Countdown is on for Par-3 national team tourney

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm GAYLORD, MI. - The northern Michigan community of Gaylord has 17 golf courses, all of them quite good. It's one of the best places you can go if you're looking for a golf-getaway destination. I should know. I've probably visited the area 10 times over the last two decades. This year, though, there's something new going on. In mid-July the Treetops Resort introduced the National Par-3 Team Championship. [caption id="attachment_798" align="alignright" width="300"]This spot on Threetops’ No. 7 tee was where Lee Trevino hit the most lucrative shot in golf in 2001 — a hole-in-one at the green far below. This spot on Threetops’ No. 7 tee was where Lee Trevino hit the most lucrative shot in golf in 2001 — a hole-in-one at the green far below.[/caption] It'll run through Sept. 27, but you can expect to hear more about it because this first version has been deemed a success and it's not even over yet. Jim McGuigan, head golf professional at Treetops North Resort, reported that 81 two-man teams had entered in the first six weeks of the event. Most were all male, but there are no restrictions. (more…)

The Inn at Harbor Shores Now Open

The Inn at Harbor ShoresThe Inn at Harbor Shores, the newest addition to the Harbor Shores community with its Jack Nicklaus Signature Design public course, is now open. The Inn features 92 rooms and suites with a choice of golf or harbor views. Plank’s Tavern offers fine food in a decidedly casual waterside atmosphere with rave reviews since opening. Highway time from downtown Chicago is about 90 minutes. Some may choose to arrive over Lake Michigan and dock at The Inn’s deep-water marina. Visitors will enjoy the trail system to spectacular Lake Michigan beaches. The charming shops in St. Joseph or in Benton Harbor’s Arts District offer another reason to stay at The Inn. (more…)

This is American Golf’s ‘Other Augusta’

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm When you put Augusta and golf together you think of April, azaleas and the Masters tournament, right? Well, that'd be understandable. Not all the great Augusta golf is played in Georgia, though. Check out Augusta, Michigan. Golf is pretty good there, too. This little town (population of only about 1,000) in southwest Michigan is the home of one of the premier families in the American golf industry as well as a unique resort/convention center complex that features one of that's state's premier courses. [caption id="attachment_1910" align="alignright" width="300"] Vice president Tim Moskalic shows his eye-catching course at Yarrow Golf & Conference Resort.[/caption] Put them together and you have the story of six courses just a few miles apart that create an ideal destination for group outings. We'll start with Yarrow Golf & Conference Resort. Its golf is good - an 18-holer designed by busy Michigan architect Ray Hearn in 2002. Hearn has either designed or worked on 25 courses in his home state (he lives in Holland, MI.) and has done quality work elsewhere. His renovations at two Chicago clubs - private Flossmoor Country Club and upscale public Mistwood - have drawn more attention lately but Yarrow is definitely one of Hearn's best. (more…)

Aerial photo: State of Michigan Human Formation

Benton Harbor, Michigan, May 21, 2014 - In recognition of the 75th edition of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, more than 400 volunteers assembled on the first fairway at Harbor Shores in the shape of the state of Michigan. The formation was directed by St. Joseph High School Director of Bands Aaron Engleman. The 2014 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid takes place May 22-25. Photo credit: PGA of Americacontinue reading →

Ticket Sales For 2014 Senior PGA Championship

Ticket sales for the 2014 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., began on Nov. 12, 2013.

On Jan. 1, 2014, tickets to the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid were released to the general public and prices increased.

Ticket registration will take place on the Championship website, SPGA2014.com. The 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid will be held May 20-25, 2014, with the Championship concluding on Memorial Day Weekend. (more…)

75th Senior PGA Championship Presented by KitchenAid Media Day

Today, at the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid media day, Kohki Idoki, of Osaka, Japan, hit a golf shot from the roof of the new Inn at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., to a target green more than 200 yards away. Idoki is the reigning Champion of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid and will return to defend his title this year at Harbor Shores, May 22-25. The 2014 field includes golf legends such as Tom Watson, Colin Montgomerie, Fred Couples, Kenny Perry and Roger Chapman, the 2012 Senior…continue reading →

Buy now and save big on golf this season!

