Five Ways to Enjoy Michigan Golf This summer

Memorial Day Weekend is the annual kick-off to summer in Michigan and June 1 is the official beginning to Michigan Golf Month, which celebrates the game and its impact on the state’s tourism and economy. With over 650 public golf courses and a variety of golf resort destinations around the state, there are plenty of golfing options to take advantage of this summer. Read more on five fun golfing experiences to try this season:

1. Tee-it-up where the professionals play.

It’s not very often that golfers can play the same golf courses that the pros play, but at Harbor Shores Golf Club, site of the recent Sr. PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, you can drive the same fairways and hit the same shots into the greens on this public Jack Nicklaus designed layout. Also checkout the new Inn at Harbor Shores and make it a golf package.

Sand traps at Harbor Shores Golf Club

Sand and water traps present skill challenges at Harbor Shores

2. Play a golf course forwards and then backwards in reverse.

Inspired by the Old Course at St. Andrews, where over 200-years ago the course was designed to be played in reverse during the winter to help with maintenance, world-renowned golf course architect, Tom Doak, has designed the first reversible golf course of its kind in the U.S. The Loop at Forest Dunes in Grayling is a reversible routing that will alternate directions on a daily basis allowing golfers to play it clockwise (Black) one day, then counter-clockwise (Red) the next day. Combine the original Forest Dunes course and this will be a one of a kind 54-hole golf package experience.

The Loop at Forest Dunes in Grayling

World-renowned golf course architect Tom Doak designed The Loop, a reversible course

3. Play nine holes or a short course

With golf looking for ways to grow the game and get more people to participate, playing nine-holes or shorter courses has become a popular thing to do. Below are ten fun 9-hole and shorter courses around Michigan to experience.

  1. The Miners Short Course at The MinesGrand Rapids
  2. Threetops – Par 3 Course at TreetopsGaylord
  3. Mountain FlowersHomestead ResortGlen Arbor
  4. Woodside Golf Course – East Lansing
  5. Wawashkamo Golf ClubMackinac Island
  6. St. Ignace Golf & Country ClubSt. Ignace
  7. Elk Rapids Golf ClubElk Rapids
  8. Strategic Fox at Fox HillsPlymouth
  9. Les Cheneaux Golf ClubCedarville
  10. Charlevoix Golf ClubCharlevoix
  11. Shadow RidgeIonia

4. Take a lesson or visit a golf school.

Golfers looking to improve their game have plenty of options for golf instruction in Michigan. Golfers in metro Detroit, make sure to check out Carl’s Golfland and its Performance Center for both lessons and club-fitting. Golfers will find a similar experience in Ann Arbor at Miles of Golf. Other top instructors and academy’s in southern Michigan include Jason Guss at Hawk Hollow, one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers, Steve Brady at Oakland Hills and the Rick Smith Golf Academy at Oakland University.

Golfers looking to combine some golf instruction with a golf trip can check out some of the resorts in northern Michigan like the Dave Pelz Short Game School at the Homestead, Crystal Mountain Golf Academy, Boyne Golf Academy, as well as the golf schools at Grand Traverse Resort and Treetops.

The Treetops Golf Course in Grayling

Treetops Golf Course in Gaylord is immaculate all season long

5. Make golf part of your family vacation this summer.

Golf is a great family activity to get outside and do together and there are some great resorts that offer great family golf experiences. Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville offers family golf scramble events this summer and Boyne Mountain provides special pricing for junior golfers, as does Treetops with juniors playing free on overnight golf packages.

What is your favorite course to play in Pure Michigan? Let us know by commenting below!

Two New Golf Courses Debut in Pure Michigan This Summer

Since the frenzied building of new golf courses in the 1990s, Michigan golfers have in large part been unable to contemplate new places to play. As the 2016 golf season opens, however, the Great Lakes state golfers can eagerly look forward to a pair of projects in the grow-in stages and planning debuts this summer.

Renaissance Golf Design of Traverse City has a hand in both, though Renaissance proprietor Tom Doak is involved in just one.

Doak found the perfect client in Lew Thompson, who was open to his idea of a reversible course that can be played one way one day, and another way the next, and the result is The Loop at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon. Four other architects who work for Doak’s firm, meanwhile, teamed up with the time-tested successful Scott family at Gull Lake View Golf Club and Resort in Augusta and created the new Stoatin Brae course. It promises to be a dramatic departure from the other five courses that are part of Gull Lake View.

