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Conferences and Meetings: Work Hard, Play Hard - at the State's Top Golf Destinations
By Kelly Hill
Managing Editor

You work hard. Should you not also play hard? Some of the state's premier golf destinations make it extremely easy for you to do both - with style, grace and charm.

Michigan's best golf destinations, many of which also are located near the state's top tourist destinations, offer the best golf in the Midwest and some of the best golf in the nation. Because many also are located near the state's top points of interest, they exist so that you may play, and play hard.

Having, however, incorporated technologically advanced conference and meeting facilities with spacious accommodations, fine dining and countless other amenities, the state's best golf destinations also exist so that you might work, and work hard.

That leaves you with only two decisions: At which destinations will you schedule your next conference or meeting? and Shall you work before, after, or while you play? The following look at conference facilities at the state's golf resorts may help you answer the first question. The second, however, is entirely up to you.

Bay Mills
With the Horizon Conference Center that can be configured from 1,479- 4,727 square feet and accommodate as many as 470 guests, the Wild Bluff Golf Course which arguably is the best in the Upper Peninsula, 144 guest rooms located on Waishkey Bay, and adjacent to not one but two casinos, Bay Mills Resort and Casinos may be the ideal destination for your next meeting or conference.

Readers of AAA Michigan Living magazine voted Wild Bluff the "Best Golf Course in the Upper Peninsula." Bay Mills also offers a variety of group packages that combine lodging with use of the conference center, golf course or casinos.

For more information call (888) 422-9645, ext. 2636.

Bay Valley
Completely renovated a year ago, this Bay City property now features over 10,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. Vaulted ceilings, views of the golf course and hardwood floors are three of the unique characteristics of this facility.

For more information, call (989) 686-3500, ext. 391.

Boyne USA's three primary facilities in northern Lower Michigan, Boyne Highland, Boyne Mountain and the Inn at Bay Harbor, all feature meeting and conference space, but in extremely varying quantities. The Inn at Bay Harbor includes only 7,000 square feet of meeting space and can accommodate a group of up to 185 members. Boyne Mountain features 27,500 sq. ft. of meeting space and can host up to 1,400 people. Boyne Highlands, located just west of Harbor Springs, can handle functions with from 6-600 participants, because of its 30,700 square feet of meeting space.

The golf courses at Boyne Highlands are so well regarded that they have hosted the Michigan PGA Championship.

For more information, call (800) GO-BOYNE.

Comfort Inn University Park Mt. Pleasant
When we stopped by to talk to Bob Barker, GM of the 138 room Comfort Inn, he indicated that he is well aware of the connectivity issues that modern facilities like his face. "We are exploring a wireless environment for our guests. We want guests to be able to check into our facility, be able to fire up their labtops and get on to the Internet no matter where they are at our property. It is our hope that we can get this accomplished in the very near future," said Barker. Once they check in guests will be able to acquire cards for their computer which will allow them to access the Internet while on site.

The Comfort Inn at Mt. Pleasant is one of the major convention and meeting facilities in the area and, as such, needs to have connectivity to not only attract new business, but make sure that they hold on to the robust business they now have. The Comfort Inn has acquired six consecutive Gold Awards for quality, service and cleanliness, including the Choice Hotels coveted award for "Inn of the Year".

Call 989-772-4000 for more information.

Crystal Mountain
Priority of business, conference room design, conference services, food and beverage, technology and guest rooms are the six criteria which the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) uses to determine its membership. If a resort meets the IACC's standards in those six categories, it may be considered for membership. Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville is the only IACC-approved conference center in Northern Michigan.

Crystal also has twice received the Paragon Award, which is presented annually by Corporate Meetings and Incentives magazine to the best conference facilities in the nation. The Crystal Center, a three-level building with 13 available conference and meeting rooms, can accommodate up to 300 persons per room. The Lodge features an additional two meeting rooms while the Amphitheater at Michigan Legacy Art Park is a unique outdoor facility for speakers and can fit as many as 100 guests.

