An unbiased review of Black Bear Golf Club in Otsego County, Michigan by an average golfer using the Michigan Golf Matrix Scoring System.
All public Michigan Golf Courses will be considered for review.

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Address: 1500 W. Alexander Rd., Vanderbilt, MI 49795

Front 9: Par 36

Back 9: Par 36

Overall Course: (all 18) Par 72

Yardage: Red tees – 4,535; Gold tees – 5,280; White tees – 5,814: Black tees – 6,425
Stimp meter: 6.7

Black Bear Golf Club Clubhouse

Clubhouse and Amenities – Rating 5.16

The Black Bear Golf Club’s clubhouse could benefit from some modernization. There is easy access to make a tee time, and the parking facilities are satisfactory, and the carts along with the cart paths are in good condition. However, the choices for apparel and equipment are somewhat limited, although the prices are reasonable. The food options are modest, mainly consisting of hot dogs, chips, and candies, but a full bar is available. The service stands out for its friendliness and is well above the average standard.

Black Bear Golf Club Front Nine

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 1

Hole 1 – Par 4 – Rating 4.66

Red: 202 yds
Gold: 295 yds
White: 331 yds
Black: 360 yds

The tees to start your round are level, medium in size, but a bit on the rough side. The rolling fairway runs downhill with long rough. The bunkers are real sand but the fringe is unmaintained. This first green is large, receptive, and putts at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 2

Hole 2 – Par 3 – Rating 5.34

Red: 159 yds
Gold: 159 yds
White: 175 yds
Black: 207 yds

The tees are rough, level and small. This first par 3 plays downhill with long rough and real sand bunkers. An unmaintained fringe is around this large, tiered, receptive green that runs at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 3

Hole 3 – Par 4 – Rating 4.58

Red: 314 yds
Gold: 339 yds
White: 362 yds
Black: 419 yds

Level and medium sized tee blocks lead you to the rolling fairway with long rough that is burnt in areas. There is a water hazard of no consequence, and the bunkers are real sand. The fringe is unmaintained surrounding this receptive, rolling green that is large and putts slow.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 4

Hole 4 – Par 4 – Rating 4.34

Red: 270 yds
Gold: 297 yds
White: 322 yds
Black: 361 yds

The tee blocks on hole 4 are level but rough, and medium in size. The flat fairway has long rough and an unmaintained fringe. The green is large, receptive, and runs at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 5

Hole 5 – Par 5 – Rating 4.00

Red: 409 yds
Gold: 463 yds
White: 501 yds
Black: 538 yds

Your first par 5 has level, medium size tees. The fairway is rolling but brown in spots with long rough alongside. The bunkers are real sand but unmaintained, as is the fringe. The green is tiered, receptive and large. The surface putts at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 6

Hole 6 – Par 3 – Rating 4.40

Red: 79 yds
Gold: 103 yds
White: 114 yds
Black: 130 yds

The last par 3 on the front nine has small but level tees. The rough is long and the bunkers are unmaintained. The fringe is also unmaintained. The green is large, slow of speed, receptive and tiered.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 7

Hole 7 – Par 5 – Rating 4.34

Red: 374 yds
Gold: 404 yds
White: 458 yds
Black: 512 yds

Hole 7 is the final par 5 on the front and has small, and level tee blocks. The fairway rolls uphill and downhill with medium length rough and real sand bunkers. An unmaintained fringe is around this large, receptive green that putts at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 8

Hole 8 – Par 4 – Rating 4.34

Red: 245 yds
Gold: 269 yds
White: 304 yds
Black: 338 yds

Medium size, level tees point you down this downhill, rolling fairway. The rough is long and the fringe unmaintained. The bunkers are real sand. The large green is receptive and runs at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 9

Hole 9 – Par 4 – Rating 4.66

Red: 238 yds
Gold: 288 yds
White: 315 yds
Black: 346 yds

Small and level tees begin the final hole on the front. The rolling fairway runs downhill, and doglegs left. The rough is long and the bunkers real sand. The green is tiered, receptive, and putts at a slow speed. The fringe is unmaintained.

