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December has arrived and with snow, all of our beautiful Up North Golf Courses have closed for the season. Fingers crossed for a mild winter and early spring!

As mentioned last month, we went on a golfing spree in October. We golfed at many new places, a few that were on our bucket list. This month we are going to talk about Arcadia Bluffs that overlooks Lake Michigan in Arcadia. January’s issue we will share our weekend at The Grand Traverse Resort and golfing Spruce Run and The Wolverine.

Arcadia Bluffs

Golf Up North - Arcadia Bluffs

Arcadia Bluffs has been on my bucket list since I started golfing. Most Northern Michigan golfers have heard about the greens, the challenge, the views, the food, the scarce tee times, and the price. That last one was always what would make me hesitate when we would talk about trying to book a tee time. A little rich for my blood, but I looked at it as a one and done adventure if I was ever able to get a chance.

Well, that chance came and all it cost me was dinner. My son invited us to golf The Bluff Course with him and we jumped on it. Spoiler alert – the hype you hear about Arcadia is true!

Golf Up North - Arcadia BluffsOur round begins

The starter was incredibly helpful and offered us a few tips and then sent us off to the first hole. The wind-swept native grasses that you do not typically see on Northern Michigan courses were throughout the course. The fairways were deep rich green, and the greens were well maintained, even though the course was recently aerated and it was late fall. One of our golfers said they had seen similar grasses at LochenHeath. I would encounter a similar mix the next day at the Sundance Course at A-Ga-Ming.

Golf Up North - Arcadia BluffsFrom the very first hole to the last we were surrounded by beautiful views, at times I found them a little too mesmerizing and had to be reminded to play. Fortunately, the course was not busy, and we did not hold anyone up. We were also lucky that our tee time was 3pm and we would have an amazing sunset as we were finishing. The header of this month’s newsletter is that sunset.

Course Difficulty

I was golfing with 3 other golfers that are much better than me. I was worried about the difficulty level of the course and slowing pace of play. The course does have some holes that were frustrating, overall, it is a playable course for all skill levels. The Ladies tees gave a nice advantage for those of us that can drive straight against the men who cannot. LOL They may have hit further, but us girls stayed in the fairway more often than not.

Golf Up North - Arcadia BluffsAbout the Course

The landscape of the course offered some tricky dog legs, sod-walled bunkers, wide fairways, spacious greens, hilly terrain and of course the views. There are five par 3 holes, seven par 4 holes, 5 par 5 holes and Hole #8 that depending on the tee is a par 4 or 5, the course is par 72/73.

Par 3 Holes

For me I typically love the par 3 holes because the green is usually about the distance of my drives. I stand a good chance of getting a birdie or par depending on how well I hit it. I am also the type of golfer that can be easily intimidated by a hole. That is what happened on the first par 3  – hole 2. Only 124 yards from the red tees but you had to hit over sand traps and rough.

All the tees were at different elevation, in hindsight I may have done better with the white or gold tee box. With deep bunkers to the right of the pin precision is key, I hit the bunkers. The remaining four par 3 holes were hit or miss for me. Holes 6 & 13 were visually easier for me but were only 80 & 98 yards to the pin. Holes 9 & 17 were similar looking to hole 2 and should have been easy for me but I let them get in my head.

Golf Up North - Arcadia BluffsPar 5 Holes

Surprisingly, the par 5 holes were kind to me, all had great placement for the red tees and wide-open fairways. I was able to avoid all hazards and had respectable (for me) bogies on them. The other golfers did a little better with what I thought were difficult tee boxes.

Par 4 Holes

The par 4 holes were hit or miss for me. Everyone else was consistently hitting the green in regulation. Putting on a few of them was a different story.

Golf Up North - Arcadia BluffsHelpful tips

The course has its challenges but as mentioned before even for those of us that are newer to the game the course provided enough successful holes that the blow-up holes are a distant memory, and I would definitely golf the course again.

I highly recommend consulting Arcadia’s website and visiting the “view by hole page”. There you will find a layout of each hole and very helpful Caddy Tips.

We took a lot of pictures while we were there. If you would like to view them all, visit The Bluffs photo page.

Golf Up North - Arcadia BluffsDining

The New York Strip steak that was tender and perfectly seasoned and was served with mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus with a delightful demi glaze. I chose the Truffle Lobster macaroni & cheese had a crispy baked top and huge chunks of lobster and you could actually taste the truffles. I am a mac & cheese snob, especially when lobster is involved. The portion was more than I could eat so the rest of the table dug right in, it was that good.

The Great Lakes Walleye tasted as if it was just caught and was served with a wild rice pilaf and a vegetable blend. The Chilean Seas Bass was amazing and served with a lobster saffron risotto (perfectly cooked) and asparagus with wilted spinach. We ordered dessert to share, a flourless chocolate cake (to die for). We all agreed that our meals were some of the best we had enjoyed in Northern Michigan.


The staff inside and outside were attentive and helpful at every turn. Prices may be a little higher than many other courses Up North, but our round and meal were well worth the price. Now I just need the kid to invite us there for a weekend so that we can play The Bluff Course again and try out The South Course. Hope he subscribes to this newsletter. 😊


If you would like to find your perfect Up North golf course visit Golf Up North and if you are looking for fun things to do after your round visit Up North Entertainment for dining, lodging and things to do Up North.

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