Crystal Mountain also offers the Mountaintop Tent, located, where else, but at the top of the mountain. This can be the perfect location for a meal or reception and can be reached by chairlift or alternative transportation.

For more information, contact Crystal Mountain at (800) YOUR-MTN.

Drummond Island
Located on the largest freshwater island in the United States, Drummond Island Resort opened almost 50 years ago as a rustic hunting and fishing camp for Detroiter Mel Rinehart. Once owned by pizza baron and Detroit Tigers owner Tom Monaghan, the resort is now a corporate retreat featuring over 2,000 acres and a quarter mile of lakefront.

Drummond Island Resort and Conference Center also is a member of the Audubon Society as it sports a thriving wildlife habitat.

For more information, call (800) 999-6343.

Eagle Crest Resort
Also a member of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC), the Eagle Crest Conference Center delivers the facilities and services that successful meetings require. Those facilities include soundproof, fixed walls, adjustable lighting, individual climate control and ergonomic arm chairs. Those services include simultaneous language interpretation, rear screen projection systems and presentation design.

In keeping with its tough IACC standards, Eagle Crest also offers a dedicated conference service staff and complete package pricing.

For more information, log on to eaglecrestresort.com.

More than 50 years ago, Herman Otto, who owned Garland Manufacturing in Detroit, built a nine-hole course for his family, friends and employees. Now you and your employees can golf 72 holes at Garland, the Otto family's resort near Lewiston.

Garland's Conference Center, which features cathedral ceilings, a kitchen and audio system, includes four separate rooms that can remain separate or be combined. Those rooms are known as Osprey, Heron, Kestrel and Peregrine.

Garland's Great Room is complete with a log fireplace in addition to the amenities it shares with the Conference Center. The room can be configured to accommodate as few as 40 guests for as many as 235.

For more information, contact Garland at (800) 968-0042.

Grand Hotel
It may come as somewhat of a surprise to learn that the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island's grande dame, famous for its porch and sweeping view of the bridge linking Michigan's peninsulae, is not filled each summer primarily with tourists, but with guests attending conferences and meetings. More than 60 percent of the hotel's business is generated by generated by groups and meetings, according to sales and marketing vice-president Ken Hayward.

A 2001 winner of the Paragon Award presented by Corporate Meetings and Incentives magazine, the Grand Hotel recently added the Grand Pavilion, a versatile space that blends state-of-the-art multimedia technology with the property's old-world charm. The Pavilion transforms from a conference room to a lecture hall or dining room with ease. It's large foyer also makes an ideal location for a registration area.

Perhaps more notable than its facilities, which also includes the Woodfill Conference Center and 10 other meeting rooms, is the service available from the Grand Hotel staff. While you may have to work hard and want to play hard, the Grand Hotel wants to make it easy for you to do both. A simple outline of what is needed sends one of the hotel's convention managers off making arrangements. Those managers will work with planners to select the appropriate room or space, arrange the audio-visual equipment and attend to every other detail. And that service is complimentary.

For more information, call (800) 33GRAND.

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
It is getting easier to get to Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, which is located in the southeast corner of Grand Traverse Bay. A $52 million terminal complex being constructed at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City will more than double the capacity for air travel to Northern Michigan. The complex is scheduled to open in the fall of 2003. Enough improvements already have been made however, to allow three major airlines to provide jet service to the Traverse City area. American Airlines and Chicago-based United Airlines are flying via O'Hare International in Chicago, while Northwest Airlines is providing jet service from Detroit Metro Airport. American also provides a non-stop flight each Friday evening in the summer from LaGuardia in New York. The flight returns Sunday afternoon.

Having arrived at a resort recognized by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as one of the best in America, meeting and conference attendees are greeted by casual elegance and Midwest hospitality. Available to meeting planners is more than 49,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space in 34 rooms, able to host groups ranging from 10-2,500. Private boardrooms, ballrooms and an expansive convention area are available, as are countless outdoor areas within the 900-acre resort.

