It won’t be long now and Canadians too can enjoy the Boyne sunshine!
by Carl Michelson
Pondering the natural scenic splendor of northern Michigan and how to describe it adequately, I’m reminded of a standout line from an early season of Mad Men: “You have everything…and so much of it.” From mile after mile of humbling beautiful Lake Michigan coastline to towering sand dunes, from idyllic small towns to deep hardwood forests, from vast serene lakes and meandering rivers to breathtaking elevations and long summer days, northern Michigan is as uncannily pure as they say and as enchanting as any golf destination in the country.
Many seasoned visitors to the area will suggest booking your first foray with the region’s leading brand in resort golf experiences, BOYNE Golf. With 10 acclaimed golf courses sprawling across three separate and distinctive resort properties and an abundance of activities to fit a broad array of itineraries, the folks at BOYNE have been curating their destination in northern Michigan for more than 50 years. Once you lay eyes on the red-roofed Victorian-style Inn at Bay Harbor, adjacent yacht club and the beaming shoreline it sits next to, you start to get what those who dubbed the property “The Pebble Beach of the Midwest” were fussing about. Standing along the shores of Little Traverse Bay and watching it feed into an endless sparkling blue expanse of Lake Michigan, I know this is a place I’ll long to return to many times. And my clubs aren’t even out of the travel bag yet!
The Inn at Bay Harbor
The Inn at Bay Harbor is a Marriot Autograph Resort and features 116 guest rooms and suites and 35 two- and three-bedroom cottages at the Lakeside Cottages and Cottages at Crooked Tree. All provide views of the area’s famous million-dollar sunsets.
Bay Harbor Golf Club
The club offers 27 dazzling holes designed by Arthur Hills that are played in three 18-hole combinations (Links/Quarry, Quarry/Preserve and Preserve/Links). With its thrilling views and excellent shot values, Bay Harbor’s Links/Quarry routing has been a staple on Golf Digest’s biannual list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. The Links Nine is full of memorable holes, with the reachable 490-yard, par-5 seventh providing big-time thrills and a shot at glory. This uphill hole often plays into the wind, with Lake Michigan on the right and fescue lurking left. The Quarry eighth and ninth holes, which play into and along the gorgeous lakeside setting, are easily one of the most picturesque finishes in the country. While more understated in its routing, The Preserve nine plays up to the lofty standards of the Links and Quarry. Winding extensively through the hardwoods for much of the nine, the Preserve, like The Quarry, also opens up to the calming Lake Michigan shoreline. A very short drive away, scenic 18-hole Crooked Tree Golf Club delivers stellar panoramic views and an underrated stretch of quality, finely maintained golf holes.
BOYNE Highlands Resort
Resembling a Scottish country estate with its deep wood accents, tartan plaids and massive fireplaces, Boyne Highlands is a cozy escape just 15 miles north of Bay Harbor. Popular during the winter as a family-friendly ski destination, Boyne Highlands is home to BOYNE Golf’s first golf property and a multi-course template many resorts have replicated through the years. With four different courses, Boyne Highlands is perfectly suited for golf buddies’ trips. The timeless parkland allure of The Heather (the original BOYNE Golf course by Robert Trent Jones Sr.) and the natural beauty of the Arthur Hills course, which features a 10 story drop from the tee at the par-5 13th, stand tall as must-plays on a visit to northern Michigan. The Heather is also on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses and, in 2019, was named the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Golf Course of the Year.
The Donald Ross Memorial is an extremely well-executed tribute course comprised of holes inspired by famous Ross designs that have hosted three Ryder Cups, eight U.S. Amateurs, 11 PGA Championships and 14 U.S. Opens. The Moor course has recently undergone subtle but significant updates to improve approach angles and allow for additional shot selection choices around the greens. Every course at Boyne Highlands closes with a forced-carry approach, so don’t count those bets as over until the last putts fall.
BOYNE Mountain Resort
Just 27 miles away from Boyne Highlands, Boyne’s southern-most resort, Boyne Mountain, offers the walkable and fun allure of a European alpine village. Hugely popular for skiing in the winter, Boyne Mountain plays up the village theme beautifully. The 4,500-acre property includes a variety of accommodations and two fun courses that offer tremendous views of nearby Deer Lake. The Monument and The Alpine, zigzag through tree-lined slopes before winding down to tamer, rolling terrain. Both courses begin with a scenic 10-minute cart ride up the ski hill to their respective first tees.
BOYNE Golf, named one of the Best Golf Resorts in the Americas by Golf Digest, is the largest golf resort in America north of Pinehurst. It was conceived in 1965, when BOYNE founder Everett Kircher hired world-famous architect Jones Sr. to put Boyne Highlands on the map as more than a ski destination with construction of The Heather course. Thee destination is centered amid one of America’s most beautiful vacation spots and scenic Lake Michigan beach towns of Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, and Petoskey.
BOYNE Golf is little over a four hour drive from Detroit or Sarnia and less than two hours south of Sault Ste Marie. Golfers looking to fly into northern Michigan can access Traverse City (TVC) via Delta, United or American, and Allegiant with direct service to 17 major U.S. cities. Private planes can also land directly at Boyne Mountain’s almost 6000’ private airport.
For more information on BOYNE Golf and to plan your summer golf adventure, visit BOYNEgolf.com.