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.

 

Growing the Golf Game in Michigan

Growing the golf game is a hot topic around the country, and many courses and groups in Michigan are doing their part to introduce the sport in new ways. Today, Janina Parrott Jacobs gives us an inside look at what opportunities are available for getting involved in the golf community.

For more on golfing in Michigan, visit michigan.org or take a look at our video on golf from the Pure Michigan summer video series.

Family golf at Shanty Creek Resort

With over 850 public facilities ready and waiting to serve all golfers regardless of experience, Michigan is in a prime position to show new members of the golf community what the sport has to offer.

Despite gorgeous surroundings, golf can be a difficult sport. That’s why new programs at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire are attracting major attention – especially for beginners and juniors.  How much fun would it be to putt at 8-inch cups, almost double the size of the current 4 and ½ inch hole?  From shorter tees?  The great Jack Nicklaus himself is promoting this type of participation, through recommendations for 12-hole rounds, larger cups, and Tee-It-Forward initiatives. Shanty has created a new set of forward tees ranging from 95-125 yards at its Summit course, which is already attracting entire families.

One of the first resorts in America to adopt such a permanent program, Director of Golf and PGA Professional Brian Kautz noted, “We have four golf courses at our resort, so this was the perfect opportunity to convert one of them to implement this program.”  To encourage more children, women, and families to play there this season, children 17 and under can golf for free on the Summit and Schuss Mountain courses with a paying adult all week. Kids can also play free on the Arnold Palmer designed Legend and Tom Weiskopf’s Cedar River layout on Sundays after 2 p.m. Visit www.shantycreek.com for more details.

Traveling to southwest Michigan, in Centreville, Island Hills has multiple loops of 5, 7, or 12 holes within their traditional 18-hole routing, depending upon the time of day. This stunning course, carved from hills and the peninsulas around Lake Templene, is ideal for golfers who do not have the time, stamina, or money for a full round. Junior programs abound and kids 13 and under play for free with a paying adult. Don’t miss lunch or dinner: the food is superb and goes far beyond normal 19th Hole Grill offerings.

At Treetops Resort, a member of the Gaylord Golf Mecca, the First Annual Women’s Golf Festival runs from August 11-15. Women can create their own free-form daily or multiple day package of lodging, golf, lessons, demos, pro tips, spa treatments, and more….all at discounted rates. Spouses and kids are welcome too. See WGF.treetops.com for details.

Other grow-the-game efforts around the state include Play Golf America’s ‘Get Golf Ready’ clinics which are designed to teach you everything you need to know to step onto a golf course with confidence…all five lessons range from $70-$100. Topics are: Get Rolling, Hit It Close, Swing, Swing, Swing, Driving School, and Ready, Set, Go Golf; many sessions are available through October so it’s not too late to begin. See getgolfready.com for site information.  All equipment is supplied; just bring yourself, friends, or family.

TGA Premier Junior Golf in southeast Michigan is a youth development golf program for PK-8th grade students which takes place primarily at elementary schools and youth centers. TGA’s curriculum was created by golf professionals and education experts to include lesson plans that are fun, safe and educational, utilizing fields, blacktops, gyms and even hallways.

According to Owner and Territory Director Dave Robinson, formerly a 22-year Detroit Free Press editor, “the kids are inspired most by the magic of being on a real golf course during our summer camps. They enjoy learning fundamentals, rules and etiquette in our after-school classes and during the instructional part of camp. But they are truly excited to be on the course.”  By partnering with Michigan golf facilities, TGA then gets the whole family involved through mom classes and parent/child events using the following components:

  • Golf instruction that is age-appropriate, effective and retainable
  • Character development lessons through our initiative “Play the Fair Way with TGA”
  • Physical education and fitness
  • Rules & Etiquette lessons utilizing our custom 2 Hole Teaching Aid
  • Academic lessons in math, science, history and English

Now at 75 locations with fall, winter and spring classes, summer camps are conducted at eight courses including Salem Hills, Heather Highlands, Downing FarmsSycamore Hills, and Glen Oaks. More local information is available at playtga.com.  Franchises throughout the state are also open for development. The program’s national link is www.golftga.com.

