tee it up at Tullymore there are a few features they will instantly notice; the long squiggly bunkers that Engh refers to as "muscle" bunkers, the green sites that are often depressed into a punchbowl with long grass on the face, and the number of forced carries over wetlands. Of those features, it is the greens that provide the most interest and drama throughout the round with a ton of creativity needed to navigate them effectively. The 75.2/150 rating and slope from the tips is a stout test for a course that measures 7250 yards and you'll find that the challenge never lets up from the 1st tee to the 18th green. The back nine is the better of the two sides and the par fives stand as the highlight of the course with great risk/reward opportunities where Jim rewards the bold play more often than the conservative one. It certainly isn't a course you'd walk, so cart golf is the call of the day with a routing that favors dramatic holes more so that continuity in the flow. I don't know if I own enough golf balls to make this my home course, but it is certainly worthy of an annual visit if you reside in the Midwest.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
Silver 72 7250 76.0 150
Black 72 6547 71.2 142
Blue 72 6210 69.5 135
White 72 5550 67.0 115
Gold (Ladies) 72 4668 66.8 115

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole:  18th Hole – 535 Yard Par 5 – The 18th at Tullymore reflects so much of what Jim Engh brings to his designs with a hole that is fun to play, features a risk/reward element, and will keep you thinking about strategy from tee to green. The tee shot plays at an angle to the fairway where a pond runs the full length of the left side. A successful tee shot will set up a decision on whether to challenge the green with a second shot that needs to carry water the full length of distance to the green. From this angle, the green is very wide but quite shallow and features a muscle bunker running up the water line before bending in front of the green on a line that will cause havoc for players going for it in two. Laying up to the right on the second shot will be no walk in the park as two trees soar from the edge of the water hazard and can inhibit the line you want to take into the green. Behind the green is a hillside that can be utilized to bail out to, but this is the type of hole where you are presented with challenges and opportunities on each stroke and Jim is going to require commitment from you in order to be successful.

18th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (535 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (535 Yard Par 5)

18th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (535 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (535 Yard Par 5)

18th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (535 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (535 Yard Par 5)

Best Par 3:  12th Hole – 257 Yards – The 12th is a lengthy one-shotter that plays into a bowled green, which on its own wouldn’t be overly unique, however Engh doesn’t stop there. A hill on the left side blocks the view of the left 3⁄4 of the green and creates a blind shot into many of the pin locations with just the tip of the flag often being in view. Attempting to hit a big cut into the green will require carrying the trees that loom on the left side whereas hitting a draw can be an ideal way to find the opening into the green and utilizing the spin and ground to work tee balls near the flag. It is fun, challenging, perhaps peculiar, and 100% Engh.

12th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (257 Yard Par 3)
12th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (257 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  10th Hole – 458 Yards – I really enjoyed starting the back nine with a classic risk/reward dogleg right par four. The tee shot plays straight away with a creek meandering along the left side and a lone tree protecting the corner while the right side offers a hill to help keep balls in play. Bailing to the right results in an angle on the approach where the water on the left is a bigger factor while players coming from the left side of the fairway can be more aggressive with their second shot given the room to miss right or long. At this point in the round you should know if you are feeling better about your drives or iron game and can decide which strategy to employ to come out successful.

10th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (458 Yard Par 4)
10th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (458 Yard Par 4)

10th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (458 Yard Par 4)
10th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (458 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  16th Hole – 608 Yards – The 16th features elements of a classic par five design that Engh is prone to employing, though this hole plays longer than most of its cousins. The tee shot is fairly nondescript as it plays towards a flattish fairway with trees lining each side, but then things start to get interesting with the second shot. The fairway bends to the left around a pond and players are presented with a decision on whether to cut a chunk of yards off by hitting over the marsh on a straight line to the green or whether to lay up on the right side where a series of hillocks line the outside of the short grass. A lengthy muscle bunker winds along the low ground between the water and fairway with its last leg pushing towards the green and sitting on a direct line with player’s shots who try to get home in two. In match play, this is a great hole for players to decide whether to play aggressively or whether to dial back and just make par.

16th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (608 Yard Par 5)
16th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (608 Yard Par 5)

16th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (608 Yard Par 5)
16th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (608 Yard Par 5)

16th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (608 Yard Par 5)
16th Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (608 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  3rd Hole – 317 Yard Par 4 – Perhaps the most unique hole on a course classified by uniqueness, the 3rd is a confounding design that will have you questioning your strategy each loop around, but ultimately, yields an opportunity to card a birdie as well here as anywhere on the course. This short hole features two oversized trees whose branches impede the air over the ideal landing zone of a drive. Laying back short of them will almost certainly require you to try to finagle a shot through them or perhaps over them. Though more times around Tullymore could convince me otherwise, the best strategy appears to require a drive that carries the tree on the left and opens up a great angle to attack the flag from with the green featuring a shallow bowl effect that will work balls towards the center of the putting surface. Of course the best play of all is bombing a drive straight at the green, but the muscle bunker in front can be a deadly spot to be. No matter how you attack this hole, its short length should yield an opportunity to score with and perhaps make up for any failures on the previous hole.

3rd Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (317 Yard Par 4)
3rd Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (317 Yard Par 4)

3rd Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (317 Yard Par 4)
3rd Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (317 Yard Par 4)

Bogey Beware:  2nd Hole – 481 Yard Par 4 – Jim expects you to have warmed up before your tee time because he is going to throw his most difficult test at you with the sophomore hole. At 481 yards and nowhere to cut yardage off, players need to bomb a drive before setting up a lengthy approach into the green that is bowled on the right but falls off on the left. A heavy tree line flanks the left side and will encourage players to hit up the right side, however approaches from the right result in an inferior angle to the green that can make finding it in regulation challenging. Players that carve a drive up the left side will increase their chance of getting to the green in two, but the penalty for missing left is severe. Par or better here should put a giddy-up in your step moving forward.

2nd Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (481 Yard Par 4)
2nd Hole at Tullymore Golf Course (481 Yard Par 4)

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