Northern Michigan Golf?

Thinking about making a trip up to play Arcadia Bluffs and I am looking for a couple of other course recommendations and hotels in the area? Thanks.
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Kingsley Club, one of the best courses you'll ever play.
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It would really depend on how far you are willing to drive from Arcadia, Kingsley for sure and if you go towards Traverse City there is Lelanau Club as well as the courses at Grand Traverse Resort. Southwest of TC, close to Arcadia is a fun course called Mistwood as well as Champion Hill, not high fee places, but very fun to play.
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Thanks Bend. I may need to touch base with you as you have obviously made the drive up from Ohio.
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It may be a little bit out of the way but you could stop in Roscommon and play Forest Dunes. Or stop in East Lansing and play Eagle Eye. There are a lot of options on your way up, it just depends how far out of the way you want to drive. There is a small but good article in Golf Digest this month about northern Michigan golf. The author put Forest Dunes in his top 5 favorite public courses along with the likes of Pastempieo, Bethpage Black and Pacific Dunes.
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They are not in the area, but on your way up: The Grande in Jackson, MI is phenomenal. Tulleymore in Stanwood is also great. Eagle Eye in East Lansing is great. Thousand Oaks in Grand Rapids is a great design as well. Arcadia is really in the middle of nowhere.
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They are not in the area, but on your way up: The Grande in Jackson, MI is phenomenal. Tulleymore in Stanwood is also great. Eagle Eye in East Lansing is great. Thousand Oaks in Grand Rapids is a great design as well. Arcadia is really in the middle of nowhere.
Thousand Oaks is good, but I didn't think about it until I read a review on here about how none of the holes are very memeroable, they all just seem to meld into each other. I'll let others comment since I have not played it, but should open discussion should he go to this end of the state, about Pilgrim's Run.
One thing I will say is coming from Ohio, if you're on I-75 south of Flint, you want to play Shepherd's Hollow. Up north feel, and unortunately the recession is hitting Detroit hard right now, so even SH is a good price.
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They are not in the area, but on your way up: The Grande in Jackson, MI is phenomenal. Tulleymore in Stanwood is also great. Eagle Eye in East Lansing is great. Thousand Oaks in Grand Rapids is a great design as well. Arcadia is really in the middle of nowhere.
Thousand Oaks is good, but I didn't think about it until I read a review on here about how none of the holes are very memeroable, they all just seem to meld into each other. I'll let others comment since I have not played it, but should open discussion should he go to this end of the state, about Pilgrim's Run.
One thing I will say is coming from Ohio, if you're on I-75 south of Flint, you want to play Shepherd's Hollow. Up north feel, and unortunately the recession is hitting Detroit hard right now, so even SH is a good price.
I can't speak to conditioning, since it's been a few years, but Thousand Oaks has evelated tees (which I love) on just about every hole. While you may not be wowed by certain holes in particular, the summation of the holes wows me plenty. I didn't think about it at the time, but afterward, I thought to myself that it was one of the most enjoyable courses I've played.
If you're going to Arcadia, I'd just play 36 there each day rather than worry about what else to mix inthat's nearby. It's that good.
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I'm from Ohio and we vacation in that area. The last few years we have stayed at Bear Lake; about 5 minutes from Arcadia Bluffs. In late September, we also will be having our second annual guys fall golf trip to that area. Here are some courses I have played, or have received direct feedback:
1. Arcadia Bluffs - Amazing course and all-around facility. Worth 2 rounds if you have time. The setting is obviously breathtaking, but I think the course gets shortchanged by some who question it's architectural merit. I think every hole is very memorable and the greens are demanding. You must have lunch or dinner on the back deck of the clubhouse.
2. Kingsley Club - It's private but I think they are generous in allowing public play. The staff is very gracious and accomodating. It is a very interesting course. I personally like it, although you have to be ready to accept the "rub of the land" and very demanding greens. I've played it twice and really enjoyed both rounds. I took some guys last fall and they did not enjoy the round as much as I did. It was too brutal for them (their words).
3. Crystal Mountain - We played the Mountain Course last fall. It was a very nice resort course. Not the same league as Arcadia or Kingsley, but no slouch in filling out a golf trip. Also the resort has a nice restaurant/pub for post round food and drinks (The Thistle). We will be playing its sister course, Benzie Valley, this fall. I have not played it yet, but from reports it seems to fit the same bill as the Mountain Course.
4. The Heathlands - In my opinion, this one is a real sleeper. I played this in July for the first time. I really enjoyed it. It was not as dramatic as Arcadia or Kingsley, but it had some very interesting holes and some good strategic elements. This course is about 10-15 minutes due south of Arcadia in Onekama.
