Michigan Golf Courses Prepare for the Summer Season Ahead (Plus a Giveaway!)

With more than 800 public golf courses surrounded by lush natural beauty and the Great Lakes, Michigan is a perfect summer golf destination! To get ready for summer golf season, we spoke with Janina Parrott Jacobs to learn more about how Michigan courses are preparing for the busy season ahead after our record-breaking winter. Plus, learn how you can win tickets to the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores!

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

In golf, records are made to be broken. Usually, we’re not referring to the weather. Mother Nature busted the all-time snowfall record on Tax Day 2014, when a couple inches dusted the Detroit metro area, bringing totals above 94 inches. For northern Michigan folks, that’s child’s play, and exactly why you may be able to visit northern courses earlier than some southern state locales. Here’s why: the thaw-freeze cycle. When the ground freezes and snow falls, the snow provides a cushion for the grass. If it’s cold all winter, the ground is protected. However, if there’s a thaw – even a brief one – followed by an ice storm that coats the ground with snow on top of that, the grass is deprived of oxygen and ‘suffocates’ under the ice layer. Grasses can only handle this condition for 60-90 days depending on species, until they start to die, resulting in disease and bare spots.

According to Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s Public Relations Director J. Michael DeAgostino, “we cannot put golf maintenance equipment on the courses until the frost is out of the ground and the turf is firm enough to support the equipment without tires sinking into it. So far, the greens on our courses look great but there is some winter damage to fairways and tees. GTR has already staged staggered openings of all three courses, Spruce Run, Wolverine, and The Bear.

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Photo courtesy of Tullymore Golf Resort

Farther downstate, Tullymore Resort, near Mt. Pleasant, normally has lake-effect snowfall providing a happy medium between heavier mixes up north and lighter precipitation in the Detroit metro area. According to Alex Greenacre, Director of Golf Course Maintenance, the resort’s two courses, Tullymore and St. Ives, came through basically unscathed, with snowfall in the ‘high normal range.’ “This year’s winter was different; we never received a large rainfall or warm days to melt any snow, which resulted in heavy amounts of drift areas that were more prone to disease – but these are actually in the rough and only superficial. Our greens, tees, and fairways were 99.9% unaffected.”

However, it’s not as if courses don’t prepare for winter’s bite. Typically, they’re treated chemically in the fall and this prevents winter damage and snow mold. The Grande Golf Club in Jackson, which opened in early April, annually spends about $4,000 to apply the anti-mold chemical, according to General Manager Brian Roberts. “It’s not fun to spend that much money going into the off-season….but you’ll really pick out the courses that didn’t use it.”

Golf-in-MichiganSo what does this mean for golfers itching to get out and play? Before planning golf trips, call first, even into May and June. And consider hoofing it: with wet conditions, courses will let walkers out sooner than carts. High school golf teams and league players are mostly affected because they begin play earlier in the season. For organizations conducting tournaments whose dates have been in place for months, there could be a concern. Michigan PGA Executive Director Kevin Helm said, “there are some facilities in the Detroit area that have been hit pretty hard. We didn’t start our schedule until the last Monday in April, so it is hard to say how our events may be affected; but at least we have not heard from any of our host sites saying we have a major problem.”

One important event happening regardless of weather is the Michigan Women’s Golf Association’s Legacy and Lifetime Achievement Awards golf celebration honoring three legendary Michigan women who have impacted golf for decades on Monday, May 19, 2014 at Travis Pointe CC in Ann Arbor.

Also, the Bogey Golf Tour, the ‘premier tour for the average golfer’ which hosts events in southeast Michigan and across the border in southwest Ontario, is already off and running with five events scheduled in May.

Finally, the Senior PGA Championship will be teeing off at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor May 22 – 25, 2014. Read below to find out how you can win free tickets to the event on the Pure Michigan Facebook page!

FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY: Do you want to score free tickets to the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor? Head to our Pure Michigan Facebook page and simply tell us in the comments section why you want to attend the Senior PGA Championship. We’ll randomly select five lucky winners to win two tickets to the event. To be eligible, submit your comments by this Friday, May 16th at 12:oo p.m. EST. We’ll  follow up with our winners via Facebook on Friday afternoon.

Janina-Jacobs-headshot-224x300Janina 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.