IT’S TEE TIME AT BOYNE GOLF
By Chip Bogey II
Home to eleven premier golf courses, spanning three resorts in the scenic northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Boyne Golf opened its season in late April at Hidden River Golf & Casting Club. Located in Brutus, a 10-mile drive from Boyne Highlands Resort, the par 72, 7,101-yard course is to this player’s mind one of the best courses in the state.
Designed by Michigan native Bruce Mathews III, Hidden River is a player-friendly layout set amid tall pines. New for this season is a fully renovated lodge-style clubhouse overlooking the scenic Maple River. The lodge also houses the Rainbow Room restaurant, and comes complete with patio for cocktailing and edibles.
“As spring arrives in northern Michigan, we are excited to kick off another golf season and are very pleased with the early condition of our courses,” says Bernie Friedrich, Boyne Resorts’ senior vice president of golf operations. “In addition to the new clubhouse at Hidden River, we have many new services and improvements that we look forward to sharing with guests.”
They include BOYNE Golf Academy’s installation of GEARS, a full-swing club and body tracking system. It is the Midwest’s first training center to offer the platform. Other items are the construction of five new tee boxes on No. 18 of The Monument, said to improve site lines and playability, and the arrival of 72 tech-savvy EZ-GO TXT golf carts at The Heather, equipped with USB ports to recharge mobile phones, rangefinders and other small electronics.
Other additions are the launch of apps featuring 3-D hole flyovers, yardage information and audio descriptions for 10 courses, as well as printed professional yardage books. That said, nothing beats an Arnold Palmer and a hot dog at the halfway house – except a spiked AP with two dogs– and with that my deuce took to the links for a few rounds.
Boyne’s three flagship courses are designed and inspired by architects Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Arthur Hills and Donald Ross, and seem to have had the player of all levels in mind. Bay Harbor Golf Club, for example, at 9 holes, sets on cliffs along the Michigan coastline evoking the game’s ancient roots.
Arthur Hills is 18 holes of tumbling terrain and wide fairways that bears all the markings of a master designer. Deceptively complex, the beauty of the greens, engulfed in tall pines, provides breathtaking looks and challenging links. We arrived to find an early morning mist rising from the pond, picture perfect, until one swallowed my Titleist.
And, then there is the flawlessly-conditioned Robert Trent Jones designed, 18 hole beauty, known as The Heather. For purists of the sport there is really nothing like it in the state. A timeless course that spans 7,118 yards, heralded by Golf Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play”, we found the links offered mystery and drama at nearly every swing. In fact, it is here where I exercised my right to take a divot on each and every fairway, in the style of Henrik Stenson during his 2013 PGA Tour.
No, swingers, there is really nothing like a fluffy lie in northern Michigan. Supported by historic, lakeside resort towns Charlevoix, Harbor Springs and Petoskey, one can follow in Hemmingway’s footsteps – though, he was a boxer, fisherman, hunter and writer, and rarely, if ever, played golf – taking in the famous northern Michigan sunsets and downing a few pints.
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