Get in a Few Practice Swings at These Excellent Michigan Golf Schools

Michigan Golf Month may be winding down, but it’s still prime season for Michigan golfers and enthusiasts to get out and enjoy their favorite courses. If you’re looking to improve your game by getting in a few practice swings this summer, there are many top golf schools to check out across the state. Today, golf expert Kevin Frisch, owner and CEO of Fusion Media Strategies, gives us the run down. 

After a long and cold winter, summer has finally arrived at America’s Summer Golf Capital and golfers all over the state and Midwest are getting out and experiencing Michigan’s quantity and quality of great golf. In addition, golfers are also looking to improve their game this summer at many of Michigan’s top golf schools. The state features some of the top instructors in the country along with award-winning golf schools.

If you are looking to combine a golf vacation getaway with top golf instruction, then a trip to northern Michigan should be on the menu. The region combines more golf school instruction with award-winning resort destinations than anywhere in the country.

Academy-Jason-II

Photo courtesy of Treetops

Leading the way for the past 20 years has been Rick Smith, one of Golf Digest’s top instructors, and his Rick Smith Golf Academy at Treetops Resort. It is one of GOLF Magazine’s Top 25 Golf Schools, and Smith, who has spent many years out on the PGA Tour working with the games elite players, returns to Treetops often to teach the game he loves. Programs like the Rick Smith TOUR Performance School, the Rick Smith Premier Session and the popular Weekend Workshop highlight the academy’s offerings. Make sure to also check out the Treetops Ladies Golf School. 

Heading up the road to BOYNE, golfers will find the popular BOYNE Golf Academy lead by Brian O’Neill, who is one of Golf Digest’s top instructors in Michigan and Mike Fay, a U.S. Kids Golf -Top 50 Kids Teacher. Golfers can experience top instruction combined with nine golf course options including the spectacular Bay Harbor Golf Club.

The BOYNE Golf Academy combines new technology including Trackman with golf fitness using the popular Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) and a new “holistic” approach to golf instruction. The academy also offers a variety of programs including the Fore Women School, short game schools, Nike Junior Camps, and its flagship program, The BOYNE Golf Academy Performance Experience. New for 2014 are corporate Team Building programs that incorporate some of the fun challenges seen on the popular Golf Channel’s Big Break.

The Traverse City region finds a number of golf schools and resorts with leading instruction and quality golf.

Leading the way is the Crystal Mountain Golf School, a GOLF Magazine Top 25 Golf School located in Thompsonville. Lead by some of Golf Digest’s top teachers in Michigan including Brad Dean, the Crystal Mountain Golf School offers more than 100 schools, clinics and programs for all levels of golfers.

Some of the most popular programs include the Two and Three-Day Golf Schools, as well as the Women’s Three-Day School. The Junior Golf Academy is also a popular choice for beginners as well as elite players, and Get Golf Ready Classes lead the Player Development Programs. Visit

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort

Located in Acme, just outside of Traverse City, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa offers a 12-month golf school with The Grand Traverse Golf Academy led by six-time Michigan Open Champion and 2008 PGA Professional National Champion Scott Hebert. The 2,000 square foot Academy building features three fully heated, indoor-outdoor hitting bays equipped with mirrors and motion-capture technology for swing analysis including the GC2.

The academy offers single, two and three-day programs, individual instruction, playing lessons with course management as well as a summer junior programs for kids aged 5 –17. In addition, the golf academy has become a popular venue for corporate clinics and association meetings.

Other leading instructional programs in the Traverse City region include the Shanty Creek Golf Academy lead by Brian Kautz and featuring instruction for all levels of players including full swing and short game. In addition, programs for beginners as well as juniors are also offered.

The Homestead Resort on the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan is home to the Dave Pelz Short Game School. It is one of only six locations in the world offering the nationally acclaimed golf school, which is also a GOLF Magazine Top 25 Golf School. Operating under the theory that golfers most often drive up their scores within 100 yards of the hole, the school focuses on the short game and putting. The programs include 1-2-3 Day Scoring Schools that offer instruction for chipping, putting, wedge and sand play.

For golfers looking to stay closer to home and receive top golf instruction, they should be sure to check out some of these leading golf schools around Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Hawk Hollow

Photo courtesy of Hawk Hollow

The Jason Guss Golf Academy at Eagle Eye and Hawk Hollow in Lansing is led by Jason Guss, who was recognized by Golf Digest as one of “America’s Best Young Teachers” as well as the 2013 Michigan PGA Teacher of the Year. The Academy offers a variety of multi-day schools, women’s programs, individual and corporate instruction. Guss is also recognized for having one of the premier junior golf instruction programs in Michigan. Visit

In the Ann Arbor area, a trip to The Kendall Academy at Miles of Golf will provide all aspects of instruction. Lead by Dave Kendall, the academy offers private lessons, a series of lessons, as well as specialty schools, day schools, as well as on course playing lessons. Visit

Two other top teachers in Michigan that are quickly gaining notoriety include Charley Vandenburg in Grand Rapids, and Bob Krause in the Detroit area.

