Text: Greg Johnson
The Golf Association of Michigan, or GAM, has launched a 10-part series celebrating its 100th year of service and this week the association is featuring the historic Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix, Michigan.
Belvedere Golf Club, which is one of the oldest golf courses in northern Michigan and has welcomed public play for several years, is chronicled in the third edition of a series spanning about a 10-week period.
The Belvedere story represents the 1940 through 1949 decade of GAM history for it hosted the Michigan Amateur Championship four times in the six years it was presented in the decade. World War II caused suspension of the state championship for four years.
The story takes readers back to the days of Big Band music and all-you-can-eat shrimp at the Argonne Supper Club, which is currently under new ownership and being completed renovated.
“Charlevoix hasn’t changed all that much from 1940,” stated Dennis “Marty” Joy, the head golf professional at Belvedere, in the piece.
Joy is also the Belvedere Golf Club historian and is writing a book on the golf club’s history that will be published in time for the club’s 100th anniversary in 2025.
“The population is about the same,” Joy stated. “Tourists still come for the same reasons, only not by train. It switched to cars by the 1960s, and many of Belvedere’s members get to northern Michigan by planes today. Those members, for the most part, still come from other states.”
The Belvedere course was designed by famed architect William Watson and opened in 1925. Membership remains similar to today, populated by summer visitors from southern states and big cities such as St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, and Cincinnati.
Watson designed a big, strong golf course, especially by the standards of the era. It played to an unheard of 6,500 yards with just one tee pad on 17 of the 18 holes. Today it plays to 6,900 yards following recent renovations based on the original drawings of Watson.