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It is February and we are 1 more month closer to golf season Up North. For me there are dates and events that make me feel that spring is just around the corner.
Heading into February, football winds down with the Pro Bowl and finishes with the Super Bowl. Excited to watch The Rams and The Bengals battle it out in a couple of weeks. With Big Ben and Tom (The Goat) retiring, and uncertainty with Aaron Rodgers, future games are going to look much different. Going to be fun watching the winds shift as new talent and teams rise to the top. I am a Lion’s fan, enough said. LOL
Seeing March approach so quickly feels like the weather should be turning, flowers should be blooming, and the courses should be getting ready for the new season. I said, “feels like it should be”…not that it was. I have lived Up North long enough to know that March is usually not for the weak. Wishful thinking can sometimes turn into reality. 😊
I have mentioned in previous issues that in October I was able to check a few courses off my bucket list. This issue will feature the last of the courses I played. The fun part of this trip was it was a Girl’s trip. My sister-in-law came north and along with her sister and my daughter-in-law we headed over to Kewadin to give the Sundance Course at A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort a try. To make it even sweeter my sister-in-law treated.
I have always been intrigued by A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort which means “on the shore”. A-Ga-Ming is a 72 hole golf resorts on the shores of Torch Lake and Lake Michigan. With 4 courses in 3 locations and 2 counties, it is a vacation destination. The resort offers stay and play packages and can accommodate groups.
A-Ga-Ming Torch Course started as a nine-hole course in the early 70’s eventually becoming 18 holes in the 80’s.
Torch Course and Sundance Course are on the main resort property. Antrim Dells is 10 minutes away on the shores of Lake Michigan. Charlevoix Country Club is about 40 minutes north in Charlevoix close to downtown
We used Google maps in my car to find our way to A-Ga-Ming and ended up driving right past the side street that would take us to the entrance. Google was not clear and there was a large sign past the correct street that looked like the entrance. We figured it out, turned around and found our way.
When you build something up in your head, your expectations can exceed the reality. Initially this was the case. The entrance and the drive to the pro shop was under whelming. A pole barn in the middle of farmland, not exactly a resort vibe. BUT our experience exceeded expectations!
Checking in and grabbing refreshments was quick and easy. The staff was very accommodating and friendly. We were there on a Friday afternoon and though they were not fully booked, they were busy.
The course is par 72 and offers 5 sets of tees for different skill levels. It is an open course with wide fairways and the native grasses similar to Arcadia Bluffs that I mentioned in our December issue. It is a well-designed course with lots of sand traps and few water hazards. A review online claimed there were 121 bunkers, I believe them, fortunately I was able to avoid them, others not so much.
It had been chilly and rainy the days before, warmed up a little for our trip but still was damp and misty in the air. Was not sure how the course would fair being so close to both Lake Michigan and Torch Lake.
The first hole has elevated tees and was the only place on the course where we encountered very wet and soggy ground in a low area to the left. As long as you did not hit to the left you were good. I did not hit to the left, those that did will remain unnamed. 😊
The Front Nine
The front nine started well for me and I was feeling surprisingly good about my chances of breaking 100 and then hole 3 happened. Now, hole 3 is a simple par 3, 102 yards from the ladies’ tees and should have been simple for me. The catch? You had to hit over water. Golf is part skill and part mental and for me when faced with water the thoughts in my head get me every time, including this time. Landed just shy of land on the other side. The others did not let a little water intimidate and ended nicely on the green.
Next 6 holes went well, but not well enough to balance out hole 3. Was going to take chipping like Mickelson’s video taught me to break 100.
At the turn we stopped and refilled our beverages and grabbed a bite. Meal choices are typical of a snack bar, but the food was fresh and tasty. They have a pizza oven that rumor has it makes amazing pizza, next trip will definitely try it.
The Back Nine
The back nine has a lot more trees and some crazy bunker placement and I was worried. I was able to avoid the bunkers and stay in the fairways. The bigger challenge for me was putting. The greens up front were playing slower, the back greens were playing faster. Took me a while to readjust.
Although I did not break 100, I did have some Mickelson worthy chip shots.
One of the things I really liked about this course is that it was fun for all of us. The four of us are all at different skill levels from beginner to a player who played in college. This course provided a challenge for the better golfers while giving me the straighter fairways that I do well on. I may bogie most holes, but my drives stay in the fairways allowing me to keep up pace with better players. I will definitely be back, I still want to try the other 3 courses!
This was my first “girls” golf trip and was so much fun. I usually golf with my husband, with mixed groups or by myself. Hanging with just girls at a course was a unique experience and one I hope to repeat this upcoming season.
This off season has been so busy that I have not had a chance to head south and golf with my son. I cannot wait to get back on the course and hoping for an early opening for some of the courses up north. There have been a few years where courses in lower northern Michigan have opened for walkers in March, fingers crossed. ⛳
Find your Up North Golf Course
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Disclosure: We never tell a course who we are when we book and play a course. We do not ask nor will we accept free rounds to write about a course. We pay full price for our rounds for everyone in our group.