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.


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.


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!

Discover Pure Michigan with These June Events

As the weather gets warmer and the summer seasons starts, it’s the perfect time to get outside and spend time with your friends and families, all the while, discovering something new in Pure Michigan. From the Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island to several cultural events, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest.

Below is a roundup of June events to help you plan the upcoming month. Visit our events page to see everything going on all month long.

June 1-5

Jackson Blues Festival 2016
June 2-4, Jackson

The premier Blues Festival in the area includes three days of amazing Blues entertainers from all over the US. This will be great fun for the whole family! On June 3rd, the first 100 kids will receive a free t-shirt, sunglasses and harmonica, as well as a mini workshop on how to play the harmonica. Don’t miss this music immersion experience!

Vintage Car Show
vintage car showJune 3, Holland

Join the Holland Vintage Car Club as they plan their “Remember When” Cruise & Car Show for Downtown Holland. Mark your calendar for this fun auto event! The cars will be cruising down 8th Street and the show takes place at the old Lincoln/Mercury dealership on the east end of 8th Street.

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
June 4, Port Huron

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town is a chance for visitors and area residents to discover and rediscover the attractions and history that make Port Huron the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes. This will be a family day filled with lots to do and see!

67th Annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival
June 3-12, Mackinac Island

This 10-day celebration is the first and largest summer event on the Island, attracting thousands of visitors. A celebration that blends the Island’s historic varieties of lilacs, distinctive equestrian culture; fine food, drink and accommodations plus a range of other activities, the festival is one of the Island’s biggest attractions. There are an incredible number of festivities include the coronation of the Lilac Festival Queen and Court, Lilac Festival 10K, Grand Hotel History Lecture, horse drawn carriage tours, numerous concerts, sailing tours of the harbor, boat cruises under the Mackinac Bridge, wine tastings, A Taste of Mackinac Culinary Event, Mackinac Island Dog and Pony Show and the festival’s signature event, the Lilac Festival Grand Parade.

Antiques on the Bluff
antiques on the bluffJune 5, St. Joseph

Antiques on the Bluff is held along tree lined Lake Bluff Park, overlooking Lake Michigan. This antique show is a premier event for St. Joseph and antiquers around Southwest Michigan!

Michigan Makers Market
June 5, Detroit

The Michigan Makers Market opens up the definitions of art to include many other hand tooled items. This show will include looking at the creativity that Michigan people bring to everyday life. In addition to more traditional arts items this could also mean small batch foods, innovative manufacturing and unique solutions.

 June 6-12

2016 Flushing Summer Parade & Festivalflushing summer festival
June 8-12, Flushing

Presented by Flushing Valley Country Club & Golf, this is sure to be a fun time for all! Join for the parade that kicks off this annual summer festival. This will be followed by four more days of carnival food, fun, rides, golfing, entertainment tent, bubble ball, stage performances, teen tent, family fun fishing tournament, Marketplace shopping, music and more, down in Flushing’s Riverview Park!

Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival
June 9-12, Frankenmuth

Michigan’s largest celebration of Bavarian Heritage is the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival. Visitors to the Bavarian Festival are invited to celebrate German heritage through Bavarian music played by authentically dressed German bands, watch two parades, enjoy an expanded midway with rides and games, dance music, face painting and a hands-on craft area. Taste the hearty Bavarian foods, plump bratwurst, barbecued chicken and homemade pretzels. This will be a can’t miss event.

BBQ Dinner Sail
June 10, Bay Citybbq dinner sail

Come on this family friendly sail aboard the Appledore, for a fun and relaxing evening of cruising along the Saginaw River and setting sail in the Saginaw Bay. While aboard, you will enjoy a delicious, casual barbeque meal.

Gizzard Fest
June 10-12, Potterville

With a name like that you can count on a ton of fun! This annual festival/carnival is world-renowned and includes a classic car show, 3 on 3 basketball, arts and crafts, carnival, fireworks and more!

Cereal Festival & World’s Longest Breakfast Table
June 10-11, Battle Creek

Celebrate Battle Creek’s rich cereal history with the World’s Longest Breakfast Table! There will be many fun events including all-you-can-eat cereal, booths, and games.

West Michigan Petapalooza
June 12, Holland

A long standing community event, West Michigan Petapalooza is approaching it thirteenth year. With guest appearances from America’s Best Frisbee Dogs, Zeke the WonderDog and many others, this is an event you surely will not want to miss. All of the furry friends will be searching for their Fur-Ever Families. Aside from all the wonderful animals in attendance, slated to be there are such vendors as: Rainbow International Carpet Cleaning, Green Dog Pet Accessories, Dogs Bay Boarding and many more!