Average Rating Holes 1-9: 4.52

Black Bear Golf Club Back Nine

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 10

Hole 10 – Par 4 – Rating 5.34

Red: 263 yds
Gold: 344 yds
White: 357 yds
Black: 381 yds

Start your back nine with large and level tees. The fairway is rolling with medium length rough, that doglegs right. The bunkers are real sand but with some rocks. The fringe around the large green is unmaintained, and the slow putting green is receptive.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 11

Hole 11 – Par 5 – Rating 4.66

Red: 359 yds
Gold: 472 yds
White: 509 yds
Black: 537 yds

Your first par 5 on the back nine has medium, level tees. The rolling fairway goes uphill and downhill with long rough. It fades slightly right. The bunkers are real sand and the fringe is unmaintained. The receptive green is large and runs at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 12

Hole 12 – Par 3 – Rating 4.40

Red: 154 yds
Gold: 154 yds
White: 176 yds
Black: 198 yds

The first par 3 on the back is straight-forward with level, small tees. The rough is long and the bunkers are real sand but rocky. The fringe is unmaintained, edging this green, which is large, receptive and runs at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 13

Hole 13 – Par 4 – Rating 4.34

Red: 246 yds
Gold: 300 yds
White: 324 yds
Black: 362 yds

The tees on this par 4 are level and medium in size. The fairway doglegs left, is rolling but unmaintained in spots and has long rough. The bunkers are also not raked along with the unmaintained fringe. The green is receptive, large and slow of speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 14

Hole 14 – Par 4 – Rating 5.00

Red: 292 yds
Gold: 292 yds
White: 330 yds
Black: 354 yds

Small, level tees lead you down this rolling fairway with long rough, that runs downhill. There are real sand bunkers and an unmaintained fringe. The green is large, putts at a slow speed and receptive.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 15

Hole 15 – Par 5 – Rating 4.34

Red: 359 yds
Gold: 407 yds
White: 437 yds
Black: 489 yds

The last par 5 has medium sized, level tee blocks. The fairway is rolling with long rough siding it. The bunkers are real sand and the fringe unmaintained. This green putts slow, is large and has a receptive surface.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 16

Hole 16- Par 3 – Rating 4.40

Red: 95 yds
Gold: 95 yds
White: 114 yds
Black: 144 yds

Your last par 3 starts on medium sized, level tees. The rough is long and the bunkers are real sand. An unmaintained fringe surrounds this large, receptive green. Putts roll at a slow speed.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 17

Hole 17 – Par 4 – Rating 4.34

Red: 246 yds
Gold: 310 yds
White: 351 yds
Black: 378 yds

Small, level and elevated tees perch you above the rolling fairway with long rough. The bunkers are real sand and the fringe unmaintained. The slow putting green is large and receptive.

Black Bear Golf Club Hole 18

Hole 18 – Par 4 – Rating 4.28

Red: 231 yds
Gold: 289 yds
White: 334 yds
Black: 371 yds

Your final hole has medium size, level tee blocks. The fairway is rolling and runs downhill. There is long rough and real sand bunkers. There is also a water hazard guarding the front of the green to carry over. An unmaintained fringe rims the green, which is large, and putts at a medium speed. The surface is hard and can be hard to hold.

Average Rating Holes 10-18: 4.56

Overall Course Rating: 4.54

SUMMARY:


The Black Bear Golf Club, located in the heart of northern Michigan near the Gaylord area, left a somewhat disappointing impression overall. While it has the potential to be a great course and a destination course, there is a need for significant improvement in maintenance in certain areas. The layout and natural features hold the promise of making it a premier course with multiple tee boxes including forward red tees and middle gold tees. There are generous landing areas, some blind tee shots and intriguing pin locations. Regrettably, the existing subpar course conditions of sand traps and the overall feel of the course significantly lower the potential ratings. Pace of play remains good which is nice for golfers of all abilities and the golfing experience. We advocate for a restoration project to revive the course and bring it back to a state of prominence. See our video of Black Bear Golf Club.

The greens rate the highest at 6.00.

Pricing: Refer to www.golfblackbear.net or call (866)983-4441 for tee times and pricing

Value Rating: –2.46

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