50 Words or Less
Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club, located in Pierson, should be at the top of your Western Michigan play list. A beautiful, well maintained golf course that challenges your game in an enjoyable manner.
Turning off highway 131, the homes became scarce and the rain storm drew to a close. We had departed downtown Grand Rapids, our home base, just over 20 minutes earlier for the easy drive to Pierson and the friendly staff were there to help with our bags as we pulled up to the clubhouse. Inside, Director of Golf Jeff O’Malley was ready to answer questions and tell us about the secluded piece of property with its Van Kampen family roots.
Conveniently located next to the parking lot, the wide driving range had numerous pins to take aim at while warming up. Adjacent to the range is a large short game practice area.
Just outside the clubhouse, the large putting green is perfectly located near the first tee to allow you to hone in on speed while keeping an eye on your tee time. The beautiful starter building (above Intro) was previously a 3 hole outhouse. Ah, the things you can learn from PIG.
It’s always nice to roll up to the teeing area and find a hole marquee that lets everyone know the basics. On top of that, literally and figuratively, each hole has a name indicative of what to expect.
The photo above captures what you find on all the tee boxes – plush, flat grass. The four sets of tees range from over 4,800 yards to almost 7,100 yards. The score card also features two sets of mixed tees – a wonderful way to make a course challenging yet competitive for more golfers.
Teeing areas, like most of the course at Pilgrim’s Run, are framed with majestic trees. Fairways are generous and hazards readily apparent. 150 yardage stakes served as great visual references for those who haven’t played the course before.
The rolling terrain throughout the golf course requires thought on every shot. Seldom did I have a flat lie, but the grass was immaculate, and I was able to put attempt a flush strike on every shot. Most greens are slightly elevated, with a variety of bunkers, steep hills and water to keep every hole unique and intriguing.
Greens & Surrounds
Undulating, with the more-than-occasional hump in the middle of the green, the Mike DeVries greens are a great test of the flat stick.
Off the green, a full arsenal of shots are required. On most holes, if you happen to miss short, putter is still an option. Past the first cut, surrounds are thick and require a deft wedge and committed mindset.
The par 5 6th is a striking golf hole from tee to green that requires some strategy. With a large bunker in the fairway, you have to be realistic about your driving ability and pick the appropriate line. My offline tee shot ended up to the right of the bunker, where it turns out there’s ample room.
If you’ve boomed a drive over the bunker into the meat of the fairway, bunkers down the left are mighty intimidating. For us mortals who aren’t going to make it up the steep hill in a single shot, there’s plenty of fairway on the right side. One of the friendlier greens awaits on top.
On the back nine, the 15th and 16th holes were my favorites. The only par 3 on the back, the 15th green sits atop a hill with bunkers looming to catch any errant balls. The two tiered green dared us to miss long with its front right pin position.
The view from the back of the 16th green captures the tranquility and challenge of Pilgrim’s Run. The green is tucked into the trees while protected in front by a serene pond. Anything shy of a premium tee shot requires an accurate layup down the tight fairway. Beautiful hole.
Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club is an outstanding golf course. With its variety of holes and natural setting, this is a course that should appeal to golfers of any ability. The course is challenging but fair with plentiful risk/reward opportunities.
I played it on my second full day of golf in Michigan and once again I was reminded how comfortable it can be to play golf in June. Now I understand why everyone is smiling in those Pure Michigan commercials.