Crystal Mountain Resort - Betsie Valley: #12Betsie Valley Course at Crystal Mountain Resort

Betsie Valley Course at Crystal Mountain Resort
12500 Crystal Mountain Dr
Thompsonville, Michigan 49683
Benzie County

Phone(s): (844) 254-0011, (231) 378-2911
Fax: (231) 378-4757

Crystal Mountain boasts two championship golf courses with completely different layouts, but both have a four-star rating from Golf Digest. Both courses take advantage of a different aspect of the beautiful landscape. The Mountain Ridge Course, as its name implies, is routed through densely wooded hills, while the Betsie Valley Course plays across grassy meadows accented with ponds and creeks. Betsie Valley is slightly less demanding than the other course but it is still a challenge. The fairways are lined with towering pines and mature hardwoods and strategically placed bunkers fiercely guard the greens. Water hazards also come into play on nine holes. It is an enjoyable golf course to walk with plenty of trees to provide shade and colorful wildflowers to add a bright accent. The popular courses have made Crystal Mountain one of northern Michigan's premier golf destinations.

Betsie Valley Course at Crystal Mountain Resort
4.5 stars out of 5 (based on 2 reviews)
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Aerial view of the 12th green from Betsie Valley - Crystal Mountain ResortAerial view from Crystal Mountain Resort.View of the 8th green from Betsie Valley - Crystal Mountain ResortView from the 4th tee box at Betsie Valley - Crystal Mountain ResortAerial view of the 4th green from Betsie Valley - Crystal Mountain ResortView of the 4th green from Betsie Valley - Crystal Mountain ResortAerial view of the 4th green from Betsie Valley - Crystal Mountain ResortA view from Crystal Mountain Resort - Betsie ValleyView from the 1st tee box at Betsie Valley - Crystal Mountain Resort

Golf course details

  • Holes: 18
  • Designed by: Bob Meyer
  • Public/Private: Resort
  • Year opened: 1965
  • Golf Season: Open: 4/15 Closed: 10/15
  • Guest Policy: Open
  • Tee times welcomed: Yes
  • Fairways: Blue Grass
  • Greens: Bent Grass


  • Pro in house: Yes
  • Driving range: Yes
  • Rental clubs: Yes
  • Rental carts: Yes - included in green fees

Green fees price ranges

  • Week days: $40 - $60
  • Weekends: $45 - $65

Course policies

  • Metal spikes allowed: No
  • Dress code: Appropriate golf attire
  • Credit cards accepted: VISA, MasterCard, Amex, Discover Welcomed

Length, slope and rating for each tee

Tee Par Yardage Slope Rating
White 72 5946 134 68.8
White (W) 72 5946 139 74.6
White/Green 72 5716 122 68.1
Blue 72 6575 136 72.2
Green 72 5397 120 66.8
White/Green (W) 72 5716 136 73.7
Green (W) 72 5425 130 71.8
Red 72 4939 106 64.3
Red (W) 72 4986 121 69.5
Gold 72 2973 0 0

Reader Ratings / Reviews

  • Betsie Valley Course at Crystal Mountain Resort
    4.5 stars out of 5
    by The Golfin' Guy
    on January 12th, 2024 11:03
    Depending on your perspective – or favorite season – Crystal Mountain is either a ski resort with 59 well-groomed downhill runs or a golf resort with 36 holes of championship golf. Yet, regardless of the season, it’s one of Northern Michigan’s best resorts.

    Crystal Mountain has the most unique history of any resort I have ever written about. It began as a school project when a geography teacher at Benzonia High School tasked his students to find the best place in Benzie County, MI to start a ski area. After much research and debate the class determined the Buck Hills Range offered the best combination of terrain and snowfall.

    The Buck Hills Ski Area became a reality in 1956 with a rope tow powered by an old pick-up truck engine and a warming hut built with donated lumber. In 1960, Buck Hills became Crystal Mountain Resort when it was purchased by 96 shareholders, many of whom had homes nearby. The new owners made many substantial upgrades including a new lodge with dining and 21 rooms for overnight guests.

