Escape rooms have certainly come into vogue over the past few years. The premise is simple – a group of friends or family members must solve a series of puzzles or riddles in order to escape their surroundings in an allotted amount of time.
BOYNE Golf, Michigan’s preeminent family of golf resorts and championship courses, has a far superior take on what constitutes an escape. And more importantly, there are no mental gymnastics required to achieve your reward.
Their Great Escape Golf Vacation started over 30 years ago as a way to entice golfers to visit northern Michigan on extended-stay golf trips. Over the decades, the package evolved and became North America’s best golfing value and the perfect destination for a buddies’ golf trip, couple’s golf getaway, or simply a golf escape with friends.
Ken Griffin, sales and marketing director at BOYNE, explains the lure of the Great Escape Package. “The Great Escape satisfies the golf appetite for all and begins with five nights lodging at Boyne Highlands Resort or Boyne Mountain Resorts,” began Griffin. Our guests will also receive a welcome reception, gift package, breakfast and dinner daily, unlimited golf on seven of BOYNE Golf’s championship courses, as well as preferred pricing at Boyne’s flagship property, Bay Harbor Golf Club,” concluded Griffin.
The key to the 30 year run of package success is that golfers have the option to custom build the package. You can select which golf courses to play, where to dine (including Boyne Country Club, Bay Harbor Golf Club or Young American’s Dinner Theatre), obtain Odawa Casino gaming vouchers, merchandise packages, custom club fitting, and instruction. It all can be built into a one week Great Escape for less than $1,000 per person based upon double occupancy.
Now we will warn you, the hardest decision when securing a Great Escape Package is planning your six day itinerary. Thankfully, Midwest Golfing Magazine has experienced all that BOYNE has to offer and is thrilled to offer a summary of each property.
But we before we delve into each resort individually, let’s begin with a quick overview. The power of BOYNE golf can be quantified into two numbers: 10 and 3. Ten remarkable golf courses spanning three resorts in Michigan’s northern lower peninsula. Almost as important as 10 and 3 is that all three properties are within 30 minutes of each other. And thanks to being on the far western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, golfers can experience 54 holes per day during the long summer days at BOYNE. Most stay and play packages that tout unlimited golf are not buoyed by 15 hours of daylight, yet another reason why the Great Escape Package presents such a phenomenal value.
BOYNE’S flagship property is Bay Harbor Golf Club. The world was first introduced to Arthur Hills’ masterpiece as Phil Mickelson bested Tom Lehman on Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf in 1998. Three distinctive nine hole courses comprise Bay Harbor, with the Links/Quarry routing a favorite among golfers near and far. The Links 9 takes golfers on a tumbling, heaving thrill ride set against Little Traverse Bay. Wispy fescue grass blowing in the ever present wind conjures up images of playing in the British Isles.
The Quarry 9 is equally dramatic, as monumental elevation changes and inland lakes converge to form a thoroughly enjoyable experience. In fact, holes 3 through 9 might be the finest consecutive holes in all of Michigan. The final two holes culminate with epic views of Little Traverse Bay and send my mind to thoughts of Pebble Beach every time I play.
Across the street from Bay Harbor resides Crooked Tree Golf Club, another memorable track that has become a staple for locals. Even though Crooked Tree GC isn’t right on the bay, the property boasts the high ground and therefore overlooks Little Traverse Bay throughout your round. Hills renovated the final three holes earlier in the decade and they are ones you will not soon forget.
If you think variety is the spice of life when it comes to your golf game, then Boyne Highlands Resort in nearby Harbor Springs has you covered. Four courses dot stunning terrain that was destined for golf.
BOYNE’S very first course, The Heather, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016, is Robert Trent Jones golf at its finest. Tree-lined fairways and sculpted bunkers are complemented by subtle elevation changes and purposeful water hazards. The 18th hole is highlighted by a downhill tee shot followed by a nerve-racking approach to a peninsula green. Here’s hoping you have already closed out your match before this memorable finishing hole!
