The St. Ives Golf Club in Stanwood, MI is the sister course to Tullymore, and is part two in the one-two punch that is the Tullymore Golf Resort. St. Ives was designed by legendary Michigan golf course architect Jerry Matthews and is considered by some to be his best work. Jerry Matthews has more than 40 years of experience in designing and remodeling golf courses and more than 80 courses to his credit.
Since opening in 1995, Golf World, Golf Magazine, Golf for Women and Golf Digest have all lauded Tullymore/St. Ives with numerous awards including Michigan’s # 1 Golf Resort and Top 50 Golf Resorts in the U.S (Golf Magazine and Golf World, 2010), a 5 star rating, “Places to Play” (Golf Digest, 2000, 2001) and Top 10 Golf Facilities for Women in North America (Golf for Women, 1998, 1999).
St. Ives maxes out at 6,702 yards from the tips with a course rating of 73.1 and a whopping slope of 146. Less masochistic golfers will choose the Blue tees (6,247/70.8/139), while most seniors will prefer the White tees at 5,707 yards (68.9/127). Ladies will be challenged from either the Gold or Red tees. If you’re a decent player and are not used to elevation changes and sloping fairways may want to play it forward. You’ll find a diagram of each hole at each tee box and yardage books are available in the pro shop.
St. Ives Golf Club combines woodlands, rugged highlands and sprawling wetlands to produce a golf facility that is every bit as spectacular a property as its sister course. You’ll also encounter elevation changes of up to 80 feet. Several holes feature elevated tees that play downhill to fairways nestled between hardwood forests with raised greens. The last five holes play around lakes and natural wetlands teaming with wildlife and offering wide sweeping views every step of way. Water figures into the equation on 11 holes and spectacular homes dot the landscape as you make your way around the layout. St. Ives features outstanding conditioning from tee to green with lush fairways and tee boxes, and large putting surfaces that are quick and putt true, several with incredible undulation. Four sets of tees provide challenging distances for every level of golfer, ensuring a good time for one and all.
Most Memorable Hole: Number 14, Par 4, 402 yards. The most exciting hole on this incredible layout is also one of the most beautiful. And it’s ranked the toughest on the inward nine. You’ll need a straight drive of no more than 230 yards (Blue tees), which will leave you just short of the wetlands. From there, you’ll have another lengthy carry over wetlands into an elevated green. Consider taking an extra club. If you’re going to miss the green, miss it right. Then all you’ll have to deal with are a couple of bunkers!
Favorite Par 3: Number 16, 134 yards. This hole features a peninsular green and offers a couple of options. Skilled players can take dead aim at the green, which requires about a 120-yard carry over water. Seniors and less skilled players can play their tee shot out to the left and go around the water. The green is a lot wider than it is deep, with small bunkers on either side. This is a short yet challenging hole.
Favorite Par 4: Number 9, 315 yards. Another short hole with a slight dogleg left. Although the water on the left and trees on the right create a very narrow landing area, you do have options. Option 1 is to play to the first landing area, just short of the lake. That will leave you a mid-iron into the green. Option 2 is to hit your tee shot up the narrow gap between water and trees. Option 3 is to try and carry the lake and cut the dogleg which requires a carry of about 225 yards (Blue tees). No matter which route you take, you’ll need to cope with a trio of small bunkers in front of the green.
Favorite Par 5: Number 17, 534 yards. With trees on the left side and water all the way down the right, your tee shot can be a little intimidating. There’s more room on the left than you think and probably your best option. For most players this is a three-shot hole, so be sure to play your approach shot to a manageable distance. Your approach shot plays into a very large green. Par is a good score here.
St. Ives’ clubhouse features a beautiful restaurant/lounge with outdoor patio and can accommodate banquets and conference size outings. The pro shop is staffed with knowledgeable golf professionals and is stocked with all kinds of logoed golf apparel from most of the top brands.
Before hitting the links, take a few minutes, get stretched out and warm up on St. Ives spacious grass driving range. That will help get you ready for the challenge ahead. The range can accommodate up to 15 golfers and has separate areas for chipping and putting. A good short game will go a long way in posting a good score at St. Ives.
Last Word: St. Ives features tall pines and deciduous trees, wide, forgiving fairways and significant elevation changes add a sense of splendid isolation on nearly every hole. Most holes are relatively straight; difficulty is enhanced by the elevation changes especially on approach shots. Each hole is somewhat isolated, providing 18 individual tests. Take this course one hole at a time, forget your score on the previous hole and you will do well. St. Ives is a course you can play time and time again without ever getting bored. For more information on either St. Ives Golf Club or the Tullymore Golf Resort, visit their website at www.tullymoregolf.com.