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Secluded Paradise - Thornapple Pointe

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Secluded Paradise

Secluded Paradise /

Drive down interstate 96 near where it meets the Paul Henry Freeway and find a brief view of lush green fairways. Blink and miss a chance to see one of the great beauties that Grand Rapids has to offer. Located on the backside of Gerald R. Ford Airport, this place is nowhere near a main artery and unless someone is looking, they might not even know it’s there. I have driven by several times without even realizing what I was passing up. I had great expectations as I pulled in the parking lot of Thornapple Pointe. A ranch style clubhouse stands out in the middle of the parking lot. It is the centerpiece to welcome everyone to the course. There are two main areas to the clubhouse; the main entrance opens into a large open area with a small bar in the corner. The one wall is made up of several glass french doors overlooking the 9th green. The rest of the room has round tables set out for patrons to enjoy a quick lunch at the turn. The 2nd part of the clubhouse is dedicated to the pro shop. The room is filled with clothing, hats, golf clubs, and other golf equipment.

“Welcome to Thornapple Pointe, can I help you?” Before I find out the details about the course, I thought I would experience what it has to offer. I explained that I had a tee time scheduled for 12:18pm. “For Stern?” was the next question. “Yes, that is us.” We paid for our round and exited the clubhouse in the back. Our clubs were already on our cart ready to go. Each cart has a GPS screen on it to give pin point yardages from any position on the course. This is fed into a monitor on the cart for a wonderful accent to your golf experience. Since I had a few minutes before tee time I decided to hit the putting green for a few quick practice putts. The green is not what I expected for courses around Grand Rapids. Not sure what to expect I tapped a few balls. Never have I seen a ball run true to the hole as I did upon the first strike. The green was smooth, almost like putting on glass.

The course itself is laid out wonderfully for the area. There are 18 holes that feature bent grass fairways. The course also boasts that it runs “near three of the most enchanting, untouched wetlands found in the Midwest”. With a backdrop including 7,000 feet of river frontage along the Thornapple River, many rolling hills, and well landscaped vegetation, this course can offer something for everyone. The first several holes are fairly straight forward, playing down and back along the railroad tracks that run through the middle of the course. While train traffic is minimal, this does pose an interesting and sometimes loud distraction during your play. Hole 5 is one of my favorites where you begin to run along the river. With a good tee shot, you even have a chance to get to the green in two by playing over the bend of the dog leg right hole. Holes 6-12 take you back into the middle of the course winding through hardwood-lined fairways and hills. Hole 13 is the courses signature hole. “The tee locations are diverse, either from a bluff or over a river inlet. The fairway hugs the Thornapple River on the left and is wooded on the right. The tee shot target is a left fairway bunker, while the second shot falls short of upcoming right bunkers. Greens bunkers are left and back right. New in 2003 is a fairway bunker located in the driving area on the right side.” The view is even more spectacular than you imagine from the tee. It is a long hole but a par 5 and the long hitters can reach it in two. Hole 14 ends your trip along the river and you continue your journey through to hole 18, a short par 4 that bends in the middle.

Other than the occasional air plane flyover, as this course is set below one of the airports landing zones, this course is one of the most beautiful and well groomed in West Michigan. I enjoyed my round so much I went back again recently to play again. The setting is simple, the layout impeccable, and can offer a round of golf you might not soon forget. The challenge this course offers will have you returning time and time again.

7211 48th St. Grand Rapids, MI 49512

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