Escape this Summer
While snowbirds flock to Florida in the winter to escape harsh northern winters it’s only fair Floridians return the favor by visiting cool and lush northern destinations to escape summer’s heat.
Northern Michigan is the perfect place to cool off, kick back and enjoy unhurried and uncrowded high class golf and other delights amid northern forests and lakes.
The big player in Northern Michigan is Boyne who own and operate three destination resorts that encompass 10 golf courses.
Boyne Highlands, a winter ski resort, kicked off the area’s golf boom in 1966 with the opening of the Robert Trent Jones, Sr Heather Course, a storied layout with all of the master architect’s design features coming into play. Bold fairways, large bunkering and forced carries over water make this a true Jones layout.
Boyne Highlands offers three more courses, each with distinct personalities and sets of challenges.
The Arthur Hills Course is a revelation and one of the master architect’s finest designs. The inventive variety of holes and the different looks on green complexes make this a grand mix of beauty, pleasure and challenge. The spectacular 577 yard downhill par 5-13th hole is one of the most exhilarating golf holes you will ever play.
A truly unique offering is the Donald Ross Memorial which is a recreation of Ross’s 18 greatest holes. This isn’t just a random collection of holes, but a cohesive golf course, so much so that Golf Digest named it Best New Resort Course in 1990. Two of the holes are from North Palm Beach’s Seminole (6th and 15th) while others are from the likes of Pinehurst, Oakland Hills, Oak Hill, Scioto and Inverness.
The Moor is another Hills design at Boyne Highlands that is a favorite of the members. It features wider fairways and clearer entries into greens making it more playable for seniors, women and children.
The Inn at Bay Harbor
If you are looking for a top of the line fully immersed guest experience look no further than the Inn at Bay Harbor located on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay.
Built in the style of turn-of-the-century grand lakehouse hotels the Inn at Bay Harbor offers that ambiance with fully modern amenities. With 128 guest rooms including suites and one, two and for bedroom units settling in for a multi-day stay is easily done.
And settle in you will want to do with the Inn at Bay Harbors golf opportunities and with 45 holes of spectacular golf you may need to stay awhile to get the full experience.
The Bay Harbor Golf Club features three nine-hole routings designed by Arthur Hills-The Links, The Quarry and The Preserve. From the high bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, down to the lake shore, through deep woods and around abandoned shale quarries, playing these 27 holes golfers get to experience the full range of the areas environmental beauty. All Golf Digest has to say is that Bay Harbor is one of “The 100 Greatest Courses You Can Play.”
Sitting a bit inland but still offering lake views from the bluffs is the 18-hole Crooked Tree Golf Club that Hills has reworked recently to make it more playable and to maximize the incorporation of old growth trees that line the fairways.
Similar to Boyne Highlands as a winter ski resort turned summer golf resort Boyne Mountain has it’s own distinct personality. From it’s modern Bavarian style lodge to the old school park and beach at Deer Lake, Boyne Highlands harkens back the good old days of relaxing summer resorts.
Boyne Highlands feature two 18-hole golf courses that are each a joy to play.
Starting at the top-literally The Alpine’s first tee requires a mile long ride to the top of Boyne Mountain where golfers are treated to a long range view over the golf course towards Deer Lake. With wide fairways winding through field and forest The Alpine is just a pleasure to play.
The Monument is designed borrowing design features from the games legendary designers such as Donald Ross, Dr Alister Mackenzie, Robert Trent Jones, George Fazio and Pete Dye. This golf course will be a complete exam of your game that will require all the shots and the use of every club in your bag.
If your game isn’t quite up to the test you may want to take advantage of the Boyne Golf Academy led by dynamic PGA instructors Mike Fay and Jeff Roth, who in his long career has 70 professional victories and played in 19 major championships.