February 3, 2014
By Brandon T.
Northern Michigan is one of America’s great summer getaways with a variety of destinations golfers can enjoy. Michigan native and GolfChannel.com travel section managing editor Brandon Tucker drew up his ideal itinerary for a long weekend to help you plan a trip this year.
The best thing about Little Traverse Bay and the towns that wrap around it, Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs, is you can see a great mix of golf courses, from classic to modern, forest and seaside, without spending too much time in the car or the need to change your home base.
On day one, start up in Charlevoix and walk 18 holes on Belvedere Golf Club, a Willie Watson design that dates back to 1927 and remains a great walk to this day. Nearby is one of my other favorite lesser-known courses in the north and a great bargain, Dunmaglas Golf Club, which is set on a remarkable piece of 800 rolling acres that offer a mix of forest and open holes.
On day two, play Bay Harbor Golf Club. Heck, why not book the first tee time of the day and play all 27 holes twice? The summer days are that long up here, and you’ll want to be out on the bayside holes in the evening sun for the best scenery.
For day three, head east along Bay View Road towards Harbor Springs, and you’ll come to Boyne Highlands Resort. Go old school and enlist in a caddie on the Heather, a classic but still plenty tough Robert Trent Jones Sr. design. In the afternoon, you’ll have to decide between the Donald Ross Memorial or the Arthur Hills Course, each of which have their own selling points. The Hills boasts the best elevated tee shot at Boyne, but I favor the classical stylings of Memorial.
On day four, head a couple miles outside Boyne’s entrance to Jim Engh-designed True North Golf Club. It’s still one of the more under-played courses in the area, which means a good chance of open fairways ahead of you and great conditions (as I enjoyed on my round there). If you want to play an afternoon round, there are scores of affordable local tracks that you’ve probably never heard of. Try Little Traverse Bay Golf Club – a course I’ve yet to make it to but gets great word-of-mouth.
For lodging, you can stay-and-play in style at the Inn at Bay Harbor or find more affordable accommodations at four-course Boyne Highlands Resort. Or, once I stayed at a charming little hotel on the shores of the Little Traverse Bay, Stafford’s Bay View Inn.
As a bonus, if you end up driving back towards Chicago, stop off at Tullymore Golf Club, another Engh design set in forested meadows that has phenomenal hole variety. If you’re headed back towards Detroit, visit Forest Dunes, a Tom Weiskopf design that blends a mix of forest and dunes. Both are Top 100 worthy and offer yet another style of golf you can enjoy in the north.
Featured image courtesy of Little Traverse City Bay Golf Club