Summer Solstice in Michigan, A Golfing Nirvana for Players

Now that the summer golf season has kicked into full-swing, golfers are getting out all over the state to take advantage of this great game. With more than 650 public courses to explore, it’s easy to see why Michigan is one of the premier golf destinations in the nation. As the summer solstice approaches, read more on why you should hit the links on the longest day of the year.

One of the highlights to golfing in Michigan are the long summer days allowing golfers to play into the evening hours. Nothing exemplifies this better then on June 20, the Summer Solstice, ( or the longest day of the year) as it will stay light enough for golf until nearly 10 p.m. Imagine teeing off at 6 p.m. and still getting 18-holes in. Even better, imagine teeing off at 7 a.m. and golfing all day and into the evening playing possibly 54 holes or more!

There are beautiful views to be seen at the Otsego Club in Gaylord

Beautiful views at the Otsego Club in Gaylord

Now, imagine taking it even one-step further and golfing one of our great resorts in Northern Michigan where golfers can  play three or four courses in one day and only leave the golf cart to hit shots. If you’re interested in a day on the greens unlike any other, America’s Summer Golf Capital has a few resorts to experience during those great long days of summer. Treetops, located in Gaylord, and the anchor to the Gaylord Golf Mecca, features 63-holes on its Treetops North site. Golfers can tee it up early on the Tom Fazio Premier, Michigan’s only Tom Fazio course, followed by the Rick Smith Signature, The Tradition, and cap it off with America’s No. 1 Par 3 Course, Threetops. Whatever order you do it in, it promises to be an amazing one-day golf experience.

The Frazio Premier Course at Treetops Resort is a local favorite

The Frazio Premier Course is recognized as a top course across the state

A little further north at Boyne Highlands up in Harbor Springs, part of the massive Boyne golf resorts, golfers can get in the cart early and play the Moor, The Donald Ross Memorial, featuring a wonderful rendition of great Donald Ross holes from around the country, and then cap it off with the Hills course, which features one of the best views from the 13th tee in all of Michigan. In Traverse City, The Grand Traverse Resort offers a great 54-hole combination lead by the Jack Nicklaus designed “Bear”, which has always been one of Jack’s tougher, but also most popular golf courses. Complimenting Jack’s course is the more player friendly Gary Player-designed Wolverine course, and the challenging Spruce Run course. If 36-holes are enough, there are several top facilities around the state where you can play 36 and never get out of the cart.

Greens at Grand Traverse Resort

Beautiful greens found at the Bear course at Grand Traverse Resort

In Northern Michigan top spots include Shanty Creek Resorts offering the Legend and Summit courses, as well as Crystal Mountain Resort with Mountain Ridge and Betsie Valley. At Manistee National, you can play Cutters Ridge and Canthooke Valley. Of course, golfers can head over to the sunrise cost play the Gailes and Serendella courses at Lakewood Shores Resort. In Gaylord, golfers should check out the Otsego Club with the Tribute and Classic courses. Don’t leave out the Upper Peninsula where golfers can challenge themselves with Greywalls and Marquette Country Club.

Greywalls Golf Course in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

The Greywalls is one of the Upper Peninsula’s finest courses

In the southern part of the state, there are destinations offering the 36-hole experience and more. Gull Lake View Resort offers options with its East and West courses or Stonehedge North and South. Golfers can experience two Donald Ross courses at Warren Valley in Dearborn, and check out Lakeview Hills in Lexington. Where ever you might play on the Summer Solstice, make it a full day of Pure Michigan golf! Where is your favorite course in Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!

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!

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.