Building a private golf club on land bisected by a busy Interstate highway sounded like a big ask, and it was. But the site at Lost Dunes had a lot going for it: it was an abandoned sand quarry, with plenty of large lakes left over from the mining process, beautiful sandy soils, mature trees that had been left in place, and an odd seclusion from the outside world, apart from the white noise from the highway.
This was also one of the most complicated projects we’ve ever done, with loads of permitting issues due to conservation easements made upon the closure of the quarry, a protected wildflower, and the odd application of Michigan’s Critical Dune Act, written too late to prevent the mining of sites like this one. The primary feature of the course is the most undulating set of greens I’ve ever built, which place a premium on keeping your ball on the correct side of the hole — to the point that it’s often better to miss the green on the right side than to hit the green thirty feet to the wrong side. Golfers who judge their performance by “greens in regulation” will howl that it’s unfair, but golfers who think their way around the course will enjoy a decided advantage.