Vandenberg Instruction at the Thousand Oaks Golf Academy features a state of the art facility on the cutting edge of golf technology. Training aids such as the MEGSA perfect practice equipment help students reach their potential. Charley Vandenberg was named the 2014 Michigan PGA Teacher of the Year for a fifth time.

The Bob Krause Golf School offers top individual instruction using the games leading technology and has also become a popular school for corporate sessions. Bob has also become the go to person for many professional athletes. Visit

Over the past 25 years Michigan has been a leading golf destination with award winning golf courses and resort destinations, but it has now become a popular state for golf instruction. Visit Michigan.org for more information.

How do you like to get your swing in shape for golf season in Michigan?

MG_2299CRweb-150x150Kevin Frisch is the owner and CEO of Fusion Media Strategies, a Michigan based marketing and public relations company specializing in the golf industry serving golf clients nationwide.

Growing the Game of Golf in Michigan with Family Friendly Programs

June is Michigan Golf Month, and it’s the perfect time of year to get out on the course! If you’re new to the sport or would like to get your family involved, guest blogger Janina Jacobs shares some ways to take advantage of junior and family friendly golf opportunities in Pure Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Shepherd's Hollow

Photo courtesy of Shepherd’s Hollow

School’s out and Michigan’s 850-plus courses offer great places to spend endless summer days. Family and junior programs abound everywhere and are vital to growth of the game. Making golf more fun is the goal for one spectacular opportunity you may wish to consider for your kids this year: the National Drive, Chip & Putt competition, sponsored by the USGA, the Masters Tournament, and the PGA of America. It could lead to an appearance at Augusta National Golf Club next April. Last year’s inaugural event had limited qualifying opportunities but the number of qualifying sites for the 2014 event has been greatly expanded and includes many Michigan golf courses.

Girls and boys ages 7-15 are encouraged to enter the contest, which awards points for accuracy in driving, chipping, and putting – certainly the key to lower scores for any golfer. Local qualifiers in each of four divisions separated by gender and age groups of 7-9, 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15 will advance to Sub-Regional qualifiers at Fox Hills Golf Club and Banquet Center in Plymouth on August 15 and Binder Park Golf Course in Battle Creek on August 23. Regional finals will be held September 6 at Prestwick Village Golf Club, in Highland. For official rules and to register, visit www.drivechipandputt.com. Entries close at 5pm, five (5) days prior to the local Michigan competitions, which are listed below:

Drive, Chip & Putt Local Qualifying Sites:

June 17 – Hawk Hollow Golf Club, Bath
June 22 – Marquette Golf Club, Marquette
June 25 – Railside Golf Club, Byron Center
June 28 – Whispering Willows Golf Club, Livonia
July 1 – Pheasant Run Golf Club, Canton
July 8 – Forest Akers East, East Lansing
July 12 – Ferris State University/Katke, Big Rapids
July 15 – Treetops Resort, Gaylord
July 19 – The Orchards, Washington
July 22 – Binder Park Golf Course, Battle Creek
July 26 – Apple Mountain, Freeland

Photo courtesy of Gaylord CVB

Photo courtesy of Gaylord CVB

There is no entry fee for the National Drive, Chip & Putt Contest, however space is limited and entries are accepted on a first-come first served basis. Each local qualifier has its own starting time, which is listed on the individual site. Of note, those who make it to Augusta and become Championship finalists will receive three Monday Practice Round Tickets to the 2015 Masters.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR HIGH SCHOOL GOLFERS: Free Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) memberships are available to all high school golf team members and their coach. To receive the free GAM membership, your golf coach must call 248.478.9242, Ext. 19. Perks include an online Michigan E-newsletter, weekly Global Golf Post digital edition, subscription to Golf Digest or Golf World, the Michigan Links Magazine and 2014 Annual Course Directory (which lists every golf course in the state, pertinent information, and also directions on how to get there) exclusive tee time booking, opportunities to play in the GAM Scramble, tournaments, events, and $60 Golf Days, sponsor offers, Swing & Save discount program, and handicap services. Visit www.gam.org for more information or for regular membership, which at $39, offers superb value.

Michigan Golf Schools and Lessons

A number of courses across the state offer private lessons and classes for those just getting their swing in shape. To find golf schools and lessons in your area, check out michigan.org.