TheLoop

Meanwhile, golfers can get excited for not only new courses, but the new ideas behind the courses as well. The reversible golf course idea that resulted in the design of The Loop was something Doak has contemplated for years.  When Thompson showed him the property and asked for a course that would make people choose to stay and play again, Doak knew the contemplation could end.

Doak’s team, which included the lead associate for the project Brian Slawnik, as well as design associates Brian Schneider and Eric Iverson, completed the 18 holes last summer. The first reversible design in the U.S. is set to open June 27. He borrowed some ideas for the design from the links courses in the United Kingdom, including the Old Course at St. Andrews. It used to be played backwards for a few weeks each winter so that the areas where divots were concentrated would have time to heal. Garden City in New York, which he has long thought would work well in reverse, also gave him ideas.

StolenBrae

Meanwhile in southwest Michigan, the Scott family has provided a golf destination for over 50 years,  growing from one 18-hole golf course to 90 holes on five courses as well as overnight lodging, practice facilities and restaurants. Make it 108 holes with a soft opening by the end of July planned. Stoatin Brae, which means Grand Hill in Scottish Gaelic, is only the second course of the six that is not designed by the talented family and cut through the trees and hills on the area’s natural rolling land.

Iverson, Don Placek, Schneider and Slawnik, senior associates for Renaissance, collaborated, and the new course sits atop an open grassland bluff overlooking the Kalamazoo River valley. Iverson said they knew instantly it had all the elements for a great golf course. Jon Scott, a third generation of the family to own and operate Gull Lake View, said the family sees an opportunity to grow the business with customers who seek out new golf. It will play to par 71 over 6,800 yards.

What is your favorite course to play in Pure Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!

4 Southwest Michigan Golf Courses to Explore this Summer

Warm weather has finally arrived in Michigan, and with it, another inviting season of golf. If you’re looking to knock the dust off your favorite clubs, or are just looking to hit the links for the first time, here are four Southwest Michigan courses to try this summer:

1. Island Hills Golf Club – Centreville, MI

Island Hills is a gorgeous 18-hole course located on one of the largest lakes in Michigan, Lake Templene. Each hole is very different with some being in hardwood forests and others being in meadow prairies with a lake view. Want to “Play and Stay?” Island Hills has beautiful onsite villas for you to rest your head after playing the links.

Photo Courtesy of the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

2. Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort – Augusta, MI

Gull Lake View is made up of 5 courses: Gull Lake View East, Gull Lake View West, Bedford Valley, Stonehedge South, and Stonehedge North. All are 18-hole championship golf courses and are ranked 4.5 stars or higher by Golf Digest. Each course has its unique set of challenges like hills, bunkers, water holes (East has 10), huge greens and forested holes. At Gull Lake View you can also “Play and Stay” in their onsite villas.

Photo Courtesy of the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

 3. Binder Park Golf Club – Battle Creek, MI

Binder Park Golf Club is made up of 27-holes with 3 distinctive 9-hole tracks. The course is right next to Binder Park Zoo and you can even see parts of the zoo while you golf on certain holes. It is a great, user-friendly course for beginners and a challenging one for experience golfers.  Close to downtown Battle Creek and FireKeeper’s Casino, there is a lot to do when you are done golfing.

Photo Courtesy of the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

4. The Medalist Golf Club – Marshall, MI

Golfing at the Medalist is like playing on a course in Northern Michigan. This premier championship golf course has hosted multiple statewide championships and U.S. Amateur qualifiers. It is close to FireKeepers Casino and Hotel so you can golf during the day and get your Vegas on at night.

Photo Courtesy of the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Want to try these courses but do not know the next step? The program, Michigan Southern Swing, will book your tee times for you along with your lodging. Call 1-877-MI-SWING or go to www.misouthernswing.com to get your FREE quote.  

BeccaF

Becca Freybler is the Digital Media Marketing Manager for the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, handling all of their digital platforms.  She has worked for the CVB since 2010. Becca is a Michigan State University graduate and a lifelong Battle Creek resident. Outside of work she enjoys sports, cooking, being outdoors, and owns a Collie named Simba.