Must play, must stay: Five northern Michigan resorts for a jam-packed golf trip
GAYLORD, Mich. - Few areas in the world have such a massive amount of quality golf as in northern Michigan, from Gaylord to Traverse City and north to the Petoskey area around Little Traverse Bay.
Among the hundreds of golf courses are a handful of mighty golf resorts with plenty of top-shelf golf at their disposal. These resorts are your best bet for finding great deals on stay-and-play packages, afternoon replay rates and unlimited golf specials - all essential during Michigan's long summer days.
Each of the following five resorts feature numerous accommodation options, corporate and group facilities and three or more championship courses, as well as proper practice centers and golf schools.
Treetops Resort in Gaylord
As the resort's title implies, at Treetops, which doubles as a ski resort in the winter, you'll be soaking in the forest views from scores of elevated tees on each of it's four championship golf courses, including the only Tom Fazio-designed golf course in Michigan, The Premier, as well as two courses by Rick Smith and the original Masterpiece, built by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1986.
As a bonus, Threetops, the nine-hole par-3 course, as well as the 18-hole "Himalayas" putting course make for quick after-dinner betting options.
Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs
Boyne's top golf facility, Boyne Highlands, serves up four 18-hole courses, but is also a short drive to nearby Boyne Mountain's two courses, along with two more across Little Traverse Bay, including spectacular Bay Harbor overlooking Lake Michigan.
The Boyne Highlands facility does variety better than any other resort in the north, starting with the Heather course, an RTJ Sr. classic design, then the more modern Arthur Hills course and even a Donald Ross Memorial course.
Grand Traverse Resort near Traverse City
The 17-story glass building glimmers in the northern Michigan sun like it's a Vegas-style resort, and boasts nationally-recognized fine dining and spa amenities - plus, it's a five-minute shuttle ride to Turtle Creek Casino.
Grand Traverse Resort's three golf courses are highlighted by the Bear course, which makes no apologies as arguably northern Michigan's toughest golf course and a regular host to the Michigan Open. Gary Player complements Jack's test with a more playable Wolverine design, plus a third, Spruce Run, the resort's original course (that's been tweaked through the years) that is shorter and less expensive.
Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire
Sporting new ownership and extensive renovations to its facilities and courses, Shanty Creek is rightfully a major player in Northern Michigan golf once again.
The best golf course of the four at Shanty Creek Resorts is the Tom Weiskopf-designed Cedar River course, while Arnold Palmer's Legend course is a solid second fiddle. Two older generation golf courses, Schuss and Summit round out the offerings as value plays.
Shanty Creek puts you right in the heart of Bellaire, an unassuming village with not only the four Shanty Creek courses, but Hawk's Eye, a northern Michigan favorite right around the corner, and it's sister golf course, The Chief.
Garland Resort in Lewiston
The phrase "team bonding" would be especially relevant at this quintessential northern Michigan wilderness retreat. Highlighted by the Fountains course, the four championship golf courses at Garland Resort, with four tee boxes all within a few hundred yards of each other, aren't built by a big-name designer. Rather, they're the design of the current owner of this family-run resort, Ron Otto, and are set through thick forest and around a splattering of lakes and ponds.
October 23, 2009