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It's Always a Beautiful Game at BOYNE Golf by Glen Turk



BOYNE Golf’s Continued Improvements Add to the Splendor of the Northern Michigan Juggernaut 


     Soccer is often touted as “The Beautiful Game,” but that marketing moniker may be an even better fit for golf thanks to the ever-changing vistas, with canvases that can be altered and improved over time.


    The world-renowned BOYNE Golf is known for its dynamic canvases and for the fact that its iconic brand is in a constant state of growth and improvement.  Bernie Friedrich, former Senior Vice President and currently the Director of Course Renovations and Development, has been a witness to this journey. The 2023 PGA National Golf Executive of the Year began his Boyne adventure in 1976 when hired as the PGA Professional at Boyne Mountain. 


     “I’ve been fortunate to see us grow from three courses to our current ten BOYNE Golf courses in Michigan and 13 throughout the United States,” began the humble Friedrich. “Through this growth, we came to understand that a BOYNE Golf experience is about much more than quantity. Our guest surveys continue to show that the quality of the turf and the pace of play are the two biggest factors that keep guests coming back. Offering the same conditions across the variety of ten courses here in Michigan is certainly a challenge, but our superintendents understand the importance of maintaining high standards across all ten courses and that it is fundamental to the BOYNE Golf experience,” concluded Friedrich.



    What sets the BOYNE Golf experience apart is the variety it offers. Golfers, whether local or from afar, are privileged to a proverbial all-you-can-golf buffet across the 10 courses, all within an 18-mile radius of Petoskey, MI. Three magnificent resorts, each with its unique charm, tie the golf courses together, offering distinctive lodging experiences tailored to your group type, accommodation preferences, and amenity offerings.


    Last summer I was fortunate enough to stay in one of Boyne’s newly renovated 89 rooms at the Main Lodge of The Highlands at Harbor Springs. The Highlands transports guests into a Scottish Highlands resort setting, complete with all the latest amenities. “The new rooms in the Main Lodge at The Highlands and Chalet Edelweiss at Boyne Mountain have elevated our lodging experiences at both resorts and have been especially well received by couples and women traveling to golf,” began Ken Griffin, BOYNE Golf’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “They appreciate that we now have lodging experiences at these resorts that are commensurate with the quality of our golf courses.” 


    The Highlands is home to four dynamic golf courses, including The Heather, which was awarded the 2019 NGCOA (National Golf Course Owners Association) prestigious Course of the Year Award. The Grand Dame of Northern Michigan has hosted every major state tournament since opening in 1966, including the 113th Michigan Amateur this summer. 



     Conversely, the Arthur Hills course is anything but parkland, thanks to jaw-dropping views. The championship layout tips out at 7,312 yards but can be played all the way up to just over 4,800 yards thanks to six sets of tee boxes. The 9-mile cart path winds through a pine forest on its way to the plunging par-5 #13. It is a true Midwest signature hole of the “highest” order, with views of 4,000 acres of Northern Michigan forest from its tee box. The 570-yard par-5 is BOYNE Golf’s Mount Everest, as golfers can revel in a 10-story drop from tee to green and allow their tee shots to be suspended in animation for a double-digit hang time. 


    The Highlands is also home to The Moor. Boyne Golf’s staff recently completed an outstanding upgrade to the course, including widening fairways and creating new playing surfaces around the green complexes. Thanks to the renovation, golfers have improved angles into the greens and the ability to try a variety of short-game shots. 


    But the course with the greatest story to tell heading into the 2024 season is the Donald Ross Memorial, a tribute course to the father of American Classic Golf architecture. Opened in 1989, The Ross is a collection of 18 standout Ross holes from 14 legendary Ross courses. In 2021, Boyne contracted renowned Michigan designer Raymond Hearn to revitalize the property. 


   Josh Richter, Senior Vice President of Golf for all 13 Boyne Resorts courses in the U.S., can’t wait for golfers to experience a project that’s been three years in the making. “It is incredibly exciting. The opportunity to improve the Donald Ross Memorial course has been significant, however, the ability we have to restore these holes to be nearly identical to the holes they are modeled after is huge. Hole #15, a replica of Aronimink No. 11, may not only be the most stunning hole on the course but possibly on all the courses at The Highlands! Holes # 1 (Seminole No. 6). # 2 (Plainfield No 4), # 13 (Seminole No. 15), and #16 (Pinehurst #2 No. 10) are not only beautiful, but their playability has been improved tremendously,” explained Richter. 


    Twenty-six miles due south, Boyne Mountain offers two outstanding courses, The Monument and The Alpine. Both properties start with a mile+ cart ride up the mountain top allowing for golfers to then play down the slope for the next four hours. Throughout your round, you’ll not only see panoramic views of nearby Deer Lake, but you’ll pass by SkyBridge Michigan, near the first tees. The world’s longest timber suspension bridge at over 1100 feet long and 118 feet off the ground opened to rave reviews in 2022 and reinforces Boyne’s position as a leading destination. 


     My first glimpse into the power of Boyne was in 1999 when I watched Phil Mickelson take on Tom Lehman in Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. The program was less about the players and more about the venue. For Arthur Hills created one of his most enduring legacies at Bay Harbor Golf Club – a 27-hole property that still serves as a tribute to the game 25 years later. 


    Bay Harbor Golf Club is also a microcosm of what makes the ten course & three resort cavalcade at BOYNE Golf so distinctive, as golfers have the opportunity to play three wildly different nine hole tracks combined into diverse 18-hole experiences. The Links 9 features million-dollar views of Little Traverse Bay, while The Quarry 9 is located in the remains of an abandoned shale quarry. The final seven holes of The Quarry nine are as dramatic as they are diverse, as waterfalls, natural ponds, stone cliffs, and 40-foot gorges all converge to form a truly memorable playing experience. 


   The Preserve 9 might be the forgotten layout amongst traveling golfers, but to locals, its scenery and challenge are never underestimated. The 2nd and 7th holes share a double green and could give patrons the rare chance to practice a 100-foot putt twice during the same round. 


   27 holes are buoyed by the adjacent Inn at Bay Harbor, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan, plus Crooked Tree Golf Club, a stunning design that presides over Bay Harbor across the street. Thanks to the prodigious views of Little Traverse Bay below, Crooked Tree has garnered a reputation as being a must-play while in the Petoskey area.


     And getting to the region has never been easier according to Ken Griffin. “During COVID driving further distances was prevalent. I think it opened many Midwest golfers’ eyes to what we have at BOYNE Golf. They appreciated what they found and now they are returning year after year. Direct air service into Traverse City Airport (TVC) from 20 airports across the U.S. has been a big game changer. Plus, a recent 4-million-dollar upgrade to the airport at Boyne Mountain now provides access to executive jets with up to 16 passengers. This enhances access to our courses and resorts for both Midwestern guests and those traveling further distances. Golfers from all over the U.S. can meet in the middle for epic golf with an easier travel experience” explained Griffin. 


    This summer is shaping up to be another stellar year for BOYNE Golf. While it may be a great time for everyone in the golf industry, a few pioneers such as BOYNE Golf, have parlayed recent success into plans for long-term growth and improvement. That holds true with the beliefs of Boyne Resort’s Founder Everett Kircher, who proclaimed over 60 years ago, “If you are not investing and growing, you are falling behind.”


   For more information on BOYNE Golf's offerings, visit www.boynegolf.com or call 1- 877.269.8034 to reserve your stay or book tee times. 

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