Michigan's Boyne Golf Resort—Anchor to America’s Summer Golf Capital
In choosing a summer golf trip with my buddies we seek specific criteria, as in checking the all-important boxes. First, it has to be a summer golf destination with multiple golf courses, a place where we can play 36 holes on some days and experience a variety of different golf courses. Second, we also want fun options for dining and lodging that include condominiums. You see, we like to relax together in the evenings and replay all of our great shots and almost great shots.
Regarded as one of the Best Golf Resorts in the America’s by Golf Digest, Boyne Resorts is a destination that checks all the boxes for a great "golf buddy" vacation. In addition to perfect summer weather and cool evenings, Boyne is located in the northwest portion of lower Michigan, about a 90-minute drive north of Traverse City, where the long summer days easily allow for groups to play 36 holes, or 54 if they choose.
Boyne Golf is home to ten golf courses via its three resort destinations all located within 30 minutes of each other. It is the largest golf resort group in America north of the famous Pinehurst in North Carolina. Boyne Mountain and the Inn at Bay Harbor each offer beautiful courses, but for diehard golf junkies like us, Boyne Highlands, with its collection of four distinctive courses, was the place to set up base camp. We elected to stay in the Ross Cottages, which were the perfect gathering place each night after golf. It helped that we noticed Golf.com readers selected the Highlands as the country’s “No. 1 Golf Resort for Value.”
The great Boyne collection of golf courses started in 1965 when founder Everett Kircher hired world-famous architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to put Boyne Highlands on the map as more than a ski destination. The Heather, the first Boyne golf course, is an old-school parkland classic with massive bunkers and challenging green complexes. The historic course was selected this past year as the Michigan Golf Course Owners Course of the Year, which indicates its timeless appeal.
We opened our four-day golf boondoggle with the Heather, and it did not disappoint. As a golf course rater for Golf Digest and a self-proclaimed golf course architecture nut, the opportunity to play one of Robert Trent Jones, Sr.’s early designs was a treat. The evening found us hanging out on the patio of Slopeside for pizza and drinks with a few of the tireless golf nuts playing the executive par 3 course that is under the lights and ventures up and down a ski hill. In other words, it was a perfect golf evening!
Day 2 was a golfing bonanza that started on the Donald Ross Memorial, an homage to one of the greatest golf course designers in history. The Ross Memorial is a wonderful rendition of eighteen great Donald Ross holes from around the world, with special attention to holes and places golfers do not have the opportunity to experience. Holes were carefully selected to match topography and the green complexes are nearly perfect. Seminole, Oakland Hills, Oak Hill, Pinehurst, Inverness, Bob O’Link, and Aronomick holes are among the amazing collection.
After a quick lunch in the Seminole Pub, we took on an afternoon on the Arthur Hills course. A big, bold design, it kept building in an almost suspenseful way with one fun golf hole leading to yet another. To up the ante, we moved up a set of tee-boxes and played a combo set with the orange and green tees to fit our group. Boyne does an excellent job of setting tee-markers and playing it forward. Golf is not about length, it’s about FUN and believe me, 6,100 yards was plenty for our collection of recreational amateurs. Even the single-digit handicap guys like myself found plenty of challenge. Our round on the course peaked on the 13th hole, which features a downhill 150-foot drop. The view from the tee complex on the par 5 has to be the best golf view in the region. Golfers look out above beautiful hardwoods of northern Michigan for over 40 miles. Have your camera phone ready for this hole!
On that great day, most of us were satisfied with 36 holes of golf. But a few of the group who obviously couldn't get enough, decided to take on the Moor course, which is another challenging parkland-style course with multiple risk-reward shots. The 9-hole, two-man scramble proved to be a perfect ending to an amazing day, which concluded around 9:45 in the evening.
We slept in a bit on Day 3 in anticipation of playing BOYNE Golf’s flagship property, the Inn at Bay Harbor’s Bay Harbor Golf Club that features 27 holes (Links, Quarry, Preserve) designed by Art Hills. It is nestled dramatically along a five-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline. We played the marquee lineup of Links/Quarry, which was spectacular as holes ran both inland and along the bluffs overlooking the big lake. The two contrasting nines offered an unmatched variety of holes. One minute we found ourselves playing along the cliffs bordering Lake Michigan, and the next minute we were hitting shots down through a scenic rock quarry that finished with a peninsula par 3 reaching into the lake and a scenic closing hole wrapped along the shore.
Our final day included a stop at Boyne’s southern-most resort, Boyne Mountain, which was convenient as we were all heading south toward our homes. The Mountain offers two enjoyable courses, the Alpine and Monument, which each offer tremendous views of nearby Deer Lake. We finished our trip on the Alpine followed by the perfect lunch setting on the patio of the Beach House, which hugs the beach at the picturesque lake.
Boyne clearly checked off all of the requirements for our great golf vacation. Whether it is a group of buddies, couples, or just a trip with a significant other, Boyne is the place to go. It offers a variety of courses, lodging and package options including unlimited golf, and the best golfing value in the country with what is aptly called the Great Escape Package.
To top it off, Boyne is centered amid one of America’s most beautiful vacation areas. The scenic Lake Michigan beach towns of Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, and Petoskey are minutes away, and a side trip to Mackinac Island is easily managed. Guests can enjoy award-winning spas, waterfront dining, sandy beaches, water sports, gaming, microbreweries, wineries, hiking, biking, tennis, zip lining, shopping and more capped by the spectacular northern Michigan sunsets.
Golfers looking to fly to the area can access Traverse City (TVC) or Pellston (PLN) regional airports via Delta, United, or American. Private planes, including jets, can also land directly at Boyne Mountain’s private airstrip.
For more information on Boyne Golf, and to plan your summer golf adventure, visit BOYNEGolf.com or call 877.225.0406
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