GAM Travel - Michigan

GAM Travel Diamond Springs, Hamilton

   HAMILTON – Diamond Springs Golf Course has a Senior Scramble on Monday mornings with a waiting list, which should tell the golf audience a few things; the place is affordable, fun and popular.

   It’s certainly off the beaten track in West Michigan’s Allegan County, but even some of the regulars in the Senior Scramble come from 60 miles or more.

  It’s been described as a gem, and a hidden gem, which fit, though hidden could be questioned. It has a following, and a unique appeal factor beyond being a nice country golf course. It’s a golf course with classic design lines that can be played at affordable prices.

    Mike DeVries, an award-winning Traverse City-based designer, worked with former superintendent Kris Shumaker on the design. They were also big in the design mix at popular Pilgrim’s Run, which is some 30 miles north of Grand Rapids.

  Bob Kleinbrook, the longtime PGA professional at Diamond Springs, said the group of local investors wanted a great, affordable golf course and DeVries and Shumaker delivered.

  “The greens have a lot of undulations, the holes offer great variety, it’s a well-designed course for golfers of all levels,” he said. “We could put the pins in the toughest spots and nobody would finish. It can be difficult, but it can be set up very playable, fair and fun, which is what we aim for.”

  Having bluegrass fairways is not unique, but having very little rough between the natural long grass fescues is certainly a different look on Michigan courses. Almost everything in between the fescues and tree lines is mowed, which is as it was designed.

 “It takes some getting used to because Michigan golfers are so used to seeing the different cuts, where this design is more an open, flowing look,” Kleinbrook said.

  One recent morning, Jim Geib, Norm Dekker, Swede Johnson and Marv Rowan were playing Diamond Springs. They are from the Holland area and early in the golf season play quite often at Diamond Springs. They cited affordability and the fun and challenge the course offers as the reasons they come back.

  “It’s one of the good ones,” said Johnson, who is 90.

  The course stretches from 6,803 yards to 4,502 with four tee positions, and plays to par 72.

   It is a throw-back to traditional golf with a lay-of-the-land design. Ridges or small hills, a deep ravine and a meandering stream are the features used to highlight and make challenges of many of the holes on the back nine. The finish is a challenge because the ravine is ever present, especially at the par 3 No. 14th, which plays across it, and the 15th, a short par 4 that doglegs around with a rolling natural fairway.

  While there is no rough to speak of, controlling your golf ball and using the natural ridges in the fairways can be an advantage, especially on the front nine.

  Kleinbrook said the golf course grasses have matured perfectly over the years and the course truly plays as it was designed.

   “We get very positive feedback,” he said. “The greens hold shots consistently and bluegrass fairways help amateurs a little because there is more cushion under the ball, and yet you still get a great lie.”

   The course has its regular visitors from the entire southwest Michigan corner of the state, but also draws visitors on the weekends.

  “Because of our location we are a destination course for almost everyone,” Kleinbrook said. “We are close enough to Grand Rapids, Holland and Kalamazoo, sort of in that triangle, that most of our golfers come from there. But we get them from other states. I like to think we have a good reputation.”

  Learn more about Diamond Springs at www.diamondspringsgolf.com

-Greg Johnson

The fifth green is a perfect example of the natural undulations Mike DeVries incorporated in the design.
A view of the risk-reward 15th hole from behind the green.
The ravine that runs through the back nine is a major element on most of the holes, like at No. 16.
The par 3 17th requires a shot that carries the ravine.
A statue of a throwback golfer welcomes all to Diamond Springs.
 
 
 
   
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