MGM’s personal favorite at the Highlands is The Hills, which is named after designer Arthur Hills. The 7,300+ yard behemoth is as much a beauty as a beast. Towering elevation changes and visually fascinating vistas abound on The Hills Course, with none more intriguing than the 570- yard par-5 13th. It has been called BOYNE’S Everest and for good reason. It is one of the few holes in America that compels you to unload a small shag bag off the tee. If double-digit hang times and stunning approach shots strike your fancy, then the 13th is your lucky hole.
The Donald Ross Memorial Course is aptly named, as it pays tribute to the legendary Scottish designer. If you are a student of the game and enjoy early 1900’s architecture, then a four hour journey back in time must be done. The final course on-site, The Moor, may not receive the accolades of the previous triumvirate, but is a challenging layout with more twists and turns than your favorite spy novel. Four holes on the front nine alone are dogleg rights that favor the player who can hit a power fade.
Approximately 30 minutes from The Highlands is Boyne Mountain Resort, the final property under the BOYNE Golf umbrella. The 4,000 acre property is a beautiful departure of what you’d expect to find in northern Michigan according to Ken Griffin.
“Boyne Mountain’s two courses offer a spectacular mountainside setting,” stated Griffin. “Golfers on The Alpine are afforded a myriad of breathtaking views of nearby Deer Lake. While The Monument, borrows from the pages of famous architects like Donald Ross, Dr. Alister Mackenzie, and Pete Dye while paying homage to the game’s most important influencers. With holes dedicated to key players and contributors, ‘fun’ is the operative word from the opening tee shot high atop Boyne Mountain to the 18th hole’s signature island green,” explained Griffin.
Even more than the ability to play 10 championship courses in a centrally-located area, Boyne’s enduring hallmark is their passionate drive to never rest on their sizable laurels. To that end, BOYNE Golf is always looking to improve the golfer’s experience.
“We have evolved in many ways over the years,” explained Josh Ritcher, BOYNE’s Director of Golf. “Improving playability and aesthetics have been at the center of our goals. Offering a variety of tees is currently in vogue, but all of our courses have featured at least five tee options for over 20 years, which gives guests the opportunity to select the distance that provides them the best chance to shoot a good score. On The Moor we’ve improved playability by renovating bunkers including some removal of bunkers and reshaping of others. We have also selectively removed trees and thinned out areas of underbrush to allow guests to find their ball more often and be able to play it. At Bay Harbor Golf Club we have removed many trees that have grown over the years to maintain the original look and playability of course as it was designed. On The Monument course we have removed trees, reshaped bunkers, and moved tees to provide better sight lines and enhance the overall golf experience,” stated Ritcher.
MGM would be remiss if we didn’t mention that BOYNE isn’t just about playing as much golf as humanly possible within one day or over the span of your trip. All three resorts give guests the ideal platform to relax their vacation away. All three properties feature world-class spas and a bevy of top-end dining options. Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Avalanche Bay, resides within Boyne Mountain and is the ultimate answer to, “what should our group do on rainy day?”
The idea of an escape room is to eventually get out. With BOYNE’S Great Escape Package the end goal should be to stay as long as you possibly can. For more information, visit http://www.boyne.com/golf?utm_medium=Digital-Magazine&utm_source=MidwestGolfingMag&utm_campaign=GOLF_EvergreenGolf&utm_content=2018.1.18&nck=8666645564 or call 866.664.5564.
The BOYNE Golf Academy is Another Reason to Choose BOYNE
Whether you’ve decided to take your first step into the world of golf, introduce your kids to the game, or just looking to move one stroke closer to scratch, the nationally recognized professional instructors at the BOYNE Golf Academy can help you reach your goals. Their dedicated staff of golf professionals at Boyne Highlands Resort and Boyne Mountain Resort have the skills, knowledge, and state-of-the-art teaching technology necessary to improve every aspect of your game – from short to long. BOYNE’s PGA Pros combine the state-of-the-art technology of Trackman and GEARS Club and Body Tracking System with the experience of their professionally recognized staff to improve your game and add enjoyment to every round! For more information on all programs the academy offers, visit https://www.boyne.com/boynehighlands/golf/instruction/boyne-golf-academy-programs?utm_medium=Digital-Magazine&utm_source=MidwestGolfingMag&utm_campaign=GOLF_BOYNEGolfAcademy&utm_content=2018.1.18&nck=8442240021 or call (844) 224-0021.