Ask any golfer who visits this part of the country to play golf what their favorite golf course is and odds are that someone will name a course at one of the Boyne properties. After all, there are 10 golf courses in the area that are affiliated with Boyne Resorts. The company owns and operates a total of 13 resort properties across the US, from Maine to Washington State. In addition to the golf courses, Boyne Resorts also has 10 ski resorts. All but one of the golf courses are located in Michigan and are split between 3 resorts: Boyne Highland, Boyne Mountain and Bay Harbor.
Of the three, Bay Harbor is the most upscale, not only the accommodations but the golf courses as well. Bay Harbor features three 9-hole layouts, with many holes that follow the topography of the Michigan coastline and offer incredible views of Lake Michigan. At the time it was built in 1996, the Links layout was the most expensive 9-hole golf course ever built and for many players, the par 5, 7th hole is the most memorable of all three tracks. The hole plays 490 yards from the Blue Tees and hugs the Lake Michigan coastline all the way down the right side. The landing area of the tee is generous, and a well-struck tee shot will give you the opportunity to go for the green in two. The scenery that plays out as you make your way down the fairway is absolutely incredible.
In 2014 Arthur Hills and his design company also rebuilt the last three holes of another Boyne course, Crooked Tree, located across the street from Bay Harbor, to make it more playable. Crooked Tree offers views that are every bit as spectacular as Bay Harbor. The course is built along some very hilly terrain and features significant elevation changes from tee to green. Holes 1 thru 4 set the tone; all four play from elevated tees, with the par four 3rd and 4th holes requiring precarious carries over marsh areas to sloped fairways. Most holes have large landing areas off the tee, making it the perfect venue for any level of golfer.
The Boyne Highlands Resort has four golf courses: The Moor, The Heather, Arthur Hills and the Donald Ross Memorial. The latter is a tribute course that pays homage to the late, great Donald Ross. The owners and executives of Boyne Resorts spent painstaking amounts of time to research and uncover 18 Donald Ross holes that would be considered his best. They literally traveled the globe over a several year period and came up with a list of holes that have been recreated on the Donald Ross Tribute Course. Ownership did their best to create exact replicas of these holes and make them playable by the public. Now you too can experience the best of Donald Ross’ work, all without needing a passport!
The Heather was the first course to open at the resort and was designed by Robert Trent Jones. At the time it opened in 1966, Heather was considered one of the finest championship courses in the nation. The course continues to be showered with accolades, and in the past has been ranked as one of the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play ” by Golf Magazine, and “50 Best Courses for Women” by Golf for Women. Perhaps the most memorable hole is the 18th, which plays back to the clubhouse. Don’t be surprised if a group of people are there watching and critiquing your approach shot. The hole starts out with a tee shot that plays downhill and needs to stay short of the lake. From there, you’re faced with a long iron shot that is all carry over water into a wide, shallow green with bunkers in back to catch anything hit too far. A great finishing hole.
The Arthur Hills course is one of this master designer’s quintessential works. The layout is rife with strategically placed bunkers and challenging green complexes, making it a challenging course with enough variety that it will test even the most experienced golfer. All of the attributes of the Hills Course were showcased on The Golf Channel’s Big Break X: Michigan. As you hit your approach to the 11th green, you begin a three-hole climb to one of the highest elevations in the area. This all leads to #18, a monstrous par 5, dogleg left around a lake. The hole is dotted with bunkers all the way around. In addition to its brilliant design, superb course conditioning and breathtaking vistas, the Hills course has earned a reputation from golf travelers as being a great test of golf for players of all levels of ability.
The fourth course at Boyne Highlands is a favorite for those in search of a true test of golf. The Moor is regarded by many as the most challenging Boyne course, and those who play here often will tell you that the difference is in the doglegs. The numerous twists and turns on the front nine favor right-handed players who hit fades as you can no doubt tell from the first two holes. Number 3 is a par 5 that plays straight uphill and much longer than the 539 yards on the card. Hit your tee shot straight of the tee. Anything short and left and you may find the water; anything right may find the trees and require a pitch out. The wide bunker that stretches across the front of the entire green presents the final obstacle and forces you to carry your approach shot onto a green that slopes back to front. This is a hole that can set the tone for the rest of your round.
To say Boyne Highlands Resort just outside Petoskey has it all is an understatement. Conceivably, you could stay here year round and never run out of things to do. During the winter months, the majority of visitors to the Boyne Highlands Resort are here for some of the best skiing conditions in the state. A few month later, during the summer, you’ll find several of the state’s best golf courses located on the property. Even if you’re not a golfer or a skier, there’s always a quick trip down the zipline, horseback riding, or a myriad of other activities at Boyne Highlands Resort.
Boyne Highlands offers many styles of accommodations including hotel-style rooms, condos, townhomes and cottages. Need something bigger? Choose from several rental homes that sleep up to 16 guests. Boyne Highlands also offers several dining venues, where you will find everything from a cup of hot cocoa to a sizzling steak with all the trimmings. It just depends on what you’re hungry for; there’s something for everyone!
Boyne Mountain Resort also offers golfers a couple of options and the unique opportunity to play your way down the mountain after a mile drive to the first tees at the summit. The Alpine course is located in a spectacular mountainside setting and features panoramic views of Deer Lake. The Alpine Course moves down the mountainside and puts forth a wide variety of hazards; it’s a layout that will test every aspect of your golf game. Odds are that once you’ve discovered The Alpine Course, you’ll want to play it again and again.
Alpine’s sister course, The Monument, was designed for players of all skill levels and pays homage to some of America’s most memorable and accomplished golfers. Thirteen of these greats have been honored with a bronzed plaque highlighting their professional achievements that is embedded in the boulders near the tee boxes at each hole. You’ll find names such as Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Peggy Kirk and Sam Snead just to name a few. The course also pays tribute to several famous golf course architects; several design elements from names such as Donald Ross, Dr. Alister Mackenzie, Robert Trent Jones, George Fazio, and Pete Dye have been incorporated into the Monument Course. From your tee shot on the first hole, high atop Boyne Mountain, through the signature island green of the 18th hole, the stunning views and vistas will leave you with some fond golf memories.
Much like Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain has a bevy of cafes, restaurants and bars to choose from. Several are seasonal, but that’s not hard to figure out once you get there.
Boyne’s Adventure Pass lets you participate in a number of resort activities as often as you want: twin zip rides, zipline adventure tours, Segway tours, horseback riding, the bike park lift ticket and the scenic chairlift. Just about everything the resort has to offer outside of golf and skiing.
For more information on the great golf opportunities available at the Boyne Resorts in Northern Michigan, visit www.bayharborgolf.com, www.boynehighlands.com and www.boynemountain.com.