5. Bear Lake County Highlands - This is a traditional local public course. It's a nice relaxing play for convenience. Play this only if you are looking simply to fit in a convenient round.
6. Manistee National - I haven't played these courses (there are 2 courses on site), but one of my partners has. He says they are both good courses. From all that I've read, they sound like they would be good resort type courses, along the lines of the Crystal Mountain courses in quality. These courses likely don't have the elevation changes of Crystal Mountain.
7. The Hemlock. On our trip in September, I think we are going to play The Hemlock in Ludington. This looks to be roughly an hour south of Arcadia. It looks pretty interesting.
8. King's Challenge. This is about 1 1/2 hours north of Arcadia in Leelanua County. It's not that close, and while an OK course, I would not work to fit it into your trip. It's an Arnold Palmer course with some interesting holes and some with major elevation changes. I believe the course is in the middle of some renovations, so it would also have that going against it for this year.
Depending on your route to the Arcadia area, you have some mid-drive options. If you go 127 north from Lansing, you can hit The Pohlcat or Buck's Run in Mt. Pleasant. If you go further west to Grand Rapids and then head north, you can bring Tullymore and St. Ives into the equation. These travel routes are probably not as fast as taking 23 to I75 in Flint and then 10 across the state, but that quicker route does not add a lot of mid-route options to my knowledge.
I've played some other Northern Michigan golf that I don't think would fit as well with the Arcadia area. Just in case you are considering them, Forest Dunes is an absolute must play, I really enjoyed True North near Harbor Springs and put it just below Arcadia/Forest Dunes/Kingsley, The Nightmare right off of I75 near West Branch is quite enjoyable and above-average IMO, the 2 courses at Boyne Mountain are OK but nothing to write home about. Again, these are not in the Arcadia area.
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Thanks Cross. Great summary. Right now, I am contemplating Arcadia (36 holes), Kingsley, and Forest Dunes. Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy. Now, I just need some recommendations on lodging...
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They are not in the area, but on your way up: The Grande in Jackson, MI is phenomenal. Tulleymore in Stanwood is also great. Eagle Eye in East Lansing is great. Thousand Oaks in Grand Rapids is a great design as well. Arcadia is really in the middle of nowhere.
Thousand Oaks is good, but I didn't think about it until I read a review on here about how none of the holes are very memeroable, they all just seem to meld into each other. I'll let others comment since I have not played it, but should open discussion should he go to this end of the state, about Pilgrim's Run.
One thing I will say is coming from Ohio, if you're on I-75 south of Flint, you want to play Shepherd's Hollow. Up north feel, and unortunately the recession is hitting Detroit hard right now, so even SH is a good price.
I can't speak to conditioning, since it's been a few years, but Thousand Oaks has evelated tees (which I love) on just about every hole. While you may not be wowed by certain holes in particular, the summation of the holes wows me plenty. I didn't think about it at the time, but afterward, I thought to myself that it was one of the most enjoyable courses I've played.
If you're going to Arcadia, I'd just play 36 there each day rather than worry about what else to mix inthat's nearby. It's that good.
I played Thousand Oaks in October, but the conditioning I think is quite good. I don't think there is any problem there. I just found a certain sameness to a lot of the holes. I love elevation change as well, there just seemed to be something missing. I made three birdies there that day(so I do have some positive impressions), I really can't remember the hoels I made them on and how I came to make them(which is rare for me on an away course.)
I'm not saying I wouldn't play it again, it would certainly be part of a cluster to Grand Rapids if I go back, but I think the way the OP intimated what they were looking for, they may be slightly disappointed.
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Maybe I just needed to play better the other 15 holes!!!..:-)
(they have taken their course tour which was very nice and detailed, and replaced it simply with a picture and yardage for each hole on their website.) A little disappointed they did that.
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UDFlyer, that is going to be a great trip. If I was going to design my ultimate Northern Michigan "quality" golf trip, those 3 would be at the top of the list.
Just a couple thoughts from experience/research (take them as just that):
(1) If you are going to play Arcadia twice in 1-day, definitely consider the time of year and the length of daylight. We played 36 in mid-October last fall, we had one of the first tee times of the day and we had to go straight from the 18th green to the 1st tee to make the second tee time (no lunch). We then finished just before dark, with no time to spare. It was a bit of a "forced march" and took a little away from the experience.
(2) If you don't plan on having one "base of operations" for the entire trip, Kingsley has some cottages on site for member use. I don't know if they would allow non-members to use them, but it may be a housing option. If nightlife is something you are looking for, this will not suffice.
Forest Dunes definitely has an on-site housing option available for the public. It is part of a package deal with the round. As with Kingsley, nightlife will not be an option.
