Text: Greg Johnson
Apple Mountain in Freeland, Michigan leaves an impression involving more than its great golf course.
“When looking at our returning guests, particularly those who travel a distance to play our course, we consistently hear that the main reasons for returning are the quality and condition of the golf course, the interactions with the staff, and their enjoyable dining experience,” said Ben Schippers, marketing manager at Apple Mountain.
“The dining experience typically offers the first impression or the final impression of a visit to Apple Mountain, so it’s critically important that we offer great service along with a varied menu that offers something for everyone to enjoy,” Schippers added.
Schippers also noted it is tough to pinpoint a translation from rounds of golf to diners, because it varies depending on the many groups who come to play the course.
“We work hard to cross-promote golf and dining to encourage all of our golfing guests to take advantage of the full Apple Mountain experience,” Schippers said. “The Mountain View Restaurant offers a great casual dining [including a large outdoor patio] with a wide array of culinary options in a club style setting.”
The best part of dining at Apple Mountain: variety.
“We truly offer a taste for everyone,” Schippers said. “With an extensive menu available for lunch and dinner daily you’ll find everything from soups and salads, sandwiches and flatbread pizzas to pasta, steaks and seafood. There is something that will appeal to everybody in a golf group. In addition to our full menu we offer weekly lunch features, weekend Chef’s entrée additions and live entertainment on the patio three nights a week during the summer season.”
It takes a team to make the dining experience, the golf experience, and the conference and meeting experience work well, which Schippers indicated is all about teamwork.
“We have a culinary team in the kitchen that consists of multiple Chefs—on a given day between our restaurant and banquet rooms we can easily feed over a thousand guests,” Schippers said. “With a team approach, we are able to cross-train in multiple areas of the kitchen, execute our menu, and offer variety of dining and dessert features that take advantage of each Chef’s unique background and specialties.”
Schippers also suggested one of the Mountain View Restaurant’s must-try-dish is the Cajun Chicken Penne, which has been a staple on the menu for more than a decade.
“It offers a great variety of flavor and spice with chicken, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, pine nuts, black olives, and penne pasta tossed in a Cajun cream sauce,” Schippers said. “It’s served with a mild spice level, but can be kicked up a notch upon request.”
For those who like to be fully informed, Schippers said the resort strives to utilize the freshest, healthiest ingredients available.
“Our chicken dishes are prepared with antibiotic free vegetarian fed chicken and we utilize GMO-free, zero-trans-fat Sunflower Oil for our fried items,” Schippers said.
As for golf at the Bay Region destination, the Golf Club at Apple Mountain added nearly 600 tons of new sand and replaced underground drainage tiles in the 33 greenside bunkers on the course in 2018; in part to keep a well-earned reputation for great playing conditions and aesthetics.
Other areas were also worked on, and the John Sanford-designed course remains a favored option with its four sets of tees and generous fairways on what is a challenging golf course. The manicured path through the many bunkers, large and small, water hazards, and elevation changes may take more than one play to learn angles and carries. It has a strong 145 slope rating from the 6,900-yard back tees.
Apple Mountain is a full-service resort with golf, dining, spacious meeting rooms, and event space, including a wedding chapel and pavilion.
The resort is also often lauded for its approach to outings in addition to its great course conditions. Apple Mountain has the entire staff involved in outings, from the bag employees to the head golf professional, as well as food service, course rangers, and more. Scoring, course setup, and event planning are part of the service menu, too.