It’s finally spring, the sun is strong and the temps are warming up. As golf season opens across the state, check out what’s new at your favorite Northern Michigan golf courses.
Belvedere Golf Club is returning to its roots. After the 2016 discovery of golf architect William Watson’s original drawings of the historic course, the decision was made to restore the course to Watson’s design, originally done in 1923. While aerial photos existed from the late 1930s, there was no actual documentation of the original parkland design with its classic flowing fairways, strategic bunkers and subtle greens—until now. Watson is famous for classic and major championship designs across America including Olympia Fields in Chicago, Interlachen in Minneapolis, The Olympic Club in San Francisco and others. With guidance from golf architect Bruce Hepner and course superintendent Rick Grunch, the restoration project will be completed for the 2017 season.
Interlochen Golf Course is under new management. Michigan PGA professional Brad Dean is the new owner after serving as director of golf at Crystal Mountain Resort for 23 years. The club’s restaurant is undergoing renovations and will reopen as Bradley’s Pub and Grille this spring—watch the Facebook page for updates.
Gaylord Golf Mecca’s Free Golf Weekend is a celebration and a thank you to the many golfers from around the Midwest who visit the region. The Free Golf Weekend (April 28–30) will include a free round of golf and cart with a paid night’s lodging (lodging rates vary depending on the facility, 2 guests per room). Golfers, simply call one of the participating hotels to book your room, and mention you would like to participate in the Free Golf Weekend. The hotel will then make the tee-time and present a golf certificate to you upon check-in. Participating courses include Gaylord Country Club, The Natural at Beaver Creek Resort, Treetops Resort, Black Lake Golf Club, Indian River Golf Club and Michaywé The Pines.
Forest Dunes’ new one-of-a-kind course, The Loop, will enjoy its first full season in 2017 (the 18-hole course opened for public play on June 27, 2016). The course, designed by world-renowned golf architect Tom Doak, can be played both clockwise and counterclockwise giving Forest Dunes two distinct golf courses on one piece of ground. Check out the photos and a Q&A with Director of Operations, Don Helinski.
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is adding the Dave Pelz Short Game Golf School. One-day clinics and two- and three-day schools are scheduled between June 28 and August 20. “The Dave Pelz schools specialize in what we call the scoring shots, and we anticipate people coming for the combination of the great Pelz instruction and the great amenities at our Resort,” says Tom McGee, Director of Golf Operations. “We’ve had some great golf schools here over the years, and we will continue with all of our current programs and instruction for players of all levels and ages, but the Pelz schools are a unique addition in that they concentrate on lowering scores by improving play closer to the green.”
The resort also has a brand new fleet of Yamaha golf carts, each equipped with USB ports, so golfers can keep their smartphones charged while using yardage apps— notorious for draining smartphone batteries.
Shanty Creek Resorts has introduced a new way for golfers to navigate its Schuss Mountain Golf Course: GolfBoards. There are only about 100 golf courses in the United States currently trying them out. It’s a sought-after addition to many players’ golf games because in midweek play it can shave off 20 to 30 minutes per round as they allow individuals to go directly to their balls.
Check out Shanty Creek’s new GolfBoards in this MyNorth video.