The Ultimate Golf Vacation,
Michigan’s Magnificent 10

Bay Harbor Golf Club Links Course Hole#3

On a recent trip to Michigan, we learned why BOYNE Golf is one of the premiere golf destinations in the country for any type of golf getaway. What is important when you chose a golf vacation? A variety of courses, beauty of the landscape, the quality of service, affordability and accommodations are all on the list and BOYNE Golf checks all the marks.

BOYNE Golf’s courses and lodging in the northwest portion of lower Michigan provides perfect summer weather and long summer days, allowing you to play 36 holes or more very easily. In the summer you can play until 10 p.m.!

BOYNE Golf has 10 magnificent courses in its impressive cache, including two in the Golf Digest Top 100 and has three distinct resorts located within 25 minutes of one another. BOYNE Golf can accommodate the needs of the most avid golfer and the casual golfer. It is the largest golf resort group in America north of the famous Pinehurst in North Carolina.

Our trip started in Hartford, Connecticut with a quick flight to Detroit, a connection to Traverse City, Michigan, followed by a scenic 90-minute drive along Lake Michigan to Petoskey. Many airports such as Newark and  LaGuardia have direct flights into Traverse City, making Michigan an easy destination for the Northeast golfer.

Upon arrival on Sunday afternoon, we opened our five-day golf adventure on Crooked Tree Golf Club. Arthur Hills and his team of golf course architects recently completed a range of developments to Crooked Tree’s finishing holes, enhancing the charm and playability of an already amazing course. Crooked Tree is carved through stands of centuries-old hardwood and apple orchards, perched on bluffs high above Little Traverse Bay. The fairways of the first nine holes are lined by old-growth trees, which creates stunning sightlines from one hole to the next. The back nine offer amazing views of Lake Michigan on most holes. The course is characterized by undulating greens that require careful, consistent putts for par.

Aerial View of The Alpine and The Monument courses at Boyne Mountain Resort

After golf, we checked into the Boyne Mountain Resort and prepared for the days to come, 36 holes a day for the next four days.

Day Two started at Boyne’s “Mountain” courses, The Alpine and The Monument. After a 10-minute cart ride to the top of the mountain and the first tees of both courses, we went out to tame The Alpine in the morning and The Monument in the afternoon. Both courses offer tremendous views of Deer Lake as you play down the backside of Boyne Mountain. The Alpine’s setting is every bit as breathtaking as its legendary design. The 18-hole course features 7,045 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 73.5 and it has a slope rating of 136 on bent grass. Designed by William Newcomb, The Alpine golf course opened in 1970. Six tee box options on all of the BOYNE Golf’s courses make it enjoyable for all levels of golfers. Pick the length of course that suits your ability.

The Alpine is an open, playable layout that winds down the backside of Boyne Mountain. Solid drives are rewarded on the generous fairways and the forgiving greens can bolster confidence in your short game. Each year, The Alpine plays host to Michigan’s Tournament of Champions. And once you’ve played the course, you’ll understand why.

The Monument course was crafted with nods to the design philosophies of a long list of legendary golf course architects. The Monument’s ever-changing personality contains a list of surprises. Borrowing traits from designers like Donald Ross, Alister Mackenzie, Robert Trent Jones, George Fazio and Pete Dye, The Monument lives up to its name as it pays homage to the game’s most important influences. Holes are dedicated to noteworthy players and key contributors. The course requires a complete game, with demanding fairways, and undulating greens that reward careful putting. This course did get the best of us that day. It is quite a test!

The second shot at 18th hole on The Monument course at Boyne Mountain Resort
plays to an island green.

