Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 7th
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 7th
A pond makes for a demanding tee shot on the par-4 seventh hole of the Cedar River golf course at Shanty Creek Resorts. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 1st
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 1st
The first hole on the Cedar River golf course at Shanty Creek Resorts is a meaty par 4 of 458 yards. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Shanty Creek - Cedar River G.C. - 3rd
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River G.C. - 3rd
The par-5 third hole of the Cedar River Course at Shanty Creek Resorts roams through the woods. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 4th
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 4th
Avoid the unique bunkering on the par-3 fourth hole on the Cedar River golf course at Shanty Creek Resorts. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Shanty Creek - Cedar River G.C. - 8th
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River G.C. - 8th
Shadows creep up to the green on the par-3 eighth hole of the Cedar River G.C. at Shanty Creek Resorts. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 9th
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 9th
The par-5 ninth hole on the Cedar River golf course at Shanty Creek Resorts falls downhill, giving big hitters a chance to reach in two. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Shanty Creek - Cedar River G.C. - 15th
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River G.C. - 15th
The par-5 15th hole on the Cedar River golf course at Shanty Creek Resorts bends left before climbing uphill. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 16th
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River golf course - 16th
Take an extra club or two to fly the menacing front bunker on the par-4 16th hole of the Cedar River golf course at Shanty Creek Resorts in Michigan. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Shanty Creek - Cedar River G.C. - 18th
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Shanty Creek - Cedar River G.C. - 18th
A pond sinks any slices to the right of the 18th green on the Cedar River Course at Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire, Mich. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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A river runs through it: Cedar River golf course at Shanty Creek Resorts in northern Michigan

BELLAIRE, Mich. -- Cedar River is the newest -- and many would say best -- of the four golf courses at Shanty Creek Resorts.

Opened in 1999, this dreamy Tom Weiskopf design roams through a magical northern Michigan hardwood forest, where deep bunkering, streams, ponds and elevation drops and climbs challenge players of all abilities.

Its five par 5s exhibit Weiskopf's creativity. He gives players a chance on reachable par 5s at the downhill ninth hole and the shorter 10th hole (just 510 yards from the blues). He responds by taking back strokes with formidable holes like the finishing, a doozy of a par 5 stocked with several ravines and a pond right of the green.

Another water hazard creates a boomerang-shaped Cape hole at no. 7, a medium-length par 4 where hitting a narrow fairway remains critical for a decent approach.

Environmentalists kept Weiskopf from building better holes along the Cedar River, although the short 297-yard 13th hole and 163-yard 14th hole play interestingly enough. Most golfers don't dare try to drive the green, which is blocked by a tree and bunkers in the middle of the fairway.

Impeccable conditioning, a convenient halfway house in the woods and a fine restaurant, the River Bistro inside the Cedar River Lodge, all deliver a first-class day.

"Cedar River is one of my very favorite tracks in Northern MI," wrote HOTSPOTSS in a review at GolfAdvisor.com. "... I'd play this course at least once a week if I lived near it.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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A river runs through it: Cedar River golf course at Shanty Creek Resorts in northern Michigan