Text: Brenna Buckwald // Photography: Apple Mountain, Island Resort and Casino
Part III of III
In the final installment of this series, The Golf Explorer: Michigan’s Journal to Incredible Golf Magazine has compiled a couple more golf courses around Michigan for both the beginner and experienced golfer alike to help them discover new ways to enjoy the game or simply reconnect with an old favorite.
Island Resort and Casino
W 399 US HIGHWAY 2 | HARRIS, MICHIGAN
Just outside Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Island Resort and Casino houses 36 holes of championship golf split between Sweetgrass course and Sage Run course, as well as overnight accommodations in the resort’s suites or RV park, and a premier gaming casino.
As they make their way through the Sweetgrass course, golfers will experience an open parkland layout designed by golf architect Paul Albanese and highlighted by motifs of the area’s heritage. On each hole, golfers are introduced to the rich history of the Hannahville Indian Community with holes named after traditional Potawatomi clans, villages, allies, medicines, and symbols.
Also designed by Paul Albanese, Sage Run offers a prairie, links style course, a stark contrast to the resort’s Sweetgrass. A natural drumlin, or elongated hill or ridge, formed by glacial ice is the primary feature of the course, providing a challenge to golfers of all abilities as the course’s holes meander off and around the hill. Thick fescue grasses line the course, and a combination of long holes and short par-4s test golfers’ strategy in shot-making.
At the Island Hotel, guests can stay the night in one of more than 400 rooms or luxury suites or book a one of 42 sites in the RV Park. The resort offers free transportation services from the RV Park to the casino.
Island Resort and Casino makes booking a golf trip easy with their Stay & Play packages. Golfers can choose a package with the perfect number of rounds and nights to stay for them, with rates that include ½ cart, GPS system, warm-up balls, and a stay in a standard guest room at the Island Hotel.
Staying onsite allows groups to spend the day golfing, eat at the onsite dining establishments, and end the night with gaming in the casino.
4519 NORTH RIVER ROAD | FREELAND, MICHIGAN
A John Sanford design, the par-72 championship course at Apple Mountain was built to challenge golfers of all ages and abilities, offering four tee boxes, grand fairways, scenic vistas, and the feeling of up-north style golf.
The land the golf course occupies was once an apple orchard, and subtle clues to the history of the property are integrated in the course’s design. Ben Schippers, marketing manager at Apple Mountain, indicated that the fifth hole of the course, a par-3, features an apple-shaped green and bunker complex, and on the sixth hole, a par-4, there is an apple-shaped bunker complex in the middle of the fairway, requiring a well-placed tee shot.
“Holes five and six are the pinnacle of the Apple Mountain experience as both are played from the top of the mountain,” Schippers said. “The change in elevation on the par-3 fifth hole requires careful club selection to place the ball on a green that is full of subtle breaks. The tee shot on the par-4 sixth hole features views from the highest peak in the region, and a well-placed shot makes way for good opportunity on the approach into a forgiving green.”
Apple Mountain’s location just off Interstate-75 makes it an accessible up-north style golf course for those in the lower part of the state, as well as an easy stop for groups making the trek farther north during their golf trip, according to Schippers.
While golfing at Apple Mountain, guests can also grab a bite to eat. Offering quick, casual fare, Putter’s Pointe Café on the main level of the Club House is a simple solution to those wanting a snack or beverage before or after playing the course. Mountain View Restaurant hosts casual elegance and a variety of cuisine and beverages, a perfect venue for a sit-down meal with clients, friends, or a date night.
“We anticipate wrapping up a refresh of our Club House building prior to the start of the 2022 season. The work includes the addition of a state-of-the-art indoor golf simulator featuring TrackMan 4,” Schippers said. “We’re excited to make golf a year-round experience with access to over 100 iconic courses and the ability to use insights to improve your game year-round.”
Originally published in The Golf Explorer: Michigan’s Journal to Incredible Golf, Volume 6
To read Part I of III
To read Part II of III