A tour of the course today.

A century after it was little more than tin cans in a cornfield, the golf course at
Chikaming Country Club is one of the best-kept secrets in southwestern Michigan. Guests are surprised
to hear tee times are never needed and that members quite often have the course to
themselves. Visitors routinely remark how demanding the course can be despite a modest 6600-yard
layout and par 71 scorecard, how exacting shots must be to the small, sloped greens and
tight, tree-lined fairways. Over the decades, many of the original holes imagined by Harry Collis have
been lengthened and refined, bunkers, trees, and native areas added. Yet the parkland
character Mr. Collis felt so essential to any golf course has been honored and faithfully maintained.

Hole No. 1, Par 4, Handicap 17

By tradition, a first hole should be the most straight-forward in order to
get players off the tee as confidently as possible. So the shortest
par 4 on the course allows golfers to ease into the round. Be mindful of
bunkers on both sides of the fairway to catch wayward tee shots
however. And a back right pin position next to cavernous traps can make
second shots a little more interesting than you might expect.

Hole No. 2, Par 4, Handicap 7

A menacing and partially hidden pond at the front left of the green will
challenge the tee shot of longer hitters, then influence approach
shots to be missed to the right of the green, where a difficult pitch shot
awaits. Subtle variations in the undulating green make all long
putts difficult, especially those that must roll toward the awaiting pond.
Many members consider this the most difficult hole on the course.

Hole No. 3, Par 4, Handicap 11

Although the charming old pond that fronts the longer tee boxes is
seldom a concern, it is nevertheless something to be thought
about when driving. Once on the wide fairway, the green is an inviting
target, unless of course your second shot is off just enough to
land in the native areas on either side of the fairway or the large traps
that wrap around both sides of the banked green.

Hole No. 4, Par 5, Handicap 3

Neither the green nor most of the fairway can be seen from the tee
on the first of the par 5 holes. A second shot that attempts
to cut the dog leg 120 yards from the green risks landing in one of the
most cavernous sand traps on the course or amongst the grove
of trees next to it. The green is particularly narrow and extremely
fast from any position that requires a downhill putt.

Hole No. 5, Par 3, Handicap 13

One of the most picturesque­ and feared holes on the front nine, this par 3
has a kidney-shaped, redan-influenced green complex. On the tee,
if the all-carry pond fronting the green wasn’t enough to think about, the
large over-hanging oak to the left of the green can wreak havoc
with a wayward shot attempting to reach a far-left pin position. Any safe
shot to the back can result in a steep downhill bunker shot.

Hole No. 6, Par 4, Handicap 1

At 421 yards, the length of No. 6 is daunting, but that alone is not what
makes this the most challenging hole on the course. After a
demanding tee shot to a pinched landing area, a precise second shot is
needed to a green perched above the fairway, deep and narrow
front to back. Any shot not carrying the perfect distance is likely to be
deflected into one of the traps guarding both sides of the green.

Hole No. 7, Par 4, Handicap 9

A favorite hole for many members, this beautiful par 4 begins with a
tee shot down a corridor of rising fairway flanked by mature
hardwoods. It features more changes in elevation than almost any
other hole on the golf course and culminates in a narrow green
pitched severely from back to front with large traps on both sides that
await approach shots too close to its sloped fringes.

Hole No. 8, Par 3, Handicap 15

The longest par 3 on the course, this hole can vary dramatically
in club selection depending on pin placement.
Also with one of the largest greens at Chikaming, a putt can either
be invitingly close to the front apron or agonizingly
tucked around a corner from the cup due to the shape of the green
and the undulations in its surface.

Hole No. 9, Par 4, Handicap 5

A sweeping right-to-left dogleg past an outcropping of maple and
pine trees demands a well-placed tee shot to a narrowed
opening on the right side of the fairway. Less than that almost always
necessitates punching out of the trees to create a favorable
angle to the green. The green itself runs away from front to back with
many second shots struggling to hold a position in the center.

Hole No. 10, Par 4, Handicap 2

Until a few years ago, this was the number one handicap hole on the
golf course for good reason. A semi-blind tee shot must favor
the left half of the fairway to avoid tree trouble. The uphill shot into the
green is greeted with a false front that must be carried to have
any chance of staying on the putting surface. Putts on the top half of the
green have been known to finally stop below the front apron.

Hole No. 11, Par 5, Handicap 14

The shortest par 5 on the golf course requires a tee shot to the right
side of the fairway to leave room to negotiate the mature
trees on the corner of the dogleg. A large trap alongside the sightline
to the narrow opening of the green catches many shorter
second shots, and the front right greenside bunker can be particularly
daunting if the hole location is anywhere near the front.

Hole No. 12, Par 3, Handicap 12

A century ago, this was the opening hole of what was then called the
Lakeside Golf Club. Shortened to a par 3 in the intervening years,
it gives a wonderful taste of what the course was then and is today. First
of two back-to-back par threes, it needs a tee shot that neither
strays into the native area on the right or the lagoon on the left, neatly
fitting into the narrow opening between two large front bunkers.

Hole No. 13, Par 3, Handicap 16

Over the years, this hole has been given many names including the
“Graveyard Hole” because of its perch beneath the oldest
cemetery in Lakeside. That nickname has been an ominous reminder
that to negotiate the hole safely a player must survive not
only a lengthy shot over water to a heavily guarded green, but then
also manage arguably the toughest putting test on the course.

Hole No. 14, Par 4, Handicap 6

With a view of Shakespeare House in the distance, the hole begins   
on one of two elevated tees. The drive is to a fairway with
a gentle dogleg to the right, leaving a shot to a narrow green that
falls off to a steep collection area on the left and a large
bunker on the right. Hopefully you learned your lesson on the last
green and will have kept your ball below the cup this time.

Hole No. 15, Par 5, Handicap 8

The penultimate par 5 is an inviting vista of native grasses on both
sides of three tees. A well-placed second shot is needed to fit
between the corner of a dogleg on the left and a series of fairway
bunkers down the right side. You’ll then be faced with a
challenging approach to a small, pushed-up green complex, the last
of Harry Collis’ treacherously sloped greens.

Hole No. 16, Par 3, Handicap 18

Theoretically, this is the easiest hole on the course. Yet looking out
from the elevated tee over the expanse of water with the
green at its very edge, many would disagree. A pin position in the
front is always a temptation, but a short iron hit not quite
solidly enough will certainly never make it over. A long, safer shot
faces a bending, twisting downhill putt no one relishes.

Hole No. 17, Par 5, Handicap 10

The final par 5 is another stunning corridor of green flanked by
500 yards of native grasses on both sides. Predictably,
fairway traps lurk at yardages where better players would hit both
their drives and second shots. A classic punchbowl-style
green is surrounded by a series of mounds that funnel approach
shots onto a fast and deceptively sloped putting surface.

Hole No. 18, Par 4, Handicap 4

The home hole is perhaps the most iconic at Chikaming with the
historic Shakespeare House as its backdrop. Large mounds
on the left do their best to keep any slightly wayward drive from
finding the longest native grasses on the course. A string
of bunkers on the right and a small but menacing bunker on the
left guard the less than generous opening to the final green.