The Michigan Road: Top Spots For Golf, etcetera
Now that I am a full three weeks removed from the Michigan Trail, I can reflect back on the best of the best, what each place and space had to offer to which type of traveler. Here is my “Best” list from the seven properties that I visited.
Best Single Golf Course:
Tie between Tullymore and Arcadia Bluffs. They stood out beyond the other fine courses. If Bay Harbor’s three nines had a 3500-yard set of tees, they would be listed beside the other two.
Best Group of Courses:
Boyne Highlands. With four courses on site and 1.5 just up the road (not to mention the two at Boyne Mountain), the quality and quantity at Boyne surpases all the other properties, although Treetops and Shanty Creek were not far away.
Tie. Crystal Mountain and St. Ives. The Kinlochen building had everything under one roof (pub, dining, pro shop) and a suite to die for. Since it rained only once in Michigan (our day at Crystal), we strongly debated the merits of staying inside by the fire and watching The Golf Channel. Ultimately, and for the better, we ventured out to play Mountain Ridge. If this joint builds the world-class course they have planned, watch out! St. Ives’ inn is located a wee hill down from the clubhouse and St. Ives first tee, with Tullymore up the road a piece. Huge room, Murphy bed in the wall, separate sleeping quarters, continental breakfast, just a major calm about the whole spot.
Best Conference Center:
Shanty Creek. There’s something that the French call an “I-don’t-know-what” about Shanty Creek that lets you know they mean business (metaphorically and literally.) There is a tightness to the properties, an adult (in the best sense of the word) feeling to the place. They have Schuss Village for family getaways, but Cedar and Summit have that bring-your-clients or bring-your-team feel to the place. The Cedar Village suite traded the cozy feeling of Kinlochen for the efficient feel of the corporate world.
Best Golf Atmosphere:
Treetops. You can tell that a golf professional runs this place. Everything about the North Clubhouse at Treetops oozed golf, from the grill room to the electricity in the air to the enthusiasm of the employees. If the lodging were up by the North Clubhouse, this just might qualify as heaven.
Tie. Shanty Creek and Crystal Mountain. I was met by an executive team from Shanty Creek, fresh off plans to gut and reinvigorate the Summit Lodge, who wanted to know my every thought on the entire, massive property. As far as Crystal, when their rep slogs his way through 18 soaked holes with you, that’s a welcome!
Best Relief Pitcher:
Arcadia Bluffs. I was warned that no one gets preferential treatment at Arcadia Bluffs, and I was right. Cart girl made her first visit to our group on hole # 16 (my line of the day: too bad we didn’t see you earlier, when we were thirsty), ranger instructed us to catch up (we were four minutes behind), even though the group behind us was not within sight, and the group ahead of us was pretty close. We made it our goal to fry the GPS by playing so fast it wouldn’t know what to do (ended up 20 minutes under time–whoo hoo!) Ranger caught up on ten tee with a cold draft for me, along with an apology for being so prickly. Funny thing was, he had no idea who I was.
None of them. If Michigan lacks one thing, it’s an east-west highway. If you love back roads, this is the place for you.
Bay Harbor. This witch came in off the lake with such furry, we hid in a cart tunnel under a road, between the third green and fourth tees of the Links Nine. With six other carts. In a tunnel that almost flooded (we were up on the curbs, on our toes.) When we went back out, at least five trees had been knocked down, including three that completely blocked the cart path to the fifth tee. Crazy storm! Passed through in twenty minutes… lightning and everything. Their In-Cart, GPS monitor worked perfectly, telling us when to get the hell off the course and when to go back out.
Best Reason To Leave Your Room:
Room at Boyne Highlands. French alps ambience, two single beds in one room, four bunk beds in another. Talk about an efficiency unit. I was never in the military, but this felt like the next best thing to a barracks. Since they have so much great golf, my guess is that a renovation of the inn is high on their list of priorities.
Best Place To Take Your Kids:
Crystal Mountain. So much to do, from the traditional “day camp” bead and paint activities to a mini-water park (no slides) to a faux-village atmosphere. Plans include an improved fitness center which, beyond the new golf course, might be all they need (maybe a water slide or two.)
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Ranger caught up on ten tee with a cold draft for me, along with an apology for being so prickly. Funny thing was, he had no idea who I was.
He didn't even know who you were Ron Mon. Imagine that. The great Ron Mon went unrecognized. That's like Tom Cruise walking down Broadway hand-in-hand with a naked Paris Hilton and nobody stopping them.
Who exactly are you Ron Mon? Please enlighten us all to your greatness.
And I have to agree with BTuck on the cart girl. Why would you hit her with some smart alec comment? It's not her fault if they only have one cart girl out there, or if she was due for a break and took it.
Have some guts and go to the GM or head pro if you have complaints on their setup rather than forcing your wit on a girl just trying to earn a few tips.
You did answer the question if you're as annoying in person as you are in blogs though.
The point? It's more fun to make a big-time director of golf feel bad than a cart girl or a ranger.
10. Waiting for my nails to dry
9. Ran out of ice
8. Fending off sexual advances from Balwin's 4 some .....
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