Golf course encouraged golfers to hit balls in Lake Michigan

Detroit Free Press

Golf course encouraged golfers to hit balls in Lake Michigan

Business of Golf

Golf course encouraged golfers to hit balls in Lake Michigan

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A Detroit Free Press investigation

Plastics pollution? A course urged golfers to hit balls into Lake Michigan. A diver and photographer commissioned by the Free Press found hundreds of balls in Lake Michigan off Arcadia Bluffs’ 12th hole.

“Go ahead and do it, everyone does,” the prestigious Arcadia Bluffs golf course urged on its website as recently as last Tuesday, in its description of the 12th hole on its Bluffs Course, on a cliff overlooking Lake Michigan.

“Once you’ve launched a ball into Lake Michigan, on purpose, turn your attention to the native bunker on the right side of the fairway as it is your aiming point on the tee shot.”

Golfers have heeded that urging, in unknown numbers, round by round, every day of golf season, since Arcadia Bluffs opened in Manistee County 20 years ago. The result: untold thousands of golf balls into Lake Michigan — a “shocking,” “frivolous” and “ridiculous” contribution to the rising plastics pollution problem in the Great Lakes and worldwide waterways, environmental advocates said.

The reference to intentionally hitting golf balls into Lake Michigan was removed from the Arcadia Bluffs 12th hole web page after Free Press inquiries.

“The description of the 12th hole has been updated, eliminating the reference to hitting balls into the water. Thank you for drawing our attention to this outdated reference,” Arcadia Bluffs president William Shriver said in an email to the Free Press.

“We certainly do not want to encourage the practice of hitting golf balls into Lake Michigan.”

A summer round at Arcadia Bluffs costs golfers $215 — or $35 just to ride the course in a cart and not play. Those prices go with the territory as it is one of Michigan’s — and the nation’s — premier golf courses. It’s the No. 1 course in the state of Michigan in Golfweek‘s 2019 Best Courses You Can Play.

Read the complete story on Detroit Free Press website, freep.com.

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