Popular Bucks Run Lures Golfers to Mid-Michigan
MOUNT PLEASANT – At Bucks Run the goal is optimal satisfaction for the visitor.
“We are going to give them the best of the Mid-Michigan golfing experience from the time they show up to the time they leave,” Jon Conklin, director of operations and head golf professional, said.
“It’s going to come from the service, the attention to detail, the golf course conditions, how you are treated when you show up, how you are treated when you leave, all of those little things that hopefully will separate us from other golf courses.”
Consider the separation accomplished and optimal satisfaction achieved many times over. The award-winning destination course near Mt. Pleasant is entering its 16th year serving golfers, especially those who make their way to or through Mid-Michigan.
It starts with the Jerry Matthews-designed golf course, and continues until the visitor has experienced The Quarry Grill and fully-stocked pro shop inside the full-service clubhouse, the par 53 Green Grass Putting Course also designed by Matthews, sprawling five-acre driving range and simply admired the beauty of the setting framed by Fisher Lake and the Chippewa River.
“I like to say we have are Northern Michigan resort golf without the drive, a great restaurant with white linen for dinner, yet casual and with a menu that includes everything from sandwiches to steaks and seafood,” Conklin said. “It is a wonderful place to spend the day.”
The discerning Golf Association of Michigan golfer will often think golf first, and Bucks Run doesn’t disappoint. Jerry Matthews is one of the state’s most prolific designers, and Bucks Run is considered one of his best designs. It has been awarded 4 ½ stats out of 5 by Golf Digest, and in 2010 was voted the 30th best public course in the nation by Golf World Magazine readers.
The course measures 6,914 yards from the black tees, which are just one of four sets of tees in the design. Other options come at 6,366 yards, 5,861 yards and 5,073 yards.
“The course has really come into its own, the trees are maturing and we’ve made some changes in the last few years,” Conklin said. “In the fall of 2014 and spring of 2015 we lengthened the golf course from the back or black tees. We simply made it longer for those type golfers. We kept the normal length from the white tees for our general core player. We felt things were working fine when we looked at slope and the course rating.”
With adding yardage, room was opened up to improve some of the tee boxes, which improved overall course conditions.
This year Bucks Run is adding the Club Car GPS tracking system to its carts. It provides golfers a bevy of information, including yardages, and Conklin believes it will help speed the pace of play and allow his rangers to work more efficiently with golfers.
“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “It’s fun to know your distances and have everything in front of you. From playing it a few times, it seems like it should speed up play and help with that overall customer experience. For instance, we see a problem with a cart with the system in the shop and we can send a friendly message right to the cart. We don’t have to send a ranger out there and make golfers feel like they are being harped on. That’s not our goal here.”
The reviews have been gracious over the years, and Conklin thinks the design aimed at all golfers is the key element.
“You can look around and see beauty, and one day you play and the course plays very tough in the wind, and the next day if you hit it well, you can get around without a lot of trouble,” he said. “The short par 4s sometimes get people thinking they can hit driver when they really don’t need to do that all the time here. There are only a few forced carries, but nothing unfair about them where they might get in your head. It’s a challenge, yet very fair golf course.”
Bucks Run has great variety in its holes, the dramatic looks along the Chippewa River and the open, sweeping Nos. 9 and 18 holes that sweep around the edge of Fisher Lake and frame the clubhouse in the background. From the huge wraparound decking of the clubhouse parts of eight holes can be seen, and all of Nos. 9 and 18.
“We really don’t have a signature hole, but people leave talking about playing 9 and 18, not just because of the views around the lake, but about whether they should have tried to go over the water more to pick up yardage, things like that. They are beautiful and dramatic holes, especially 18. People like it.”
Bucks Run goes after the visiting golfer through its marketing, but does offer some league play and hosts local groups for golf, banquets and more. There’s a Business of the Week Drawing, and each Sunday after 4 p.m. is Family Day time featuring the Green Grass Putting Course and meal deals for children.
Each Monday is Senior Day for men over age 60, and it features a rate of $55. The regular rate is $88. Tuesday’s have become Ladies Day for all female players with the same $55 rate, and every Wednesday is Active Military/Veteran’s Day for the $55 rate.
“We started with the senior men and it has become really popular,” Conklin said.
Bucks Run is popular. Calling ahead to reserve or visiting the website (www.bucksrun.com) is advised.
Traveling golfers should note Bucks Run offers custom play-and-stay packages as partners with six area lodging facilities including Soaring Eagle Waterpark & Hotel, which is located just a few miles away.
In addition, Bucks Run partners with 11 other Mid-Michigan golf courses to help build golf packages at various price points.
“It gives the golfer flexibility on price if they are staying in the area for a few days, and other options for golf and entertainment,” Conklin said. “We want people to come to Bucks Run, but also to Mid-Michigan where the whole community can benefit.”