One of the Midwest’s most revered and classic golf properties, Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix, Mich., has announced Jordan Caplan as its new superintendent. Caplan joins the Belvedere team after a seven-year role as superintendent of the historic St. Martins Course at Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Caplan, perfectly suited to maintain a classic-era golf course design like Belvedere’s 1925 William Watson design, has worked at some of the finest golf properties, including the St. Martins (host of the 1910 U.S. Open) and Militia Hill Courses at Philadelphia Cricket Club, Eagle Eye Golf Club in East Lansing, Mich., Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, Mass. (host of four U.S. Opens) and Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield, Mich., host of the 1947 PGA Championship.
“In an era of modern golf equipment and courses getting longer just to keep pace, I value the history of course design and truly appreciate when classic courses like Belvedere Golf Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club have committed to keeping and maintaining the courses the way they were originally designed to be played,” Caplan said. “There is a striking similarity in the commitment both clubs have to hickory golf as Philadelphia Cricket Club played host to two National Hickory Championships and the inaugural World Hickory Match Play Championship in 2014. I would look forward to doing the same at Belvedere Golf Club.”
Belvedere, which stretches to 6,906 yards, isn’t long by modern standards, but the challenge lies in the short game shot values around the dynamic green complexes, which features subtle undulations, ridges and slopes that fall off to chipping areas. Two years ago, the course underwent a caring restoration using long-lost blueprints of Watson’s original design, which were serendipitously discovered during the demolition of a building in downtown Charlevoix in 2016.
“Jordan Caplan has outstanding credentials in course supervision and maintenance,” Belvedere general manager David Gray said. “He comes with a great respect for Belvedere and its traditions. He’s excited about helping make this property even more of a ‘must play’ course in Michigan, the Midwest and even nationally. We are excited to welcome Jordan and his family to Belvedere.”
Belvedere has been lauded a respected tournament venue for nearly a century. Belvedere, like many of the historic courses in Great Britain, allows limited public play during the golf season and is best known as the host of 40 Michigan Amateur Championships. Belvedere will also host the 2025 Michigan Amateur during its centennial year.
In June, Belvedere hosted the 2019 U.S. Hickory Open, an annual event that attracts an international field of golfers who play with antique pre-1935 hickory shafted golf clubs or authentic replica hickory clubs.
“Growing up in the Detroit area and attending Michigan State University, I knew Belvedere Golf Club as the iconic host of the Michigan Amateur Championship,” Caplan said. “Charlevoix also holds significance to me as my wife and I were married at Castle Farms in 2013.”
The Belvedere Golf Club’s history began in 1925, when members of the Belvedere Club decided their existing social club needed a golf course. The membership hired Watson to design a golf course “worthy of national reputation” and Watson delivered.
Along with its many Michigan Amateur Championships, Belvedere has hosted several professional events. Legends such as Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Leo Diegel, Alex Smith, MacDonald Smith, Jock Hutchison, Tommy Armour, Denny Shute, Jim Barnes, Alex Ross, Emmet French, Horton Smith and many others all walked the historic course and competed at Belvedere.
In more modern times, Sam Snead, Julius Boros, Ken Venturi and Loren Roberts have made several visits to experience the club and its history. Hall of Fame golfer and five-time Open Champion, Tom Watson, spent his childhood through his college years spending summers in Northern Michigan and Belvedere became his home course during the summer. To this day, Watson pronounces Belvedere as one of his three favorite courses in the country – behind Augusta National and Pebble Beach. Watson is an honorary member of Belvedere Golf Club and still makes occasional visits to the club.