June 13-19

Kalamazoo Island Festival
June 16-18, Kalamazoo

The Island Festival is one of the largest Reggae festivals in the nation bringing over 20,000 people to Kalamazoo for the three day weekend. There will be over 40 craft vendors from around the world, 20 restaurants and live music all weekend long.

Ann Arbor Book Festivalann arbor book festival
June 16-18, Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor Book Festival’s mission is to promote reading, heighten awareness of literacy challenges and showcase the rich culture of the written word in Michigan and beyond. Each year, a diverse group of community leaders committed to literature, language and the arts in Michigan plans the Festival. While the festival is located in Ann Arbor, it is regional in its scope and interest.

Downtown Petoskey Gallery Walk
June 16, Petoskey

The art world will descend upon Downtown Petoskey for its 16th annual Gallery Walk. Participating art galleries will greet guests in an open-house format and offer delights for your eyes, ears and taste buds. Many of the galleries will have the artists present to introduce their works.

As a wonderful and exciting wrap up to the evening, art lovers will get a chance to win some fabulous art donated by the participating galleries. Earn chances to win by visiting each gallery. Winners will drawn at the Afterglow Party in the Rose Garden at Stafford’s Perry Hotel. Thousands of dollars worth of art is given away each year.

Downtown Tecumseh Classic Car & Bike Show & Music in the Parktecumseh
June 16, Tecumseh

Get your motor running and head on down the highway to the 2016 Tecumseh Classic Car & Bike Show. Cars and bikes will be displayed in the Old National Bank parking lot located at 205 E. Chicago Blvd. and the adjacent downtown parking lot for all to enjoy. Special recognition awards will be given and you can enjoy music with family and friends at Adams Park by City Hall.

Lansing Juneteenth Celebration & African American Parade
June 16-18, Lansing

Commemorating the end of slavery in the United States by celebrating the joys of liberty, educating the community about heritage and promoting positive cultural interaction, this three day event includes music, dance, entertainment, educational exhibits, a parade and entertainment. It’s celebrating 23 years in the Lansing area!

Greatest Midwest Town Partygreatest midwest town party
June 18, Traverse City

Midwest Living Magazine is throwing Traverse City a party to celebrate the city’s new title as “Greatest Midwest Town.” The party will take place at the Open Space Park and will include entertainment, food trucks, refreshments and more!

Devils Lake Festival of the Arts
June 18, Manitou Beach

The Devils Lake Festival of the Arts is a community celebration of art (including 40 Artist Booths), music, dance and local cuisine. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, so bring your friends and family and join in the festivities!

June 20-26

WOW (Wild Over Wednesday), Summer Fun in Michigan
June 22, Detroit

Celebrate the start of summer vacation! There is no better way to kick off summer than by spending some quality time outside playing games. There will be a variety of family-friendly lawn games, sidewal

k chalk games and even some team-building games! Once you’ve had your fill of games, go kick up your feet by the bonfire and roast some marshmallows to create delicious s’mores for the first 100 people.

Center Line Independence Festival
June 23-26, Center Line

The City of Center Line is celebrating its 80th Anniversary by way of its 1st Annual Center Line Independence Festival at Memorial Park. The event will include a carnival, live bands, arts & crafts, kids activities, beer tent and the always awesome Fireworks Display.

German Park Biergartenbiergarten
June 25, Ann Arbor

The German Park Recreation Club hosts three picnics the last Saturday in June, July, and August. Tehre will be live music, authentic German food and beer and live German dance performances. They welcome everyone to come enjoy their traditional hospitality.

International Bridge Walk
June 25, Sault Sainte Marie

Young and old, physically fit or fitness challenged, all enjoy the fantastic views that will last a lifetime on the bridge walk. Best of all, there’s no admission fee and no long waits. The walk steps off at 9:30am sharp. Not up to the walk? Join the bike parade that leaves LSSU at 8:30am. This event is sponsored by the International Bridge Authority and the Chamber of Commerce from both cities. Organizers remind walkers to bring a passport or other approved I.D. You must have transportation to get back across the bridge. Bus transportation is available to bring walkers from Mill Market in Sault St. Marie, Ontario back to the starting point.

Michigan Challenge Balloonfestballoonfest
June 24- 26, Howell

This fun event is the state championship of hot air ballooning in Howell. It’s a weekend full of high-flying fun for the whole family. Enjoy thrilling skydiving jumps, music, carnival, family entertainment and more. Don’t miss the fabulous balloon glow on Saturday evening and the MediLodge Fireworks on Friday night.

Best of Detroit Party
June 24, Detroit

Hour Detroit’s “Best of Detroit” party featuring the “Killer Flamingos” will bring its annual June issue to life, which announces the highly anticipated results of their annual readers’ survey. Guests will enjoy samplings of food from over 30 of the Best of Detroit-winning restaurants, plus fashion, music, luxury services, spirits, and more. Hour Detroit is the monthly city magazine metro Detroiters rely on for dynamic, award-winning coverage of issues and people affecting their lives, (as well as their source for enjoying the finer things in the region).