Portage Point Inn is a classic era hotel just south of Arcadia in the town of Onekama. It is right on the shore of Portage Lake and a few hundred yards from the Lake Michigan shore/beach. It has a lot of character, but it will not be 5-star quality. In the Arcadia area, however, you won't find much better.
(3) If you do want one place to stay between rounds and/or nightlife is something you want, Traverse City is probably your best bet. Although I have never stayed in Traverse City, it is not out of the question to use it as a base of operations for all these courses. Arcadia and Forest Dunes are probably around 1 hour away, maybe a little more. Kingsley is just a few minutes south of town. This may be your only option for "nightlife" such as it is Up North.
Hope this helps. As you can probably tell, I love talking about Northern Michigan and its golf. Don't care much for their football team in Ann Arbor though.
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If your going up north Boyne is def. where u should go... They have excellent golf courses and resorts... The Heather and Highlands are two of the best tracks in the country, along with Bay Harbour and DR Memorial... Arcadia is scenic, but if you want great tracks hit Boyne...
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I played Arcadia recently - you absolutely must play there and I would say prolly 36.
The first hole is the weakest. Whilst you are there, if you are by Frankfort then drive by Crystal Downs... when of the US' top 10 courses by some measures I think. Not sure you'll get on but worth a look if you get the chance.
Greg
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If I were coming up from Ohio, with those courses in mind, here's how I'd do it:
Day 1: Drive, play Forest Dunes in the afternoon, drive to Traverse City, enjoy yourself.
Day 2: Awake early, drive the hour to Arcadia, play 36 at the Bluffs, spend the night at Crystal Mountain, which is, unfortunately, the best place in the area. (My parents live in Arcadia, so I'm fairly comfortable with that assessment.)
Day 3: Pack up, drive to Kingsley, play 18 (you probably won't want any more), and hit the road for home. If you have a fourth day, spend the night back in Traverse City and play The Bear at GT Resort the next day.
These are all great courses, and I love N MI golf. October can be cold, but the courses can also be in great shape. I'm a big fan of both the Leelenau Club and Mistwood as well, which are West and NW of Traverse City. They are a bit more laid back but good tracks.
I drove by The Bear just the other day on my way back to North Carolina, and it looks beautiful. I am consistently surprised that it doesn't get much credit for as good of a course as it is. The conditions were not good for a while, but it seems like they are paying a lot more attention to the course now than they were when they first purchased it.
Anyway, there's a ton of great golf up there (I played the Heathlands two weeks ago too), and it is hard to go to far wrong. If you ever find yourself in need of a nutty day, Twin Birch near Kalkaska offers a "golf nut" package in mid-summer: unlimited golf with cart and lunch for $45/person. I played 51 holes one day, and we didn't start until almost 10 AM. I love the late sunsets.
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I have been fortunate to play most of the better courses in lower michigan. If your limited to public play (which most are) here are my recommendations:
1. forest dunes - the best course in the state (hands down), great layout and always in perfect condition (could play this every day and never get sick of it...)
2. kingsley club (allow some public play) - the front nine is a great links layout, green complexes are awesome; if you are above a 8 handicap don't bother, you won't have fun (PS- don't forget the bottle on 18)...
3. arcadia - very scenic and great layout; the green complexes are a joke (this takes a lot away from the track); play the right box (plan on a 20 mph wind and 10 degrees cooler weather)
4. true north
5. black lake
6. Tullymore
7. Pilgrim's Run
skip Treetops and many of the Boyne courses, overrated and not that special...Manistee national (bring your bug spray..the one 18 is in the national forest) not great
let me know if you have questions on any other tracks in Northwest Michigan
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These would be my pics
1. Forest Dunes-hands down for golf as the previous poster outlined.
2. Arcadia- incredible course and scenery
3. Kingsley- really nice....greens were crazy fast ...
4. Gailes - some hate it and some love it..... it thought it was great as far as links go...
5. Donald Ross Memorial course
6. Bear
7. Bay Harbor-awesome views.....over priced
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Just played Arcadia yesterday, it's an incredible course. In amazing shape right now and like everyone else has said, the scenery is unbelievable. The greens are quite demanding, and are rolling pretty slick.
Like someone else mentioned, if you make it down to the Ludington area, The Hemlock is an excellent course. Looks like it's actually only $50 right now, or $40 if you can get it in after 3:00pm. TONS of sand on this course...lining full length of fairways, completely surrounding some greens. Although it's close to Lake Michigan, there's no views like Arcadia unfortunately. It is however a beautiful course and very fun to play.
Depending which ways you travel, if you happen to make it to the Gaylord area you've opened up a huge assortment of courses as well. The whole Treetops Resort, Black Bear, Elk Ridge, etc.
If you travel through East Lansing, Eagle Eye is a great stop from what I hear. It's only a couple miles from my place and I've never played it though