50 Words or Less
Crooked Tree Golf Club, part of the Boyne Golf family in northern Michigan, is a fun, engaging track in a beautiful environment.
Boyne Golf’s signature Unlimited Golf package already overflows with options, and the addition of Crooked Tree brings their roster of courses in Michigan to ten. I recently got to check it out to see if it’s worth adding to your next golf vacation itinerary.
Adjacent to the clubhouse, you’ll find a compact range and a green for warming up your short game. The practice facilities at Crooked Tree have everything you need to get ready to take on the course.
Customer Service & Amenities
Consistent with all my experiences at Boyne Golf properties, the staff at Crooked Tree was excellent. I was greeted at the bag drop immediately upon arrival. The staff in the pro shop was friendly and got me on my way quickly. The course was in great shape.
Like the other Boyne Golf courses, Crooked Tree has it’s own free smart phone app. Through the app, you can book tee times, order food, and check the calendar for upcoming events. Most importantly, there’s GPS and a yardage book with hole-by-hole flyovers. This is very helpful for your first time around the course.
Beauty & Scenery
All of the Boyne Golf courses are beautiful, but two things make Crooked Tree unique among its peers. First is the sense of quiet and isolation. All the other Boyne courses are paired up with at least one other course. Crooked Tree stands alone, and that sense of being by yourself in nature was palpable.
The other interesting characteristic of Crooked Tree was the mix of biomes the course takes you through. Part of the course is set in a wetland, part is in an orchard, and some of the course is in a wide open area. After playing the Boyne Mountain courses among towering trees, these relatively short trees provided an aesthetically unique backdrop.
I do apologize for the lack of pictures in this review. I played in a dense fog which did not allow for any original photography.
You’ll notice two things immediately when you pick up the Crooked Tree scorecard. First, Boyne Golf has provided six sets of tees, a move I heartily applaud. Second, this is not an overwhelmingly long course – it tips out at 6,669 yards. Keep in mind that it is a par 71, which makes that number a little more stout.
Despite the relatively short yardage, I would not suggest running to the tips. Crooked Tree provides a lot of visual intimidation for those playing all the way back. Early in the round, there are a number of holes with forced carries off the tee. If you’re not confident in your driver, you can ruin your score before you make the turn.
If you’re a reasonably accurate driver and playing the right tees, Crooked Tree won’t give you too many problems. The fairways are a bit wider than average and most holes give you ample room to miss. Use the app to your advantage, play away from the big hazards, and you’ll be on your way to a good score.
With benign fairways and rough that isn’t overly taxing, Crooked Tree allows golfers to be in attack mode on their second shots. As you can see above, the challenge comes at the green. Maximize the accommodating conditions by making smart decisions and hitting good shots. With a decent iron game, you can rack up plenty of GIRs here and leave yourself reasonable up and down opportunities.
Greens & Surrounds
The greens at Crooked Tree are easily my favorite part of the course. They’re larger than average, but they offer very few flat spots. The slopes are large and soft. You won’t find many sharp breaks, but there are virtually no straight putts. This combination of soft breaks and medium-fast green speed allows for very creative putting and the opportunity to roll in a lot of birdies.
Around the green, the thick rough grows right up to the fringe. The ability to control your landing spot and spin are critical to short game success on these curvy greens. If you can use the breaks to work the ball close to the hole, you’ll save plenty of pars.
#16 – Par 4 – 389 Yards
From the tee, all you can see is the crest of the fairway in the distance. If you smash your tee shot, you’ll get a ton of extra distance as your ball rolls down the hill toward the green. A more modest tee shot will leave you with a dramatic look down to a green that’s protected by water short left.
#9 – Par 5 – 478 Yards
This short par 5 invites you to finish the front 9 in style. There are no bunkers to deter you from hugging the inside of this dogleg left. A green that’s thin but 50 yards deep encourages a bold second shot, but getting on the green in two is no guarantee of birdie.
With a look and feel that’s unique among the great Boyne Golf properties, Crooked Tree is definitely worth a spot on your itinerary. If your green reading and putting are sharp, this is a course where you can post a low score. Make good course management decisions and you’ll remember your round at Crooked Tree Golf Club as one of the most enjoyable you’ve played.