Calderone Golf Club

Guestblog written by: Grant Welmers

- Published on this site: 08-09-2020 19:26:00

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Calderone Golf Club

Over the years, I have driven down I-94 a few dozen times on the way out to my grandparent’s lake house in Battle Creek. Like every other serious golfer I know, driving past a course that on a highway is thrilling. There is a split second where you can maybe see a few holes, or players hitting shots, and you instantly start imaging the hole; or the shot; or wonder about the course in general. I’ve see Calderone from a stretch on I-94 over and over and had tucked it away on a list of courses to play at some point. Its not necessarily a far drive from me, maybe 45 mins, but just far enough I never think to prioritize playing it. 

Quick facts

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Architect: William Newcomb
Address: 4490 Willis Rd, Grass Lake, MI 49240, United States

I finally pulled the trigger this week and I can easily see how everyone that plays it raves about the quality of golf you get for the price. For $44 on a weekend morning there isn’t even another course in the state that can put up a fight. It is a Tyson first round K.O. - lights out, nighty-night, bell ringer. It will now be a course that makes it into my rotation of weekend rounds a few times a year I hope. 

In 2000, William Newcomb designed two very different 9 hole routings over an old family farm that is adjacent to The Whitetail Deer Museum in Grass Lake, Michigan. The front nine takes you out towards the highway - but you never really feel the buzz from the interstate - after the 2nd hole you wind your way back towards the club house over rolling terrain and through massive fields of flowing heather. The front’s personality feels like a “links-style” course that is highlighted by dramatic bunkering and semi-blind tee shots. The greens have teeth and there are definitely times that a three putt is hoped for if you are above the hole. 

After a blind tee shot, the 401y par-4 7th greets you with some intimidating bunkering 

A series of crop-circle bunkers guard the elbow of the uphill dogleg on the 456y par 4 4th hole. The number 1 handicap requires a carry of 256y to clear the bunkers before kicking your teeth in on the green complex 

The back nine starts out with a stout par 5 and an almost-as-long par 4, before winding back through the woods on the north side of the property. Though it feels decidedly less like a links layout, the holes are still interesting and provide for some thrilling shots. Especially the risk-reward short par 4 16th which wraps around a massive set of trees on the right. There is water short right and the tee shot can either be a sensible layup, or an aggressive cut to just short - especially gettable from the whites, which only plays 281y.

The course, though it seemed tricked out in spots really was quite fair. Good shots were rewarded and bad shots were punished, especially around the greens. The greens themselves have a ton of personality, often with places you cannot miss and a great deal of contours that ensures that you cannot take any putt for granted. Overall, Calderone is a course that, if I lived even 20 minutes closer I would honestly consider switching my league play to it. Jeff, Trent, and I all agreed that it was worth the drive and we would easily be back. If you are in need of a round that makes golf fun and dont want to break the bank Calderone is it - plus, hey its got a deer museum.

A look back on the elevated massive 9th green from the 4th fairway


Cost; Conditioning was superb; Bunkering was great especially on the front; Greens rolled true and made you really think about placement; Staff was friendly; Putting and short game area were massive


A few of the par 3’s could’ve made much better use out of the land they were on; First time playing through there are a few holes that you have no clue where to aim.

Similar Courses

The Wolverine and The Grand Traverse Resort - Acme, Mi; Lockenheath - Acme, Mi; The Gailes - Oscoda, Mi; Westwynd - Oakland Township, Mi 

Favorite Hole

384y Par 4 3rd hole - you turn back away from I-94 and from an elevated tee there is a sea of tall heather to your left and a series of fairway bunkers to your right. The green is guarded by a daunting bunker to the right. Just a great par 4 overall.


I could play here once a week and not get bored. Put it on your list for southeast Michigan. 

VHelm rating

Overall #21/U.S. #13

A look up the 3rd fairway - bunkering on the left starts at roughly 240y out and there is more room that there appears. 

About the author...

5 and Fore

Author: Grant Welmers


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