Getting To Know: Crystal Mountain

An Insightful Interview With Brad Dean, PGA Director of Golf

By Brian Weis

Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Brad Dean who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.

Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
Located in the heart of Benzie County, Crystal Mountain is the Midwest's premier four-season family resort featuring some of the finest accommodations northern Michigan has to offer - 36 holes of championship golf, 45 downhill slopes, 40km of cross-country trails, the award-winning Crystal Spa, the Michigan Legacy Art Park, and IACC-approved conference facilities.

The Mountain Ridge golf course offers panoramic vistas of our northern Michigan vacationland. Its fairways wind through stately forests and ascend to high elevations, providing a true northern Michigan golf experience. Crystal Mountain's Betsie Valley golf course, which recently underwent a $1 million renovation, will challenge the ability of any golfer with its protected greens, tree lined fairways and challenging bunkers.

In addition to great golf, our Crystal Mountain Golf Schools are ranked as one of "America's Top 25 Golf Schools" by Golf Magazine. If your in need of assistance with your game, this is the place to get it!

If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Both golf courses at Crystal Mountain are maintained to the highest standards and are among the best conditioned courses in the area. Our staff will ensure that your visit exceeds expectations as it is our goal to provide the highest level of service and the best conditioned golf courses, all at a great value.

What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
It is important to keep the Mountain in mind as this plays a big role in the break on the greens. Remember the ball breaks away from the Mountain as this not only affects breaking putts, but also requires you to take into consideration if you are putting into the mountain or down it.

Lastly, there are some elevation changes that are encountered. Nothing huge, but this can require an extra club to reach those uphill shots or one less club for downhill shots.

Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
Our golf staff is most proud of the playability of both courses. Although there are a couple difficult holes, there is plenty of room among the tree-lined fairways. In addition, there is only one water hazard that requires a carry in all 36 holes. All the other hazards including bunkers are on the sides, allowing those who don't hit the ball very far to have an enjoyable experience.

Also, the tranquility one experiences on our courses is second to none. Even if the courses are busy, you will most likely feel like you are alone on the course.

What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
The 5th hole of the Mountain Ridge is a par three with an 80 foot drop in elevation. The green is surrounded by bunkers with a large area in front that allows for the golfer to run the shot up to the green. In addition, a large waste area to the right of the fairway adds definition and color to this par three.

The hole sits in the middle of a pine forest with large trees that make it difficult to predict the wind. Its a great idea to remember which direction the wind is blowing on hole #4 as this can really help for this beautiful but challenging hole.

What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
My favorite hole is the 17th hole of the Mountain Ridge. The reason for this is most of my golf is played with friends and the matches always come down to someone needing to take the 17th hole to win the match.

The hole plays downhill to a green that sits on a diagonal to the line of play. This requires a very precise tee shot on this long par three.

Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
Of course we have our awesome Bloddy Mary's our beverage cart staff prepares! And it wouldn't be appropriate without trying the Scottish eggs in the Thistle Pub and Grille.

Back Tee Stats
Par: Mountain Ridge 72; Betsie Valley 72
Yardage: Mountain Ridge 7007; Betsie Valley 6553
Slope: Mountain Ridge 135; Betsie Valley 132
Rating: Mountain Ridge 73.5; Betsie Valley 72.0

More Information
Crystal Mountain
12500 Crystal Mountain Drive
Thompsonville, Michigan, 49683


Revised: 05/13/2013 - Article Viewed 20,325 Times - View Golf Course Profile

Written By: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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