June 27-30

Michigan World Organization of China Painters: Annual Show & Sale
June 28-29, Frankenmuth

Join the Michigan World Organization of China Painters at Zehnder’s in downtown Frankenmuth at their Annual Show & Sale. Take time during your summer vacation to learn about the 3-4 fire technique used to produce the beautifully-decorated coffee mugs, vases, pitchers, jewelry, plates and other unique gift items available for sale. China painters will also have the rare opportunity to buy supplies directly from national vendors. Artists and vendors from around the state and country will demonstrate their skills in this art form and sell supplies.

Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival
June 29-July 3, Battle Creek

The Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival is an annual event located at the W.K. Kellogg Airport. Daily AM & PM Hot-Air Balloon launches will be a sight to see as well as awesome air show featuring military demonstrations and top-notched civilian performers; carnival rides and games; arts & crafts displays; food and novelty gift vendors, specialty displays; daily center stage entertainment, fabulous fireworks display, balloon night illumes; Kids Day with gifts and games; and much more family fun for everyone!

Camaro SuperfestCamaro Superfest
June 30-July 3, Ypsilanti

If you’re a car lover, you have to go to the 25th anniversary  of the Camaro Superfest! This is the longest running, largest all-Camaro event in the United States! The event is open to all Camaros, stock to highly-modified, trailered or driven.

Algonac Lions Pickerel Tournament & Festival
June 30-July 4, Algonac

Come to the Pickerel Tournament that will have family fun like a carnival midway, daily entertainment, games, vendors, food, raffle drawings, fishing contests, arts & crafts, children’s parade, festival parade, pickerel run/walk, bike race and more!

Did we miss your favorite June event? Name it below!

5 New Ways to Enjoy Traverse City This Summer

Even on vacation, you can get stuck in a rut.

Fortunately, up here in Traverse City there are so many different things to see, do and taste that there’s really no reason for doing the same thing over and over. There are new thrills in store for those who are willing to try something different. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Watch the sunset from a kayak.

Summer sunsets are part of Traverse City’s magic, whether you watch them from your hotel balcony, the top of a sand dune or a lonely Lake Michigan beach. But one of the most beautiful ways to enjoy the lovely colors of sundown, the deep hues of twilight and the wonder of a star-dusted night is from the cockpit of a kayak as it knifes its silent way through the dark water of Grand Traverse Bay.

Photo Courtesy of Northern Swag

The ladies at Paddle Away Tours have years of experience leading small groups of kayakers on sunset, moonrise and starlight excursions in the waters of Bowers Harbor and Power Island.

2. Explore a Shipwreck.

There are dozens of shipwrecks lying in the crystal-clear waters near Traverse City – schooners, steamships, freighters and tugs. Some are in deep waters and can only be reached by experienced scuba divers – but a surprising number can easily be reached from shore, and all you need is a pair of fins and a mask.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

The 160-foot wooden steamer Three Brothers and the 246-foot freighter Francisco Morazan, the Rising Sun and the skeletal remains of the 124-foot schooner Metropolis are all within easy reach of the adventurous snorkeler!

3. Do a Microdistillery Tasting

Traverse City is already well-known for the quality of its wines and its craft brewing scene. But if you’ve already done the wine trail route or the brew trail route — or if you’re just not the wine or beer-drinking type — there IS a third alternative. Traverse City is blessed with several fine microdistilleries that produce a bewildering array of brandies, vodkas, whiskeys, gins and other spirits – and putting together a tour of these places can be lots of fun as well as a great learning experience.

4. Walk, bike or skate the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

The Traverse City area is well-known for its many hiking, cycling and skiing trails, but one of the most exciting ones is still being built. It’s the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, a paved pathway that allows cyclists, strollers, wheelchair pilots, in-line skaters and others to reach the highlights of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Right now the pathway is 13 miles long. When completed it will stretch 27 miles, from the northern end of the park to Manning Road, just south of Empire.

 5. Play a Round of FootGolf

Ever hear of FootGolf? This challenging hybrid between golf and soccer, where players try to sink regulation-size soccer balls in 21-inch holes with as few “strokes” as possible, is now being played at Elmbrook Golf Course in Traverse City and The Summit at Shanty Creek Resorts.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

The game is great fun, and its basic rules are like those of golf: the first shot at each hole has to be taken from the tee, and players must play past the usual array of bunkers, trees, water hazards and hills. Get your “team” together and try it!

Which of these Traverse City activities have you tried? Share with us in the comments!

Mike Norton spent 25 years as a newspaper writer and columnist before starting a second career as media relations manager at Traverse City Tourism. An avid cyclist, kayaker and hiker, he lives in the village of Old Mission.