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!

5 Reasons Golfing in Charlevoix is Above Par

Charlevoix is known for its picturesque views of Lake Michigan, Round Lake and Lake Charlevoix. Nestled between these lakes, Charlevoix boasts of five renowned area golf courses. This region of northern Michigan offers interesting course diversity and easy access to multiple courses. Read more on the incredible golf scene in Charlevoix and a few courses to explore when you visit the area.

Proximity to the courses

Charlevoix boasts of five renowned golf courses. Each of these five courses is located no farther than 20 minutes from downtown Charlevoix, making it easy to play multiple courses in one day.  If you are looking for panoramic views, consider golfing at Antrim Dells. This golf course has amazing views of Lake Michigan while offering a challenging course for every skill level.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

 History in the making

History comes alive at two of the oldest golf courses in the state of Michigan. The Belvedere Golf Club and the Charlevoix Golf Club were both founded by renowned Scottish architect William Watson over 100 years ago. Both of these courses exhibit classic beauty and are known for their attention to detail and preservation.  If you are looking to relive history, the Belvedere Golf Club hosts the annual Belvedere Hickory Open in June, drawing in golfers from around the United States for games dressed in historic apparel and using hickory shafted clubs.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

 Variety is the Spice of Life

Diversity of courses, amenities, and degree of difficulty are extremely important aspects to the sport of golf. Charlevoix offers a variety of courses meeting all needs and skill sets. Whether you are looking for a 9-hole course, a classic layout, or championship challenges, Charlevoix has it all. The Dunmaglas Golf Course provides a pure and unspoiled golfing experience while the Heatherwoods Golf Course at the Charlevoix Country Club offers bent grass fairways with 4 of the most challenging end holes in Northern Michigan. The Charlevoix Golf Club is a 9-hole course that offers gentle terrain that is good for beginners, families, or if you’re looking for a quick round of golf.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

Deals and Discounts

Everybody likes a deal, right? Each Charlevoix area golf course offers group packaging and specials. Check out each of these golf courses to see about special group discounts and outings. Insider tip: Plan to golf in Charlevoix during the off season (beginning of May or end of September through mid October) to enjoy greatly discounted rates as well usually good weather and gorgeous fall colors.

 Stay and Play

After spending a day (or two) on the golf course, take in the happenings of downtown Charlevoix. Enjoy one of the many great restaurants, take a stroll through unique stores, stop for an ice cream cone or fudge, and top the night off with Michigan craft beer. No matter what your group’s interest, there is something fun for everyone. Use this website to plan your trip to Charlevoix!

Katherine

Katherine Forrester is a graduate from Hope College with a degree in communication and works at the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau as the Sales & Marketing Coordinator. She is a native of Charlevoix, loves skiing, kayaking, going to Detroit Red Wings games, and craft Michigan beer. You can follow the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau on Facebook and Twitter.

Maximize Fall Playing Time With These Michigan Golf Trails

Today, guest blogger Janina Parrott Jacobs tells us how to minimize travel and maximize time on the course by playing through a Michigan golf trail this fall. 

Treetops_12SMT046There’s strength in numbers. Golfers may not normally fly across the country to play just one great course but they’ll consider doing so to play an assortment of superb ones. The folks in Myrtle Beach figured this out years ago when they realized that by banding together, they could create one-stop shopping to promote a stellar array of courses, attractions, and restaurants to golfers who would visit from around the country.

In Alabama, the creation of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail – which runs the entire length of the state from north to south via 11 Trail sites complete with 26 magnificent and affordable courses – was originally fashioned to strengthen the state’s financial health by maximizing investments from retirement funds. Visionary Dr. David Bronner, former CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama and the brainchild behind this idea, borrowed his philosophy from the movie Field of Dreams: ‘if you build it they will come’. He did…and they did.

Yet no state or trail or destination anywhere can match the sheer numbers of courses available for public or resort golf in Michigan. Different regions of the state have connected with each other to attract a wider range of golfers – and not simply from their local area. Here, a number of trail offerings are available to maximize your golf and minimize your drive time so you can enjoy the shorter days of late summer and early autumn.

Photo courtesy of Gaylord Area CVB

Photo courtesy of Gaylord Area CVB

Most people know of the ‘Gold Coast’ resort courses on the west side of the state: Boyne, Grand Traverse, Shanty Creek, Arcadia Bluffs to name a few. North centrally, there’s the Gaylord Golf Mecca, headlined by Treetops Resort – where you can sample ‘The Masterpiece’ an original RTJ Sr. design.  Experience the same inspiration Jones had when looking at the formidable elevation drop to the 6th green when all he saw were treetops…and thus the resort’s name was born.

Further east along US-23 and adjacent to Lake Huron, the Sunrise Side is lesser known but offers a wonderful collection of splendid courses that are surprisingly affordable. Red Hawk, near Tawas, an Arthur Hills design (think ‘Bay Harbor’) is a perfect introduction to the quality of golf you’ll find in the area. Up the road is Lakewood Shores Resort, with the nationally top-ranked links-style Gailes as well as the enjoyable Serradella, Blackshire, and par-3 ‘Wee Links’ courses which sit adjacent to Lake Huron near Oscoda. Alpena Golf Club, River’s Edge (formerly Alpena CC), and Black Lake are must-plays as are Elk Ridge, owned by Honeybaked Ham – you MUST try the ham sandwich at the turn – and Thunder Bay Resort, which offers golf with the added attraction of elk viewing tours via horse drawn wagons in summer and sleighs in the winter…both culminating with a multi-course gourmet dinner cooked on a century-old stove.

Just north and west of Detroit, the Michigan Grand Golf Trail encompasses five upscale courses that are in close proximity: Whispering Pines and Timber Trace in Pinckney, Mystic Creek in Milford, Brentwood in White Lake, and Boulder Pointe in Oxford.

Municipal courses are also getting in on the combine-and-prosper act. The Michigan Municipal Golf Trail, part of the Michigan Recreation and Park Association consists of several public, city, county, and Huron-Clinton Metropark courses. At Dearborn Hills, $20 will get you 18 holes of golf, cart, and a hot dog, chips and pop Monday through Friday from 11am-1pm.

As Fall golf approaches – and this year it seems to be coming early, weather-wise – look for even better deals everywhere in Michigan. At all Boyne courses, fees are based on airlines-style pricing: it all depends when and where you want to play. Being flexible will pay off. Check out all 11 courses spanning 3 resorts at Boyne.

Janina-Jacobs-headshot12-186x250Janina 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.  Her website, features many other entrepreneurial adventures as a motivational speaker, professional musician and performer, owning Capers Steakhouse in Detroit, and volunteer efforts with the U.S. Navy where she advocates for and mentors young people concerning health, nutrition, and fitness issues.