    By 1966, ownership had dwindled to a small handful of owners who realized that the best way for the resort to be profitable was to make it a year-round destination. Fast forward to 1981 and sole ownership of Crystal Mountain came down to the flip of a coin between George Petritz and Robert Meyer. Crystal Mountain has been owned by the Petritz family ever since.

    Golf entered the equation at Crystal Mountain in 1977 with the opening of the Betsie Valley golf course. Mountain Ridge followed in 1995. Both Betsie Valley and Mountain Ridge have received the prestigious 4-star rating from Golf Digest Magazine and are members of America's Summer Golf Capital, a collection of resort properties that feature 26 golf courses across northern Michigan. Both courses play out of the same clubhouse, which features a well-stocked pro shop, The Thistle restaurant and bar, and an outdoor patio complete with a bar, grill, and oftentimes live music.

    Before your round, be sure to visit Crystal Mountain’s 10-acre learning center and practice facility. You’ll find a targeted grass range, along with a short game area featuring chipping and putting greens complete with sand bunkers for practicing. Everything you need for a quick tune-up before heading to the first tee! The Learning Center is also home to Crystal Mountain Golf School, which has been recognized as one of the best golf schools by Golf Digest. They feature a variety of single or multi-day lesson options including private, group, women-only, and juniors.

    Since opening in 1977, the Betsie Valley course has received many upgrades, most recently from the summer of 2021 to the spring of 2022. Renovations included widening the fairways, building new tee boxes, a forestry management project to clear out brush, redesigned cart paths, and more. Even with all of these changes, the course still retains its original character and is now more playable than ever before.

    Betsie Valley is spread across the rolling terrain which is blanketed in mature forests of pine and hardwoods. Water comes into play on several holes, and although there are only a few bunkers on the entire course, the majority of golfers tend to find at least one during their rounds. The tight, tree-lined fairways are often accented with wildflowers and lead to small, severely sloped greens making Betsie Valley is more of a shot-maker’s course. Golfers are welcome to walk or ride the course.

    Both nines start with short but challenging par fives. The first hole plays 462 yards with water on either side of the landing area off the tee, so accuracy is required right off the bat. It’s a double dogleg and requires three good shots in a row to get on the green. Most players will opt to layup rather than try to get on in two as the fairway gets very narrow the closer you get to the green. The green is guarded by water on the right and fescue grass to the left.

    Remember those “few bunkers” I mentioned? Two of them are located just right of the 7th green, which is bad news for most golfers. It’s a short, 129-yard par 3 with a narrow approach that feeds errant tee shots right of the green and into those bunkers!

    You may think that the 10th hole is a short par 5, at only 444 yards, but as you stand on the tee box studying the dramatic uphill nature of the hole, all of a sudden 444 yards isn’t short anymore! In fact, it may play up to 75 yards longer! It’s a dogleg right that just seems to keep on turning, and with trees lining both sides of the fairway, it emphasizes shot control over distance.

    When it comes to accommodations, Crystal Mountain has the widest variety of any golf or ski resort—everything from hotel-style rooms that sleep two or four guests to mountainside homes that sleep up to 14. There are bungalows and cottages to choose from; all are equipped with everything you’ll need during your visit and, if you need something, just ask. They have the politest staff I have ever met. Visit the website for a complete rundown of everything they offer, including a long list of houseguest perks.

    Crystal Mountain offers several dining alternatives from pizza and subs at Betsie River Pizza to casual fine dining at The Thistle. As its name implies, this Scottish-themed venue has something for everyone. It’s best described as come-as-you-are fine dining. The menu is eclectic with everything from burgers and fries to Cornish hen and rack of lamb. Breakfast is served daily at the Wild Tomato with just about any breakfast food you can think of. They also serve lunch and dinner. During the winter, Wild Tomato adds several “igloos” to their property where you can enjoy a cocktail and shareables outside under the twinkling lights of the Michigan sky.
  • Betsie Valley Course at Crystal Mountain Resort
    4 stars out of 5
    by Alex Primeau
    on May 23rd, 2023 10:18
    Once a very challenging course, the recent renovations have made it more playable than ever! The course is fun, clean, scenic with wild flowers, ponds and wildlife, and very picturesque. If you really want to prove your skills, play the whole thing with a 7-iron!
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