On Day Three, we played at BOYNE Golf’s flagship property, Bay Harbor Golf Club’s 27-holes (Links, Quarry, Preserve) designed by Arthur Hills. It is nestled dramatically along a five-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline. We started with the Preserve/Links course. It was spectacular; holes ran both inland and along the bluffs overlooking the lake. The two contrasting nines offered an unmatched variety of holes. The Preserve winds its way through a classic northern Michigan landscape, taking players through wildflowers, lush grass, and native wetlands filled with an abundance of wildlife. The sounds of breaking waves are always within an earshot, and the course finishes in dramatic fashion with a spectacular par-three situated on Lake Michigan’s shoreline. On The Links course, we found ourselves playing along the cliffs overlooking Lake Michigan. The fairways were linked with wispy heather grasses that replicated the feeling a seaside links course in Ireland.

The par-3 9th Hole of The Preserve course at Bay Harbor Golf Club

That afternoon, we played The Quarry, which winds its way through an immense, abandoned shale quarry. Impressive gorges surrounded by stone cliffs, natural ponds and a gentle waterfall are hallmarks. We found ourselves hitting shots on a classic golf layout, playing on the cliffs overlooking Lake Michigan, and ending with hitting shots down through a scenic rock-quarry. Very cool. The three layouts could not have been more different and each one is spectacular with its own unique characteristics.

The 9th hole of The Links course at Bay Harbor Golf Club overlooking Lake Michigan

After a spectacular dinner overlooking Lake Michigan at the Inn at Bay Harbor, we moved to our next accommodations, Boyne Highlands Resort.

The morning of Day Three, we enjoyed the Arthur Hills course. A big, bold design; it kept building in an almost suspenseful way with one fun golf hole leading to another. The fairways are wide, so you swing the driver freely. The greens are generous, but be warned, there is plenty of slope on the putting surfaces and having your golf ball on the proper level is imperative for good scoring. Coming to holes four and five you will notice towering pine trees lining the fairways and greens giving these holes a look of the Carolinas. Most memorable was the 13th hole, a par-five that features a downhill 400-foot drop from tee-to-green and a magical view of 4,000 acres!

The 13th Hole of the Arthur Hills course at Boyne Highlands Resort overlooks 4000 acres of forestry and has a 400 foot drop from tee to green.
The 5th Hole of the Arthur Hills course plays through the tall pines, reminding one of the Carolinas

That afternoon, we played The Heather. The BOYNE Golf collection started in 1965 when founder Everett Kircher hired world-famous architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to design The Heather and put Boyne Highlands on the map as more than a ski destination. This design, selected as the 2019 National Golf Course Owners Course of the Year, is an old-school parkland classic with massive bunkers and challenging green complexes.

The 18th Hole of The Heather course at Boyne Highlands Resort

Our final day started with a round on The Moor course at Boyne Highlands, followed by a round on the Donald Ross Memorial layout in the afternoon. The Moor course is a favorite for those looking for a true test of their ability and is regarded by many as the most challenging among the BOYNE’s 10 courses. The Moor, featuring all-new “Tour” bunker sand represents a true test of game designed with numerous doglegs, twists and turns, the front nine of The Moor favors right-handed power fade hitters, with holes 1, 2, 7 and 9 showing their curves immediately off the tee.

The 5th Hole of The Donald Ross Memorial course at Boyne Highlands Resort.
A replica of Hole #13 Oak Hill Country Club, East Course; Rochester, New York

The Donald Ross Memorial is a wonderful rendition of 18 great Ross holes from around the world. Holes were carefully selected to match topography, and the green complexes are nearly perfect. Seminole, Oakland Hills, Pinehurst, and Inverness holes are among the amazing collection. This course is not to be missed in your BOYNE Golf adventure.

Aside from the unique layouts, what stood out about BOYNE Golf courses was the consistency of the courses, operationally, course maintenance and set up. While each course is different in design and character, we found tee boxes, fairways, rough and greens to be at the same high standards of conditioning. Grass lengths, in the fairways and in the roughs, were consistent at each layout and weeds were virtually non-existent anywhere. Most pleasing was the consistency in the speed of the greens from course to course. Once we figured out the speed of the putting surfaces on one course, putting became more enjoyable with each round, resulting in easy two-putts and several one-putts.

