Below is a travel story on a great destination from our 2021 Fall Issue currently at pro shops throughout the state. You can also read the full issue here.
By Ken MacLeod
For those looking for an escape from the sizzling Oklahoma summer such as we just went through, Colorado has always been a popular choice for Oklahomans. But more and more golfers we chat with are looking to Michigan as a great alternative, with more courses clustered close together, deeply wooded hilly terrain, ideal summer weather and spectacular golf.
Nowhere is that more true than in the 10-course destination that makes up the spectacular offerings at BOYNE Golf. Located just be-low the Upper Peninsula, the area’s golf history began as a means to keep the winter ski resort workers in place for the summer but swiftly evolved into one of the nation’s top summer destinations as well.
It started with an elegant Robert Trent Jones Sr. design named The Heather, which like all RTJ Sr. designs has plenty of elevated greens requiring shots not in my bag. That’s a personal quibble and The Heather is rated by Golf Digest as one of the top-100 Public Courses in the U.S.
The Heather is one of four courses at Boyne Highlands which would make a nice trip in itself. Of the other three, the Arthur Hills Course is stunningly beautiful, the Donald Ross Memorial has 18 holes dedicated to at least the feel if not an exact replica of famous Donald Ross holes from Seminole, Oakland Hills, Oak Hills, Pinehurst, Inverness and other well-known Ross classics. There is also The Moor Course, another pleasant journey through the woods, a par-3 course going up and down the ski slope, and great practice facilities, including a 30-bay Track Man Driving Range where you will be overjoyed or depressed by the feedback you get.
Bay Harbor Golf Club in Harbor Shores, which this year jumped 17 spots in the Golf Digest top-100 public course list to No. 63, is the one you can’t miss. It offers three sepa-rate nines you can play in any combination, with The Links offering spectacular views above the shore of Lake Michigan, The Quarry circling a former working rock quarry and offering a variety of risk-reward options, and The Preserve providing a wooded respite from the thrills of the other two.
The third destination is Boyne Mountain, home of The Alpine and The Monument courses. From the pro shop, leave yourself time for about a 12-minute cart ride to the top of the mountain where the first tee resides, then begin a scenic and fun journey down. Like every course we encountered on our too-short visit, the courses at Boyne Mountain were superbly conditioned.
All three resorts have on-course lodging and dining options. The Inn at Bay Harbor has 116 guest rooms and 35 cottages. At Boyne Highlands there is the resort’s main Lodge, Bartley House, Heather Highlands Inn and Townhouses, Alpine Village and, most popular for golf buddies’ trips, the Ross Cottages. Boyne Mountain has a resort and spa, and of course there are numerous condos for rent in the areas, plus other op-tions in the scenic lake towns of Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, and Petoskey.
We have just had a taste of BOYNE Golf and are hungry for more. Following are the thoughts of some travel writers well versed in all Boyne has to offer.
“With 10 acclaimed golf courses sprawling across three separate, and distinctive, resort properties and an abundance of packages to fit a broad array of itineraries, you can’t go wrong putting your next golf trip in the hands of the folks who’ve been curating the destination in Northern Michigan for more than 50 years.”
– Carl Mickelson
“The Inn at Bay Harbor is simply a beautiful sight to behold on the wide shore of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay, the gleaming Victorian style cottages and the main inn putting a modern spin on grand summer resorts from bygone eras.
“Arthur Hills did put a unique stamp on the aptly named nines of the Bay Harbor courses. The Links indeed hugs the shoreline on many holes, running out and back along bluffs over-looking Lake Michigan. The Quarry plays around the rocky formations of a former shale mine. And the Preserve is the most naturally wooded of the trio.
“Players can go around in three ways: Quar-ry/Preserve, Preserve/Links or Links/Quarry, the latter the most requested. They’re the more dramatic nines, to be sure, beautiful but testing—from the 6,427-yard tee markers the slope rating is a daunting 143.”
– Tom Bedell, The A Position
“The incredible story of Northern Michigan golf began back in 1966 when Everett Kircher hired Robert Trent Jones Sr. to build a champion-ship course at the base of his Boyne Highlands ski hill in near Harbor Springs. The course was immediately ranked among the top 100 in the U.S. by national golf magazines.
Decades later, Boyne Golf has blossomed into one of America’s premier summer golf destinations with 10 diverse championship courses built around, atop and across two mountains and alongside a stunning stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline.”
– Neal Kotlarek, Golf Chicago
Visit BOYNEgolf.com or call 833-238-8504 for more information.