While snowbirds escape the extreme summer temperatures in sunbelt destinations such as Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas, and Scottsdale, golf is just starting to heat up in northern Michigan, but the temperatures aren't.
Summer weather seldom eclipses 80 degrees, and the days are so long — there's sunlight well past 9 p.m. — that 36 and even 54-hole days are entirely possible for the golf-starved.
Michigan has more golf courses (nine) in Golf Digest's Top 100 Public Courses than any other state except South Carolina. Michigan also has the highest ratio of golf courses per capita.
"There are more high-end golf resort destinations within a close proximity than anywhere else in the country," says Kevin Frisch of Rest & Golf Marketing.
Once your recreational vehicle is parked at the Signature Motor Coast Resort in Bay Harbor, Michigan, you'll be within an hour's drive of many of the country's top courses. Of course, you may not want to leave the resort that's filled with luxurious amenities. Spend time in the Grand Clubhouse, relax by the pool and spa, take a walk through the forest, or enjoy a hearty workout in the state-of-the-art fitness center. Play billiards, view a movie in the private theater room, or be entertained at one of the many evening planned events.
But if you must, unpack your clubs and follow a little white ball around on nearby courses from A to Z — or in this case, B to Y. Bay Harbor Golf Club in Bay Harbor is regarded as one of the premier golf course in America and is one of only two 27-hole facilities to make the illustrious list of Michigan's Monsters Golf Courses. The Links, Quarry and Preserve create Bay Harbor, which is as challenging as it is beautiful. At around $160 for 18 holes, it may also be a challenge to your wallet. On the other end of the alphabet and price point is Ye Nyne Olde Holles Golf Club in East Jordan. Play 18 holes for under $40. Built in the mid-1920s in the Scottish tradition, the course overlooks beautiful Lake Charlevoix.
Drive your tow vehicle to the Black Forest course at Black Forest at Wilderness Valley — 42 miles from Bay Harbor. Designed by Michigan resident Tom Doak, the Black Forest course has more than 100 bunkers. You'll find 22 of them on the 18th green.
Within 10 miles is The Heather, at Boyne Highlands Resort, which features a Robert Trent Jones Sr. design. While many northern Michigan golf courses are too steep to walk comfortably, walking is highly encouraged on this course.
Take a trip back in time by visiting The Jewel on Mackinac Island, just 55 miles from Bay Harbor. The Grand Hotel's Jewel golf course features nine holes dating back to 1901. Golfers are transported between the old and new nine by a horse and carriage.
The Tradition at Treetops Resort, a short 36 miles from Bay Harbor, is famous for its dramatic, modern golf courses with steep elevation changes and incredible mountain backdrops.
To warm up before taking on any of the courses, stay within the luxurious Signature Motor Coast Resort at Bay Harbor and practice on the 9-hole putting course. Then relax in the clubhouse, at the pool and spa, or on the outdoor patio in front of the wood-burning fireplace. Check their website for special offers.
Motorcoach Resort at Bay Harbor
5505 Charlevoix Ave (US 31 South)
Petoskey, MI 49770