Grand Times Golfing at Grand Traverse Resort

Guest writer Tom Lang, publisher and managing editor of MI Golf Journal, shows all there is to do during a summer getaway to Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in northwest Michigan.

Two women golfing near a pond
The Wolverine Golf Course | Photo Courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

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Frequently my wife makes the comment that she knows it’s finally summertime when there is a June trip to Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Our family has made many excursions to the northern Michigan jewel, dating back to a family reunion in the year 2000.

While reunions and business conferences are very common for the special Traverse City location, more often summer trips are made by golfers. Grand Traverse Resort is the home of three high-level and challenging golf courses, with none like the other and each uniquely stationed out of one clubhouse.

Built to be the toughest golf course in the state in 1985, Jack Nicklaus’ The Bear is joined by Spruce Run (1979) and the Gary Player designed The Wolverine (1999).

“We’ve been doing group trips for men, women and couples for decades, and what we have to offer is the three great golf courses. They are all completely different courses and challenges, but all based out of the same clubhouse,” said Tom McGee, Director of Golf Operations. “It’s so convenient. When groups arrive, they drop off their clubs and never have to move them again, nor take them to their rooms or car. They can walk just 400 yards to the main hotel entrance. If they are playing 36 holes in one day, they don’t have to drive to another facility or clubhouse.”

A golf course with a pond in the middle
The Bear Golf Course | Photo Courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

NBC GolfPass raters voted Grand Traverse Resort as the No. 8 best resort for golf in the U.S. in 2023, in part for its convenient proximity to other attractions and activities off the course: ‘being just minutes from downtown Traverse City's breweries, Grand Traverse Bay's beaches, the Leelanau Peninsula's wineries and its sister casino property.’ 

There’s exciting nightlight entertainment a short drive from the resort at Turtle Creek Casino, as well as the vibrant downtown of Traverse City on Grand Traverse Bay. The region is also known for its incredible array of wineries, especially on the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas. If you’re looking for some relaxation onsite at the resort, book an appointment at the Spa Grand Traverse which offers a variety of rejuvenating packages and services.

Midweek days (Monday through Thursday) offer Unlimited Golf Packages, which include unlimited golf if you pick a package of lodging and golf. “You can play as many rounds as you want to, all free replays, during mid-week,” McGee said.

Mark Hill, Director of Instruction at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, mentioned that women are getting into the game more as an activity to do with their friends or partners. With more lessons, clinics and events being offered, women of all skill levels can pick up a club and get out on the course and be a part of the 1 million-plus women nationwide to have taken up the game in recent years.

2023 Hotel Renovation

Interior of a hotel suite with a King size bed
King Bed Suite | Photo Courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

The resort’s original six-story hotel opened in 1980 and underwent a $10.5 million renovation in 2023 with the work done entirely by Michigan companies.

“We brought the beauty of northern Michigan into the rooms while also celebrating our owners, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians, with artwork and décor,” said General Manager Matthew Bryant.

I stayed in the revitalized hotel twice in 2023 and had a great experience. Just rearranging some aspects of the former rooms provided a greater sense of open space and comfort.

For current golf rates or to reserve a tee time, call 231-534-6000, visit the Pro Shop or book online.

About the Author: Tom Lang is a 30-year veteran sports contributor to the Detroit Free Press, during which he has covered the golf scene and more in Michigan. Since 2018, Lang has produced the monthly MI Golf Journal, Michigan's No. 1 voted golf media outlet and is free online at