The beachfront stay-and-play

The beachfront stay-and-play

Text: Brenna Buckwald // Photography: Brian Walters Photography

Atop rolling hills near the edge of Lake Michigan, Manitou Passage Golf Club in Cedar, Michigan provides golfers with an Arnold Palmer signature course play that is just a short drive from The Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor, Michigan. Together, the Leelanau County-based golf club and resort combine a peaceful play-and-stay experience for golfers ready to test their skills amidst the beauty of northern Michigan summers.

The course at Manitou Passage Golf Club features the challenges of open meadows, high coastal forests, dramatic changes in elevation, and water hazards. Lake Michigan offers serene views of the water as golfers work their way through the course’s 18 holes, and high coastal winds to be considered with each swing of the club.

“Coming off of last season, it was a great golf season everywhere. With the crazy year we had, golf was up pretty much around the world last summer,” said Kevin Grubb, clubhouse manager at Manitou Passage Golf Club. “Coming into this year, we’re looking to build off that success. We are hoping to see many new faces, vacationers, and new people in Leelanau County.”

In preparation for the upcoming season, the golf club is in the process of attaining a new fleet of golf carts, as well as undergoing a tree removal and trimming program that began this past fall, continued through the spring, and will extend throughout the summer. Approximately 100 trees will be removed from the property when the program is completed, assisting in opening the course back up. 

Grubb noted that the club is considering a bunker renovation program as well, though it may be a few years of work due to the changing weather in northern Michigan.

“We’ll be working through a certain number of bunkers each season and building them back up,” Grubb said. “Up here, any day of the week it could snow on you. That does make it a little tougher when you are trying to do some of these off-season things. Obviously, we try to work around play and not affect the short season that we do have.”

Guests golfing at Manitou Passage can find overnight accommodations fit for their group at The Homestead Resort. Groups traveling in smaller numbers may be interested in booking a room at one of the resort’s four hotels—The Inn, Stony Brook Lodge, Little Belle, and Fiddler’s Pond. The Homestead also offers vacation homes and villas to rent for larger groups desiring more spacious lodging.

“I’ve been in the golf business for about 20 years, and I watched the Tiger Woods boom in the 1990’s and last summer I saw more new golfers than I ever have,” Grubb said.

“I personally am anticipating this to be a great season. People are planning trips for June and July and want tee-times. I am anticipating it’s going to be a wonderful summer, not just for us—I think for the whole area up here in Traverse City, and Leelanau county,” Grubb added.