Janina-Jacobs-headshot111-150x150Janina Parrott Jacobs is a lifelong Michigan resident but her passion as a multi-media golf and business specialist and international golf and travel writer takes her all over the world.  

Top Golfers Try Their Hand at Harbor Shores this Spring

The 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid makes its second appearance in Michigan May 20 -25, 2014 at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores. Jeff Hintz, PGA Championship Director, answers our questions on the tournament and gives an overview of what attendees can expect from the course.

Tickets for the Senior PGA Championship are on sale now – including holiday packages for the golf enthusiast on your shopping list! 

Q: This year is the 75th Senior PGA Championship. Will there be any special events or celebrations to commemorate this?

A: The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid has a long and rich history since it began in 1937. We are currently exploring opportunities to host a variety of community events to celebrate the 75th anniversary from a concert series to a 5K run/walk race. Details about these events will be posted on the Championship website as we get closer to the event.

We also unveiled a new logo for the 2014 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid to commemorate the 75th anniversary and honor the history and tradition of the Championship.

Q: What can attendees expect to experience at the Senior PGA Championship this year?

A: Every fan experience is unique from Championship to Championship. In 2014, we’re committed to enhancing our customer service throughout the course and creating a great entertainment value for our fans. Daily grounds tickets range from $15 to $35 and all juniors, 17 years of age and younger, will be admitted into the Championship for free with an accompanying ticketed adult. We are looking into incorporating a new Kids Zone at the Championship this year which will include activities for juniors and families. And, we’ve introduced a new ticket category for the 75th Championship – the 19th Hole – which gives fans access to an upgraded viewing structure on the course. Single-day tickets to the 19th Hole tickets will be sold for Championship rounds (Thurs. – Sun.) for $50. Practice round tickets to the 19th Hole are $35.

Q: Who can attendees expect to see playing this year?

A: The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, the most historic and prestigious senior major, features the strongest field in senior golf. Golf fans will have a chance to see the world’s greatest senior golfers and walk with history.

We expect a strong field in 2014 filled with past Champions and fan favorites including Tom Watson, Tom Lehman, Jay Haas, Fred Couples, Kenny Perry, Mark O’Meara, Bernhard Langer and 2012 Senior PGA Champion Roger Chapman.

Q: What makes Harbor Shores such a unique golf course? Why was Harbor Shores chosen to host this premier event?

A: Harbor Shores is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf course, the only one on the shores of Lake Michigan. What makes this course so unique is the extensive environmental transformation that took place to develop the course. The Nicklaus team transformed abandoned land, dilapidated vacant factories, and a city dump into one of the top courses in the state of Michigan. The course and surrounding development serves as a catalyst for ongoing community transformation in Benton Harbor.

Thanks to our partnership with KitchenAid, Harbor Shores was selected as the site of the 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 Senior PGA Championships presented by KitchenAid.

Q: Are there any “must-play” holes for golf enthusiasts at Harbor Shores? What’s your favorite hole at Harbor Shores?

A: All 18 holes at Harbor Shores are must-play holes for golf enthusiasts! The course features three distinct styles of terrain including lakefront dunes along Lake Michigan, Northern Michigan hardwoods and native wetlands along the Paw Paw River. Holes 7, 8 and 9, overlook the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan and give golfers a stunning look at the beach. Hole 10 is one of my favorite holes. The 10thgreen is a three-tier green and the largest in Nicklaus’ portfolio of more than 300 golf course designs around the world.

Q: Outside of the course, what are some “must-sees” in the Benton Harbor area for visitors to check out while in town?

A: While you’re visiting Benton Harbor for the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, you must take some time to visit Jean Klock Park Beach along the shores of Lake Michigan. The center of Jean Klock Park is made up of holes 7, 8 and 9 at Harbor Shores on the lakefront dunes.

There are a number of great restaurants and shops within walking distance of the course in the Benton Harbor Arts District. Some of our favorite dining options in the Arts District include Larks Bar-B-Que, Charlie’s Piggin’ N’ Grinnin’, The Ideal Place and The Livery. The North Shore Inn is also a must for some of the best burgers in town. And, the St. Joseph Pier Lighthouse is a popular stop for visitors in nearby St. Joseph, Mich.

Q: Where can people go to learn more about the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid?

A: Fans can visit the Championship website to buy tickets and get more information about the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. We also encourage fans to visit our Facebook page and Twitter account.

Will you attend the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores this spring?

Jeff Hintz is the Championship Director of the 73rd and 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. As Championship Director, Hintz oversees all aspects of the Championships on behalf of The PGA of America. He also manages the day-to-day business relationship between The PGA and KitchenAid, the presenting sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship since 2011.