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Golf Road Trip 2021 was a success!
Everyone returned to their respective homes relatively unscathed. As promised the details, well the details they were willing to share at least. 🙂
The trip started with 18 holes Thursday at Emerald Vale Golf Club in Manton in the northwest Lower Peninsula with the guys returning to their homes that night. Friday morning it was off to Carp Lake in northeast Lower Peninsula to play 36 holes at The Mackinaw Club Golf Course. Friday night was spent at one of the guy’s cottages on Drummond Island where a golf outing prevented them from grabbing a round at The Rock.
Up early (?) Saturday to catch the ferry and head to Brimley in the eastern Upper Peninsula to play another 18 at The Wild Bluff Course at Bay Mills Casino & Resort. A night at the casino and back over the bridge on Sunday with another great golf weekend in the books.
These guys are all lifelong friends and have been golfing on leagues together and taking several golf trips a year together for the past 30+ years. The stories they tell are hilarious and it is obvious that as much as they all love to golf, these trips are about a lot more than golfing. If you haven’t grabbed a buddy and headed out for a weekend of golf, do it, you won’t regret it!
Emerald Vale Golf Club – Manton
Emerald Vale is located 2 miles west of Manton. Manton is a small city just 1.61 square miles with an estimated 2019 population of a little over 1,500. For lodging you should look in nearby Cadillac or further north in Traverse City.
The course is a Bruce Matthews III designed course. Matthews is a third-generation golf course architect. The 18-hole, par 72 course includes a practice range and large practice green.
Their website describes the course as having beautiful vistas with over 120’ of elevation. The guys all agreed it was a fun course with some great scenery.
Offering a full-service restaurant and bar as well as a pro shop and the guys noted the staff was very friendly. The guys also noted that green and beer prices were very friendly too! $25 for 18 holes and a 6 pack of beer only $13 (great price for a golf course).
They offer active military free green fees and only $10 cart fee. They host the Annual Par 3 Challenge for Hospice of Michigan in September. Single, couple and family memberships and group rates are available. For members there is reciprocal courses in the area that offer reduced green fees. There are both men and women leagues and a couple’s club scramble league, plus golf outings throughout the season.
The guys felt the course was challenging – not the hardest or easiest 18 holes they have played. Some of the fairways were a little tight, but not so tight that they lost a lot of balls. The greens and fairway were a little soft, not unexpected with the amount of rain that came through in the last week. They still felt the course was well maintained and had quality greens.
This was the first time at this course for some of them, but all agreed they would be golfing there again.
The Mackinaw Club Golf Course – Carp Lake
The Mackinaw Club is located 3 miles south of Mackinaw City. Mackinaw City is known for its shopping, dining and of course catching a ferry to Mackinac Island or crossing the Mighty Mac to the Upper Peninsula. Lodging is plentiful in Mackinaw City and over the bridge in St. Ignace.
The course was designed by Jerry Matthews and boasts a gentle and rolling tree-lined terrain with slight elevation changes. It is one of northern Michigan’s largest professionally designed 18-hole course and includes a driving range and practice green with many recent upgrades and improvements to the course and grounds. One of the guys had golfed there several years ago and wasn’t excited about going back. He changed his mind saying that the course is a lot different than it was and much better maintained.
Their pro shop offers the typical clothing, clubs, balls, etc. They do not have a liquor license and allow outside refreshments. The clubhouse carries soft drinks, hot dogs, and snacks, plus has coolers and ice available.
Memberships are available for singles and couples, and leagues are welcome. They have a more relaxed dress code and allow blue jeans but do not allow torn clothing or sleeveless shirts.
The guys had so much fun on this course that when they were done with the first 18, they went in and paid for another 18. At only $25 with cart for 18 holes, they couldn’t resist. Then it was over the bridge and a short ferry ride to Drummond Island for the night.
Wild Bluff Golf Course – Brimley
Wild Bluff is part of the Bay Mills Casino & Resort in Brimley about an hour north of the bridge on Lake Superior. The casino offers hotel rooms, RV sites and several restaurants, and of course the casino.
The course was designed by Mike Husby, current owner of Bay Meadows Family Golf Course in Traverse City. Wild Bluff’s practice facility boasts a double teed driving range, expansive chipping area and a large putting green. The course offers five sets of tees ranging from 5300 to 7100 yards.
Spectacular views throughout the course and in the full-service restaurant and bar, The Loft. There is a fully stocked golf shop and golf instructors to help improve your game.
They offer leagues and various events and tournaments throughout the season.
This was the most expensive course they played at $75 for 18 holes with cart, it was also the most challenging. There are some tricky dog legs, inconvenient water hazards and a couple of bunkers that seem to appear out of nowhere (I blame the beer 😊). They all still said that it was a course they want to play again.
They had dinner at The Loft and though a little pricey, they all agreed the food was great and worth it. I personally think the bar tab may have made it seem expensive. Not sure I am getting all the facts on this one.
The evening was spent either in the casino or watching the Michigan game.
Sunday – The Drive Home
Overall, this was one of their more successful golf trips. Everyone returning without bruises and with good things to say about all the courses. There was some grumbling about one player taking all their money on the course though. Nobody would own up to how much the casino took as well. We will have to see if they try to squeeze in another trip this year. Maybe to win back some of their losses on the course and what I am sure were losses at the casino.
If you would like to find your perfect Up North golf course or plan a golf weekend with friends, 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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