Explore Sun, Water and Fun in Benzie County This Summer

They say water is life and we couldn’t agree more!  With over 57 inland lakes, over 20 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 200 miles of rivers, Benzie County Michigan is a water wonderland.

Benzie County is located in the heart of Northwest Michigan’s Lower Peninsula along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and home to some of the most beautiful lakes and rivers in the state.  The sapphire waters of Crystal Lake offer recreation of all types from fishing to water skiing.  The Betsie and Platte Rivers are among the best kayaking, canoeing and tubing, or maybe a smaller lake is more to your liking, if so, we have over 50 others to choose from.

Explore Lake Michigan fishing in Benzie County

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

The Sleeping Bear Dunes, which begins in Benzie County and continues into Leelanau County, was named The Most Beautiful Place in America by the viewers of Good Morning America in 2011. The Dune climb or the Pierce Stocking scenic drive should be on everyone’s bucket list.  The park also offers many other beach and trail options along with a variety of educational programs throughout the year.

Benzie County is also known as “the Best Place in Michigan for Outdoor Sports & Recreation.” Outdoor activities cater to a wide variety of sports and recreational interests including biking, hiking, running, golf, fishing, kite boarding, surfing and more. Championship level to intermediate and beginning golfers have plenty choices at area courses which boast natural beauty and magnificent scenic views.  There are locations for renting golf clubs, bikes, kayaks and other recreational equipment, as well.

An aerial shot of the Benzie County coast

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

So after a day on the water or exploring a trail, Benzie County has great shopping and dining choices.  Many of the local dining establishments offer farm-to-table options on their menus.  If a winery, brewery or distillery is more to your liking, we have those too!  Our option of overnight lodging has something for everyone.  From our world class resort, Crystal Mountain to small mom & pop resorts, motels, cabins and homes that fit every need, you will find a great place to lay your head at the end of the day.

The Point Betsie Lighthouse stands tall

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

Explore the Benzie Treasure Trove package this summer

Photo Courtesy of the Benzie County CVB

Looking to add some value to your vacation to Benzie County?  Our 2016 Benzie Treasure Trove promotion is an excellent way to put some real bang in your vacation bucks.  Come stay two or more consecutive nights at one of our 24 participating lodging properties and we’ll load you up with “booty” valued to nearly $300 from over 20 local businesses!  The package includes freebies, two-for-ones, discounts and a prize from the Benzie County Visitors Bureau by pulling a jewel from our Treasure Chest.  Just a few of the items included are a free slice of cherry pie from the Cherry Hut, a free root beer float from the A&W, two-for-one golf at Betsie Valley Golf Courses, a free dessert with your dinner purchase at Cold Creek Inn and so much more. Details and requirements for this promotion can be found on the Benzie County Visitor Bureau’s website, www.visitbenzie.com .

For more information on visiting Benzie County, Northern Michigan Preserved®, you can call our office at 800-882-5801 or explore our website, www.visitbenzie.com and be sure to like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/benziecounty.cvb

Mary Carroll is the President of the Benzie County Visitors Bureau and Benzie County Chamber of Commerce overseeing both organizations for the past eight years.  A born and bred Michigander, Mary love her state and appreciates the fact that she gets to work in and promote one of the best area in Michigan.  

 

Harbor Shores Boasts Incredible Golf and Community Comeback Story

This week, golfers and golf-lovers alike will travel to Harbor Shores to watch the best senior tour-players tee-it-up in the 77th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. But on top of the action on the links, they’ll also see a transformed town welcoming visitors and tourists with open arms.

In a model similar to the revitalization of the East Lake neighborhood in Atlanta, now home to the year ending Fed Ex Cup Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club, Harbor Shores and the Whirlpool Corporation had a vision to transform the  once a vibrant manufacturing town that had fallen on hard times back into a bustling community. This vision has been quickly realized with countless assets and investments being poured the community through new business growth, job creation, real estate development and new-found tourism revenue.

At the forefront of this development is the new Harbor Shores Golf Club, designed by famous PGA-legend Jack Nicklaus. With the attached real estate development of condos and cottages and the new Inn at Harbor Shores, Benton Harbor is attracting golfers and travelers alike from across Michigan and the entire Midwest.

Sand traps at Harbor Shores

Sand traps present a fun challenge at Harbor Shores

The course meanders over spectacular and diverse landscapes that offer breathtaking views and exciting challenges for golfers taking the tee. Three holes offer dramatic views of Lake Michigan while others wind through rolling hills, ravines, and hardwood forests.

Golfers looking to visit the area on a golf package and contribute its economic impact will find the combination of the Inn at Harbor Shores and the golf club to be one of the best golf and lodging combinations in the state. The Inn, with its classical coastal architecture reminiscent of the early 19th and 20th century cottage style, features 92 elegant rooms, plentiful dining options, spa, and meeting space.

Some of the highlights of the Jack Nicklaus designed course are the challenging green complexes that Nicklaus is known to do, including the 10,000 square foot 10th green, where Jack made a legendary putt during the grand opening of over 100-feet that rose up multiple levels to the bottom of the cup.

The best stretch of holes might be on the back nine and along the Paw Paw river with holes 12, 13, 14, and 15, a classic risk-reward par 5 with river running along the entire right side.

Lush putting greens at HawksHead Links

Beautiful putting greens seen at HawksHead Links

For golfers who want to play multiple courses on a golf package to the area or while attending the championship this week, then make sure to check out HawksHead  Links in South Haven, designed by Art Hills, or Ravines Golf Club created by Arnold Palmer up the coast in Saugatuck, and the nearby Lake Michigan Hills,  which has been a favorite stop for over 40 years.

A visit to this revitalized area is not only a great day on the greens, but also a chance to experience the comeback of a small American town. Check it out for yourself and be sure to let us know your score. FORE!

What is your favorite Michigan golf memory? Share with us 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!