Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Upper Peninsula Golf
By Art McCafferty


Calumet Country Club

Once a town of 100,000 Calumet has not only its memories of that time, but a nice little nine-hole golf course, as well. There are terrific views from this extremely hilly course as well as a lot of uneven lies.

Portage Lake Golf Club

You would expect a course that was built in 1920 to be mature and it is. It is the home course of Michigan Technology University and is certainly one of the better courses around.

Wyandotte Hills Golf Club

Wyandotte is a nine-hole course located at Twin Lakes that plays to 2655 yards.


Crystal Falls Municipal Golf Course

A nice nine hole course in a terrific up north town. They have one of the more unusual tee off rituals in all of golf. After you tee off on #5 you need to go to the 6th tee and tee off from there as well. You then finish the fifth hole and then move on to your drive at six.

George Young Recreation Complex

This 18-hole championship course and complex is really one of a kind. It is an oasis in the middle of nowhere. The course is fairly basic, but if you play it from the back it will give you all you can handle. It has large greens and wide well manicured fairways.

George Young and family to the people of Iron River donated the conference center complex, located on 3300 acres of Upper Peninsula wilderness. It is an extraordinary facility and a must see for travelers in the area. Again, you have to see it to believe it. Thanks, George.

Iron River Country Club

The story of these nine holes is the 28 sand traps that are everywhere. There is water on the 8th and 9th holes. They also have a driving range.


Keweenaw Mountain Lodge

It is a very hilly course but sans sand traps. It has recently undergone some renovation to the course. The lodge has 42 units and includes a tennis court, hiking trails and a nice restaurant.


Newberry Country Club

Newberry Country Club has jumped into the U.P. big leagues with the addition of nine new holes. "Mike Husby has done a commendable job with our course," said GM Bill Wallace. "As an architect he appreciated the impact construction would have on our bottom line as he was able to design, renovate and build our course without any golf stoppage. Mike has really given us a terrific course."

The new nine is scheduled to open in late June. Those who have not visited the course since the work began, will be pleasantly surprised. The additional holes are bold in their design and clearly show the evolution that golf course design has taken since the first nine came on in the 20's.


Hessel Ridge

This is easily one of the prettiest courses in the U.P. Jeff Gorney, the architect of Little Traverse Bay, The Dream and Sparrow Hawk to name but a few, has certainly drawn a lot of attention and kudos with his golf course designs.

Hessel Ridge, a contoured layout, is cut out of the northern woods and features tree lined and expansive fairways. It has water on three of its holes and 28 traps scattered throughout the course to challenge your game. It is located about a mile from the Kewadin Casino and a couple of miles from the Hessel Marina. They offer golf packages with the Hessel Comfort Inn, Lindberg Cottages and Island Inn Motel.

Owner Dan Hitchens has put a nice team together, with Joan Gilchrist as head of sales, Paul Hitchens, who oversees matters on the course and Joe Baker, who is doing superintendent type work as he works toward his certification.

Joan indicated that the course wintered very well and that the bookings are up.

The Jewel

Certainly the gateway to the U.P., Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel have featured golf since it opened up its course in 1901. Jerry Matthews has done some renovation on the original course and was the architect for the new nine that opened in 1993. The two courses are actually a relaxing 20-minute carriage ride apart. Golfers start on the new nine, a beautiful course, cut through the woods and finish on the original course that has the impressive views of the hotel, bridge and an overview of the city.

The Jewel has been very well received as 20-25 thousand rounds have been played on it since it opened. Mark Kelbel, a new father, is the golf professional at the Jewel and is the one in charge of delivering that great Grand Hotel service. Ryan Mabie, a FSU business major is the assistant, and Steve Bernard, is in charge of all of the Grand's grounds.

They have a small but nicely appointed pro shop, which is due for expansion either next year or the year 2001.

Les Cheneaux Club Golf Links

One of Michigan's oldest courses, Les Cheneaux was built to satisfy the golfing needs of the 19th century rich and famous. It is a links style course that features a rugged look throughout the course. There are a number of mounds and protruding rocks on the course that most likely were too heavy to move when the course was designed. The clubhouse resembles the course in age and a more than casual atmosphere permeates the course. Playing Les Cheneaux is really a step back in time.

Mission Point Resort

Yes, there will be golf at Mackinac Island's Mission Point Resort, but it will be of the putting kind. According to GM Tim Russell, Carter Construction, owner of The Mackinaw Club in Mackinaw City, has constructed an awesome new 18-hole golf-putting course at the resort. If you are familiar with the resort's layout, the course has been placed on two acres that are in front of the resort and butt up against the Straits of Mackinac. It offers the golfer a spectacular view while they are lining up those putts. In addition, a new lawn bowling course and regulation croquet court has also been constructed.

In addition, to the putting course, Mission Point also partners with Hidden River Golf and Casting Club in play and stay packages.

St. Ignace Golf and Country Club

This nine-hole course provides one of the great views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge. Its modern clubhouse sits on top of a bluff overlooking the course. It is definitely worth a stop.


Built in 1898 by Scotsman Alex Smith, this more than any course in Michigan captures the beginning of Michigan golf. Alex Smith was a noted golfer and architect and designed a number of courses in this country. It is a links style course featuring fescue grass and abundant heather-type rough.