Encircling Chicagoland into southwest Michigan, with destination sites in Florida, the GolfVisions Golf Trail features courses that deliver exceptional quality, variety and value. The 2014 GolfVisions Player's Pass is your best value to put part or all of the Trail on your itinerary.
Benefits include:
  • 8 rounds (greens fee AND cart) at 8 great Chicagoland golf courses (seven 18-hole, one 9-hole).
  • 7 greens fees at 7 great Chicagoland courses (five 18-hole, two 9-hole).
  • 1 Player’s Choice greens fee; select from 12 courses, 10 in Chicagoland, 2 in Florida.
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  • GolfVisions' special Player's Pass preferred rate at EVERY facility, EVERY time you play.
  • 'Private Club Member for a Day' purchase opportunity for member and up to 3 guests at Lake Barrington Shores GC.
  • Two 25% discounts on dining. (more…)

Guss takes charges at Treetops Academy

By Len Ziehm GAYLORD, MI. -- Treetops has grown into - arguably at least - Michigan's most spectacular golf resort and one of its main features is its teaching program. Started in 1990 by Rick Smith and Henry Young, the school thrived as the Rick Smith Golf Academy and Smith became prominent far beyond his home state as both a teacher and course designer. His success as an instructor at Treetops led to him eventually becoming a swing guru for Phil Mickelson and he now also works with PGA Tour players Rory Sabbatini, Jerry Kelly and Sang-Moon Bae - winner of this year’s Byron Nelson Classic. Treetops Academy MichiganSmith remains the owner and architect for three courses - Tradition, Signature and Threetops - at Treetops North. Threetops is widely regarded as America's best par-3 course. Inevitably, Smith's success in teaching and course architecture led to his spending more time away from Michigan - he's even designing a course in China now -- and that led to a revamping and renaming on the teaching side. It's now the Rick Smith and Jason Guss Golf Academy. (more…)

New lodge creates a rebirth for Michigan’s Forest Dunes

By Len Ziehm ROSCOMMON, Mich. - There never was a doubt about the quality of the 18 holes at Forest Dunes. The course has consistently been ranked as the No. 2 public layout in golf-rich Michigan, behind Arcadia Bluffs. A Tom Weiskopf design that opened in 1999, Forest Dunes is --in the words of general manager Todd Campbell -- "in the middle of nowhere." Still, the national course raters have found it. Golf Digest had it No. 20 among America's 100 Greatest Public Courses for 2011-12 and No.99 among America's Greatest 100 for the same period. GolfWeek ranked Forest Dunes No. 87 on its Best Modern Courses list. Ausable Woods at Forest Dunes (more…)

Island Hills has cottages available now

By Len Ziehm CENTREVILLE, Mich. -- The Scott family's five 18-hole courses aren't far from either Island Hills or Yarrow Golf & Conference Resort. All are near the bigger Michigan cities of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, but the facilities are all quite different - in a good way. Between them they make Southwest Michigan a convenient golf getaway location, especially for players from the Chicago area. Island Hills has been my most frequent stop in the area, and its owner Bob Griffioen is one of the most progressive golf operators in the country. Located in Centreville, Island Hills features a Ray Hearn-designed course, one of about 25 the architect has had a role in creating in his home state. Hearn's original designed opened in 1999. Griffin purchased the property in 2009 and brought Hearn back for extensive renovations in 2010. Signature Cottages at Island HillsThis year, though, the story at Island Hills isn't about what Hearn has done to what is already a quality layout playable by all levels of golfers. This spring Griffioen and Andy Mears, who moved over from Indiana's Swan Lake to become Island Hills' president and chief operating officer, unveiled much-needed lodging at the facility. Island Hills has in effect entered the resort business with the opening of the first three Signature Point Cottages overlooking the par-3 17th hole. Each has four and five-bedroom units with meeting/recreation rooms on the lower levels. (more…)