Meeting and conference hosts at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa also possess a creative flair. Arrangements made for previous groups include dinner in the fairway of hole No. 6 on the Spruce Run course, a football field, complete with goal post, for the NFLPA Retired Players Convention; a catered gourmet picnic served during a horseback riding expedition, and a teleconference between a group of visiting bankers and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in Washington D.C.

For more information, call (800) 748-0303.

Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center, Ferris State University
Renee Labelle, of Labelle Management, Mid Michigan's leading hospitality management company, indicates that the 118 room Holiday Inn is undergoing some renovation this year that will include upgrading their information technology environment. She is well aware of the challenges that face properties such as the Holiday Inn in the area of connectivity. While she can look to Ferris State University for some technological assistance, she wants to make sure that conference attendees at the Holiday Inn have the best connectivity available and that they are proactive in making this happen.

The Holiday Inn and Ferris State partnership at Big Rapids is one of a number of higher education facilities that offer, lodging, convention and meeting facilities and golf all under the same roof. Robust connections to the Internet are important because you are affiliated with a university and conferees expect it.

Call (231)796-4400 for more information.

Otsego Club
Located just east of Gaylord, the Otsego Club has always existed for the pleasure of its guests. As a meeting planner, the club can now pleasure your guests as it opened the Conference and Special Events Center less than two years ago. With more than 17,000 square feet of conference and banquet facilities available, Otsego Club features lavish styling that includes artwork from owner and president Keith Gornick's private collection.

The Conference and Special Events Center can host a seminar for 350 in the morning or afternoon, after which any one of four championship golf courses are available for play. Conference or meeting attendees can then return to the Center for a tastefully presented dinner.

For more information, call (800) 752-5510.

St. Ives
Located in the central portion of the state, at Canadian Lakes, St. Ives and its sister course, Tullymore, have claimed rave reviews. The St. Ives Manor includes 4,500 square feet of meeting space and a catering and banquet staff ready to make the arrangements. The Manor includes four rooms, the Ballroom, which is 2,025 square feet and can accommodate as many as 200; the Garrett, which is 990 sq. ft. and can host 0 guests; Founders, a 340 sq. ft. room that will hold 25 and the Hospitality Room, which is 1,200 sq. ft. and can host as many as 85.

For more information, call (800) 730-4426.

Shanty Creek
Comprised of three distinct villages: Summit, Ridge and Cedar River, Shanty Creek is located on 4,500 acres near Bellaire. With a total of 35,600 square feet of meeting space, any of Shanty Creek's three villages offers an ideal location for your next meeting or conference.

Shanty Creek's ability to meet and exceed the needs of corporations and organizations has evolved as today's workplace has evolved. The resort's staff prides itself in its ability to combine comfort, tranquility and style in an effective work environment.

Golf courses at Shanty Creek have been designed by Arnold Palmer and Tom Weiskopf, and currently host the Michigan PGA Championship.

For more information, call (800) 678-4111.

A five-time recipient of Golf Magazine's Silver Medal Award, this world renowned resort in Gaylord features 81 holes of golf and more than 20,000 square feet of meeting and conference space.

Treetops' meeting facilities, which are intended to provide a professional environment in rejuvenating surroundings, range from the luxurious Melling Board Room, which accommodates 14 persons, to the expansive convention center, which is large enough for gatherings of more than 1,000.

With a sales staff with over 50 years of experience planning association and corporate meetings, Treetops is able to provide the setting you need for your meeting or conference and also has over 4,000 acres on which you can entertain, relax and rejuvenate.

For more information, call (989) 732-6711, ext. 2660. MG

August 2002 Issue Table of Content
HomePage | Courses & Resorts | Course Reviews | Golf Architects | Golf Business | Destinations
Golf Travel | Lodging | Golf Guides | Michigan Golf History | Tournaments | Michigan Golf Real Estate
Golf Academies & Schools | Warm Weather & Out of State Golf | Calendar of Events

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