Larry Grow, long a fixture at the club, has decided to stay and work in Traverse City. Doug Lewis and his wife Christine will be managing the course this year. They have been spending the last five-year in Pinehurst, where Doug was the superintendent of the Cardinal course of the Country Club of North Carolina. Before that, he worked at Kalamazoo's Eastern Hills. They will return to Carolina in the winter, where Doug will teach for the Sand Hills Community College. While private, Wawashkamo does allow public play from 10-6.


Chocolay Downs

Chocolay Downs is a residential golf course near Marquette. Joe Gibbs, course owner and builder, has put homes and condos around this Jerry and Bruce Matthews III design. Their previous hook was that they had the world's largest green. However, since the completion of the 18 holes in 1993, they have much more to brag about. The course has a fair amount of roll to it with few traps and very little water. The have a very nice clubhouse and the costs for golf are reasonable.

The big story this year is the construction of another nine holes, due to open next year. Wayne Gibbs, Joe's son, is designing the new course. It will be the longest of the three courses at 3585 yards. It will feature extremely wide fairways and the collective philosophies of both Jerry and Bruce Matthews. "Wayne really listened to Jerry and Bruce when they were here working on the original course. We have incorporated many of their thoughts in our new course design," said Gibbs.

Chocolay Downs also offers homes and condos on the property.

Homestead Golf Course

Randall and Cathleen Gentz decided to name their course the Homestead in that it has been in the family for 107 years. Formerly a dairy farm and then a sod farm and nursery, they decided to turn it into a golf course with the help of Don Childs, an Oakland County based golf designer. The original nine opened last year and plays to 3330 yards. It is located near the intersection of M-28 and 41 in the Marquette area. It has a driving range and a temporary pro shop on the property as well. It has the lands and the plans for an additional nine holes, but there is no rush to build it.

Marquette Golf and Country Club

Marc Gilmore has been the host professional at Marquette for years and will certainly give you a warm welcome. Marquette is a private club that does allow public play. The front nine is flat with the back being hilly. It is a very mature course with homes surrounding the course and mature trees lining the fairways. It plays to 6209 yards and is a par 71.They do some golf packages with Landmark Inn.

The Landmark Inn is a restoration project of the first order in Marquette. It is a great experience to stay there and really gives you a rich historical experience of the grandeur of the Upper Peninsula during its time in the sun.

Red Fox Run

Frank Guastella and Bill Roberts, a knowledgeable golf twosome, have put equity, sweat equity and a lot of imagination into making Red Fox one of the premier golf destinations in the U.P. They both spend a ton of hours there, but also get downstate, especially Roberts who is getting a law degree at Cooley. They are seemingly having a ball with all of this.

Lots of things are happening at the complex, with the primary news being the launch of their new eating facility, The Captain's Restaurant and Lounge. Managed by Frank Leckwart, the restaurant will complement their new Red Fox Inn. The Red Fox Inn is a renovated officer's quarters that has transferred well into its newest duty. "We will also be put in charge of 92 houses in the near future," said Leckwart.

According to Guastella, the Marquette County airport is also relocating at this former K.I. Sawyer airbase and will officially open for business in September. There are now 40 businesses here. This place and Marquette are really booming."

Also in the works is an air museum. In fact, when you travel around the base you get the opportunity to see some incredible planes on the grounds. These fighters and bombers will be a part of the museum.

Red Fox Run has some very nice golf packages. It has a $65 weekday rate for a single. The package includes two days of golf, cart and one night of lodging. Golf for two would be $120. Weekend rates for the same package would be $90 and $170 respectively. Two nights lodging, 3 days golf for the weekend goes for $115 and $210 respectively. Call for reservations. 800-369-0096

Dennis Carville, former pro at Calumet CC, has joined the organization this year as its professional. He is putting on a series of 3-day golf schools starting this July. For $220 you get daily golf instruction, 27 holes of golf with cart, continental breakfast, lunch and daily refreshments. The schools start in July and conclude at the end of August. Email RGMgt@AOL.com

Wawonowin Country Club

Wawonowin CC, a semi private club, does allow public play. Kevin Manninen is the new golf professional. Kevin was on Oakland University's golf team and was coached by Dave DeWulf. Kevin graduated with a business degree, a terrific golf game and a new job at Wawonowin.

Wawonowin CC is a nice golf course that was built by its membership in the 70's. The front nine is rather open, with the back being a little tighter because of the trees. There are a number of ponds on the course that also contribute to its challenge. The Detroit News ranked this as the 4th best course in the U.P.

John Gregory, one of the original members has scored 10 holes in one on the course. What is more remarkable is that he has used every club from wedge through 2-iron to do it. I doubt there are many people in the world that could beat that record.


Indian Hills Golf Course

This is a hilly little nine hole course that you might look up if you are by that way. It has tree lined fairways is well bunkered and has a creek running throughout the course.

North Shores Golf Club

This is a short par 71 course that features tree lined fairways, medium sized and generally flat greens and very few bunkers. It has some scenic holes, particularly the par 5, 5th hole.


Ontonagon Golf Club

This is a relatively flat nine hole course, with a couple of hills that could produce some uneven lies.


Indian Lake Golf

Indian Lake Golf originally built in 1924. This very scenic course will open a new nine next year, which Mike Husby is building. Glen Rasmussen is the golf course superintendent.

Final Impressions:


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