If you need a ‘break from it all’ – but still want to ‘have it all’ – Boyne Resorts could be the answer.
Boyne Resorts not only has it all for the golfer, their buddies or their families – 10 courses in all – but the flip side is vacationers can also choose one of the resort’s three core locations to have a more tight-knit experience.
Boyne Mountain is the original ski resort that added golf in 1970, but the Heather course at Boyne Highlands – which has hosted numerous state championships including the 100th Michigan Amateur – celebrated 50 years in 2016 when the Bay Harbor Golf Club hit the 20-year mark as well. All three locations are regarded by avid golfers and national course raters – myself included – as some of the finest in northern Michigan golf or anywhere in America.
Boyne’s 3-location portfolio provides expansive golf variety, inland or along the water, without having to travel far nor pack your luggage to change overnight lodging, unless you want to. Here is a summary of Boyne’s 10 course layouts, all within a 45-minute drive of each other but others within relative walking distance of the three central lodging locations.
Boyne Mountain: Sometimes forgotten in the bevy of great course selections is the Mountain’s original Alpine Golf Course. Try not to skip it; what a fun and playable treasure that is both challenging and attractive with views of Deer Lake, and is host site of the annual Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions. Alpine combines all the ideals of golf and spending time outdoors that golfers will want to try it again and again. The Monument is equal to the task while starting at the top of the mountain on the backside of the ski runs and ending with its signature 18th island green in the low lands.
Accommodations and very family-friendly activities include condos, cabins, the Grand Lodge, Avalanche Bay indoor water park, beach and water sports galore at Deer Lake and a recently renovated spa where my wife kept using words like “awesome, best ever” on several occasions.
Boyne Highlands: The Heather, along with The Hills, the Donald Ross Memorial and The Moor – the only Boyne course I haven’t tried – make up a quad of courses that can be squeezed into a weekend if needed, or can fill an entire week of never-boring replays.
The Heather has its great history for design, playability and challenge all rolled into one, but The Hills is my favorite. The layout, one of many in the country designed by Michigan State grad Arthur Hills, is wide open on most holes and dotted with attractive but sometimes treacherous bunkering. Other holes are lined with majestic northern pines and the course overall features a wide variety of greens shaping. The 10th green complex is super cool for a risk-reward short par 4, and the 13th tee is also one of the highest points in northern Michigan with an incredible inland view for miles. The Golf Channel’s Big Break X was filmed there.
Golf Boarding is a unique treat at the Highlands. Resembling over-sized skate boards, GolfBoards are a stand-up, motorized board that golfers “ride and drive.” Each one carries the golfer and their golf bag while sailing along. Boyne’s original intent was adding a fun new way to play golf to help attract younger people, yet I had a blast using one in my mid-50s. The boards help pace of play because each golfer is going directly to their own ball.
Like many national awards Boyne has received from numerous media sources, the Boyne Highlands was named in 2015 by Golf.com readers as the best U.S. Golf Resort for Value. The Highlands also features activities like zip lines, biking trails, horse-back riding and the Young Americans Dinner Theatre, the latter which will celebrate 40 years in 2018.
Bay Harbor Golf Club: Also designed by Arthur Hills, Bay Harbor is nationally acclaimed for is three 9s; the Quarry, the Preserve and the wow factor of the Links course elevated views of scenic Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan. The combination is the state’s only Gold Medal for Overall Excellence ever handed out by GOLF Magazine.
Words can’t describe the awe in traversing down holes No. 1, 3, 4 and 7 overlooking the bay from high atop the Links course – highlighted even more if there is a rising or setting sun on the water. The Quarry course is tough and rugged, with many holes cut and shaped inside an old rock quarry. The Preserve balances the adventure with a more traditional northern Michigan tree-lined layout that’s fun and gorgeous.
Admittedly it’s a cliché, but Crooked Tree could be called one of those hidden gems. Across U.S. 31 and perched high above the Bay Harbor property, Crooked Tree offers a wide variety of wooded and open fairways, huge rolling hills and elevated views of the crisp blue water below.
The most luxurious of Boyne Resort’s accommodation offerings is the waterfront Inn at Bay Harbor, named a Top Resort and Top Spa by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. But other options include condos and cottages both at Crooked Tress and on the waterfront. While not owned by Boyne, the new, on-resort Great Lakes Center for Performing Arts is scheduled to lift its curtain for the first time ever on July 7.
Whether you want it all, or just a portion of it, you can truly get away from it all at Boyne. www.boyne.com.
Boyne Golf Academy with GEARS full body monitoring: GEARS captures a golfer’s full body motion by using 26 sensors, plus six additional sensors attached to the player’s club. The system, which also integrates eight high-speed cameras to capture every moment, processes the resulting data with software to provide a full analysis of every angle of a player’s swing. Until recently, GEARS’ 3D scanning was only available to PGA pros, club fitters, and manufacturers, but Boyne says it’s the first teaching facility in Michigan to implement GEARS. When combined with TrackMan to monitor ball flight with satellite-tracking technology feedback, swing analysis and club fitting has leapt to yet another level of science. Boyne’s award-winning golf academy is a great compliment to any golf trip to the resort.
Stay & Play or Unlimited Golf Packages: Various package deals are ready for golfers who want to stuff as many golf holes as possible into their trip to Boyne, or for those who only have the time to play 18.
The Boyne Unlimited Package provides all-daylight access to any of the 10 courses at Boyne (with small upcharges at a few of the premier tracks), starting at $139 per day which includes each overnight’s stay and breakfast at Boyne Highlands, plus a $25 Odawa Casino gaming voucher and free shuttle service to and from provided by Odawa.
The Stay & Play Package is designed for a quick trip to Boyne, with overnight lodging included. The rate starts at $114 (similar to any overnight in metro Detroit) but includes both hotel room at Boyne Highlands and 18 holes at either the Ross Memorial, the Moor, Alpine, Monument or Crooked Tree courses. A small upgrade cost gains 18-hole access to any of the other Boyne layouts.