BOYNE Golf clearly met all of the requirements for our great golf vacation and was recognized by as one of the Best Golf Resorts in America, along with Pebble Beach, Bandon Dunes, Whistling Straights, Kapalua, and Pinehurst.

As mentioned, BOYNE Golf is comprised of three separate resorts, Boyne Mountain Resort, Inn at Bay Harbor and Boyne Highlands Resort. Accommodations at Boyne Mountain Resort include hotel-style rooms at the resort hotel and townhouses located throughout the property. Adjacent to the resort hotel is a European-type ski village with plenty of options for food, drink and fun. Boyne Mountain Resort houses the largest indoor water park and pool in Michigan.

The Inn at Bay Harbor, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel, has a spa and salon, award-winning restaurants, shopping and a marina. The Inn enchants with spectacular Lake Michigan and quarry views. Newly renovated rooms and suites are ideal for an upscale golf outing, a family getaway, a romantic retreat or a relaxing sanctuary from everyday life.

For the golf junkies, we recommend setting up your base camp at Boyne Highlands Resort, where you have easy access to four golf courses and one of the biggest practice facilities in the country. Accommodations at Boyne Highland Resort include hotel-style rooms at the resort, townhomes on property and the Donald Ross cottages. There are plenty of food options at Boyne Highlands Resort and the Ross Golf Center. Also located at the entrance to Boyne Highlands is Teddy Griffins Roadhouse, referred to as “The Office” by the Boyne locals. Teddy’s is a local watering hole that just happens to have great food!

Several scenic Lake Michigan beach towns are close by, and a side trip to Mackinac Island is easily managed to round out the total experience. Guests can enjoy award-winning spas, local wineries and breweries, waterfront dining, and so much more in the nearby towns of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Boyne City.

The morning we were leaving for the drive to the airport we talked to three men in the parking lot who were headed out to play. We asked them how long they had been coming to the resort. They said almost every year since 1975! That is quite a testimonial. You may not come back every year for four decades, but based on our great experience, once you come you will be back!


UNLIMITED GOLF, STAY & PLAY and maybe the GREATEST GOLF ESCAPE you’ll find in Michigan or the entire USA!


Stay & Play & Have Some Fun from $108

An ideal golf getaway when just 18 holes are all you need! After your round, enjoy their numerous on-resort activities, or take a day trip to the historic Mackinac Island, just a 45-minute drive north. This package includes your lodging, your choice from five of their ten courses in the BOYNE Golf collection with no upgrade charges, and the ability to golf their additional five courses for $30-90.

Unlimited Golf, Unlimited Memories from $133

Play and play and play. The Unlimited Golf Package is perfect for the serious golfer that wants to pack in the rounds! With the opportunity to book when daylight begins at 6am and ends at 10pm, you will have numerous jealous friends with how many holes you get in.

This package includes your lodging, unlimited golf on five of their ten courses in the BOYNE Golf collection with no upgrade charges, and the ability to golf their additional five courses for $30-90.

The Greatest Golf Escape You’ll Find from $1,059

BOYNE’s Great Escape Golf Vacation is their signature golf package and is undeniably among America’s greatest golf values. With so many activities included in this all-inclusive package, your only problem will be how to fit it all in!

Great Escape Golf Vacation includes a five-night stay, unlimited golf on seven of the ten course with breakfast and dinner, plus an amenity gift valid for a round at Bay Harbor Golf Club, a lesson, or spa treatment

Reach out to BOYNE Golf for more
information about these packages or to book your Golf Getaway!


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Tom Landers is President, Publisher and Founder of Golfing Magazine. Tom has an extensive background as an entrepreneur in golf, publishing & editorial and internet production. He has over 25 years experience in the golf industry and over 15 years experience in the publishing industry, both online and in the print medium. Tom Landers is an accomplished businessman and entrepreneur having owned and operated such diverse enterprises as a Public Relations company, a golf consulting business and Golfing Magazine.