The Michigan Golf Course Owners Association is committed to maintaining great golf courses but its members are also consistently improving opportunities for play.  The Golden Passbook, offers free golf for 2-4 players at 88 top courses in Michigan along with other discounts on lodging and services. Many of these courses are highly rated in Golf Digest, GolfWeek, and Golf Magazine: Yarrow, Marsh Ridge, A Ga Ming, Michaywe, Manistee National, Black Forest, Island Hills, Grande Golf Club, Fox Hills, the Grand Hotel, Shanty Creek, Treetops, Hidden River Golf and Casting Club, Westwynd, Buck’s Run, Boyne, Gull Lake View, Red Hawk, The Fortress, St. Ives, McGuire’s, and more.  With another three good months of golf left, buy the Passbook now for $300 (regular price $550).  Go to mgcoa.org or call Executive Director Kate Moore at 800-860-8575.

Will you be taking advantage of one (or more) of these Michigan golf opportunities? Share with us below!

Janina 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, www.janinajacobs.com, 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. Contact Janina at Jjacobs2456@gmail.com.

Get Your Golf Game in Shape in Pure Michigan

Michigan golf is better than ever. From golf magazine rankings to People’s Choice Awards, Michigan is consistently named among the best places in the country to play golf. Whether you’re an experienced golfer looking to improve or a beginner looking to explore, there are plenty of ways to work on your game.

Learn about these opportunities from Janina Parrott Jacobs below and check out our video on golf from the Pure Michigan summer video series to see more.

For more information on golfing in Michigan or to plan your summer vacation, visit michigan.org.

Pure Michigan’s stellar golf courses are much more fun to play when your game is in shape.  Michigan’s status as a top golf state also includes quality golf schools, clinics, and events conducted by talented teaching professionals from all over the U.S. Statistically, tour players take anywhere from 6 to 30 lessons annually to keep their games sharp.  Most recreational golfers take none and it’s the one fix that could help the most. New golf clubs offer hope, but without proper guidance, the same swing problems haunt you.

If your game needs assistance, here are some opportunities:

Saturday, June 8: PGA Professional Brad Patterson will solve your swing problems, including simple putting fixes and ‘losing a slice in 3 balls’.  Two sessions offered at 10am and noon at Midway Sports, 22381 Van Born Rd. in Taylor MI, 48180. Call Brad directly at 315-405-5756. or visit the website. Cost is $30.

Saturday, June 8:  British Golf Professional Trevor Parkinson conducts a Demo Day featuring celebrated custom fitted Miura clubs at Greystone Golf Club, 67500 Mound Rd. in Washington, MI from 1 to 4pm.  Consider twilight play to tackle three difficult finishing holes meandering around a large rock quarry. Call 248-651-9580 or visit mwgolfclubs.com.

Sunday, June 9: Nationally recognized LPGA Professionals Teresa Zamboni, Lynn Stellman, and PGA Host Professional Barry Pearce will headline a Ladies Links Fore Golf (LL4G)Fun Day’ clinic and 9-hole playing lesson at Brentwood Golf Club, 2450 Havenwood, White Lake, MI 48383. 8:30 registration, with clinic at 9am, golf at 10:30 and lunch following. Costs are $90 – $105 and all skill levels are welcome.  Visit LL4G.com or call 248-684-2662.

Monday, June 10: Golf Legend Nancy Lopez visits Michigan to share her expertise as she headlines the Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals 2013 Macomb Golf Classic at the Donald Ross-designed Detroit Golf Club.  Participants will attend a morning golf clinic taught by Nancy and other members of Ladies Links Fore Golf (LL4G). On-course instruction, autographed pictures, and video of the complete day will be provided as well as lunch and dinner. For information, contact Tina Lavinio-Mattinen at 586-263-2968 or cmattin8@hfhs.org, or visit the website.

