Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Destination: Upper Peninsula
By Art McCafferty

They are celebrating in the UP. While there are many things to celebrate in our pristine north country, the latest centers around the launch of their new website, UP Golf Parade (www.golfup.com). The site is designed to help golfers better understand the golf product in the UP, take a look at available golf packages, create printable maps of the area and provide timely information on rates and tournaments. The site is just part of a new marketing campaign that has been launched by the Yoopers to target golfers in Wisconsin and Lower Michigan. The consortium of courses includes: Wild Bluff in Brimley, Indian Lake in Manistique, George Young in Iron River, Terrace Bluff in Escanaba, Red Fox Run in Gwinn, TimberStone in Iron Mountain and The Rock on Drummond Island. The shakers and movers of this project are Dave Van Auken of Timberstone and Jim Gernhofer of The Rock. “We had some people from the state tourism department challenge our ability to package our golf and we decided we would answer that challenge,” said Van Auken.

There is ample evidence that the magic of information technology has crossed the bridge. Recently, in a real coup, the UP site and its author Charlie Hopper, won recognition for most the creative Michigan business on the web at this year’s Internet Summit. The little UP company has had ABC’s Sam Donaldson mention its webite and its great pasties. It has become a world wide destination site, with people ordering pasties from everywhere.

There is plenty of golf news this year with the UP courses. Timberstone is celebrating the 4 1/2 stars they received from GOLF DIGEST’S Places to Play, (May 2000 issue). I had the opportunity and honor to golf the course with architect Jerry Matthews a couple of years ago. It is a beautiful course to The Rock and other properties, clearly gave the UP destination status. Timberstone’s Dave Van Auken, also indicated that June 30 is the date of their annual Tom Izzo and Steve Mariucci Golf Classic. This is the hottest tournament ticket in the UP.

Terrace Bluff has a nice 18 that gives you panoramic views of Lake Michigan. It has excellent lodging and conference facilities. It is also a great place to see “Escanaba in da Moonlight”

Indian Lakes puts it all together this year as their new nine holes comes on board. The new nine, designed by Mike Husby, is ready for play. Indian Lakes is located on some beautiful property and the additional nine holes have made it very special. The new nine at Indian Lakes, the new nine at Newberry and the 18 holes at Wild Bluffs, make Husby one of the most prolific in the UP.

Wild Bluffs continues to draw rave reviews in the golf world. The course, built on a spectacular bluff, allows golfers to take in some awesome views of the St. Mary’s River and Waishkey Bay. The course has wide landing areas, underbrush free waste and wooded areas, large tees and greens and gently rolling fairways. There are some holes with some nice hangtime and the driving range is one of the most inspiring in the state. You feel like each drive will be 300 plus yards. Mike Husby, Judy Mason and staff have put together a first rate team. They offer a quality golf experience, enough said. Bay Mills has also expanded their hotel to keep foursomes from being disappointed as they book their golf and lodging packages.

Frank Guastella and his staff have their hands full with their Red Fox Run golf course and their new lodging and restaurant facilities. They have worked hard at converting this former air force golf course and lodging facility into something special. The course has had a great deal of TLC since they took it over a couple of years ago. The new restaurant and the excellent lodging facilities really let you get away from it all. You will love the extra thrill of viewing some of the jet aircraft that the Air Force left behind and just looking at the massiveness of the former base.

The George Young course, is an amazing property, one of the longest in Michigan, and fulfills the dream of the late George Young to combine his favorite holes from courses around the nation. Golfers of all abilities enjoy this course known for its characteristic large greens.

The Rock has a new name, Drummond Island Resort and Conference; a new natural turf 9-hole putting course; a renovated and expanded Pro Shop; and a new director of golf in Roger Putman. The Rock, a Harry Bowers design, is the where the UP Golf Parade either stops or starts. A trip to The Rock means a boat ride, great food, pristine setting, great lodging and an awesome golf course. New GM Jim Gernhofner is excited about his new responsibilities and is looking forward to serving all of those down staters.

Newberry GC is now into its second year of its 18 hole course. Mike Husby designed the new nine and gave it some real bite. John Andrews, formerly of the Kincheloe, is the new director of golf. Newberry does a number of golf packages with nearby Days Inn. They offer golf packages with the Hessel Comfort Inn, Lindbery Cottages and Island Inn Motel.

In other developments, Mission Point Resort is celebrating its first full season of its 18 hole natural putting course. Putting courses are becoming quite the rage throughout the state, as more courses begin to add them to their cash flow arsenal. Jerry Matthews designed a great one at Hawk Hollow and has one coming on board with the new Buck’s Run in Mt. Pleasant. The Rock is just bringing on their new course this summer and Mission Point is adding golf product to an Island that features the Grand Hotel’s Jewel and Wawashkamo. Mission Point has also added an official lawn course on the property as well.

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