Northern Michigan is a summer destination built for golfing benders
CHARLEVOIX, MI – Twice in my golf travel lifetime have I played more than 36 holes in one day, and both are courtesy of the courses of Northern Michigan.
A few years back, my friend and I took on 54 holes at the Garland Resort, thanks to long summer days and four first tee boxes of championship courses located within a couple hundred yards of each other at one facility.
This past week, it was a bit more complicated: We started by teeing off at the crack of dawn at Dunmaglas near Charlevoix, followed by an hour drive to Treetops Resort, playing first the Threetops par 3 and then the Fazio Premier. We walked off the 45th hole around 7:30 p.m., 11 hours later having played some of the nation’s best summer golf and with about an hour of daylight to spare. Part of me wanted to squeeze in another “speed nine,” the other part wanted a few pops, a pizza and a soak.
In total, from Sunday thru Thursday, we played 153 holes of golf in the north, from Tullymore to Boyne Highlands back down to Forest Dunes and plenty in between. Northern Michigan is the kind of destination built for golfing benders, where you’re up first thing in the morning with the wild turkeys and walking off the green in evening twilight with sore muscles and in need of a cocktail and a hot tub.
For starters, the summer days are long here, even into September, and the abundance of golf courses is downright laughable. You’re never more than a few minutes away from a golf course, whether it’s world class, or just a little local joint asking $20 for 18 holes with cart. Driving from Forest Dunes down to Grand Rapids on a backwoods two-lane highway, we passed a golf course with a billboard out front simply labeled “18 hole Golf Course.”
The quantity also means the value here is top notch. Resorts all offer either cheap replay rates or even unlimited golf packages, which the nine courses under the Boyne umbrella is making the most of it this summer, selling a record amount of packages in 2009. Treetops Resort in Gaylord offers 36-hole golf packages with lodging and are offering unlimited golf packages beginning September 25th.
So playing 36 or more holes isn’t necessarily going to break the bank, especially when you play top-rated courses during twilight. Bay Harbor is one five-star golf experience that offers a $99 rate after 2 p.m.
There’s lots of other ways to explore the north, from fishing and boating to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, but it seems like every time I’m around these parts, I’m spending all day on the golf course, and I’m not complaining.
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