If you can’t make it to the events listed above, there are some excellent golf schools at great courses around the state to check out:

The acclaimed Kendall Golf Academy, based at Ypsilanti’s Miles of Golf, will conduct golf schools at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon and Tullymore Golf Resort in Stanwood.  Top state PGA professionals Dave Kendall, Frank McAuliffe, and Hall of Fame members Jack Seltzer and Lynn Janson will teach nulti-day schools along with one-day schools June – August. Package rates are $595 to $1195, lodging included, for the multi-day schools. For registration at Forest Dunes, call 855-275-1222 or visit forestdunesgolf.com. At Tullymore, call Scot Cucksey at 800-972-4837, ext. 251 or visit tullymoregolf.com. For the Kendall Academy, call 734-645-2322.

The Rick Smith/Jason Guss Golf Academy at Treetops in Gaylord: Nationally renowned instructor and principal Treetops owner Rick Smith hosts a world class learning center which has made GOLF Magazine’s Top 25 Golf Schools in America rankings an unprecedented three times. Swing methods come and go but the major philosophy here is clear communication, quality instruction, and individualized attention.  When ‘school’ lets out, 81 holes’ worth of fun begins, including the Fazio and Smith courses, also in GolfWeek’s Top Courses You Can Play’. Treetops hosted The Golf Channel’s inaugural ‘Big Break’ series; Threetops was the site for the ‘Par-3 Shootout at Treetops Resort’ featuring golf greats Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples, and Lee Trevino, who aced the 7th hole, winning $1,000,000. For information on Smith, Jason Guss, and all programs, including a ‘Ladies-Only’ 4 day instructional retreat, visit treetops.com or call 989-731-8485.

Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs and Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls’ complete play-and-stay instructional facilities feature six 18-hole championship courses and a lighted 9-hole Executive Course.  A wide variety of learning options are available: Nike Junior Golf Academy, BOYNE Golf Academy, Ladies-Only instruction packages, High School Coaching Academy, and Precision Fit Golf, which features custom fitting, repair, and launch monitor analysis. For details, see boyne.com or call 1-800-462-6963.

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s programs are led by Director of Instruction Scott Hebert, a six-time Michigan Open Champion. Three courses, with views of the bay test what you’ve learned: Jack Nicklaus’ tough layout ‘The Bear’; Gary Player’s ‘The Wolverine’ and the original ‘Spruce Run’, re-designed by former U of M golf coach Bill Newcomb.  Choose from year-round offerings of multi-day golf schools, public clinics, junior camps and clinics, Ladies-Only schools, Team Builds, corporate clinics, and indoor league play on GC2-powered Golf Simulators.  For details, visit grandtraverseresort.com or call 1-800-236-1577.

Crystal Mountain Resort, also on GOLF Magazine’s Top-25 list, conducts over 100 clinics and schools targeted toward all skill levels. Former MI PGA Professional of the Year and Director of Golf Brad Dean has the knack for presenting difficult concepts in a manner that is easily understood; his skilled staff of professional have earned a myriad of teaching awards.  Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the resort’s signature course, the Bill Newcomb-crafted Mountain Ridge.  Owners Chris and Jim MacInnes invite you to enjoy Special Anniversary Rates of $20 per player, including cart and use of the practice range on: Tuesday, May 28; Friday, June 28; Sunday, July 14; Wednesday, August 28; Thursday, September 5; Wednesday, October 9.  Call the Pro Shop at 800-968-7686, ext. 4000 or visit crystalmountain.com.

Will you be working on your golf game in Michigan this summer? Share with us below!

Janina 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, www.janinajacobs.com, 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. Contact Janina at Jjacobs2456@gmail.com.