On A Boyne Golf Vacation: Bay Harbor

On A Boyne Golf Vacation: Bay Harbor A view from the back porch at Bay Harbor.
On a Boyne Vacation: A view from the back porch at Bay Harbor.

On A Boyne Golf Vacation: Bay Harbor

I count myself fortunate that we have a family cottage in Northern Michigan just a short drive away from dozens of terrific golf courses, including the ten at three Boyne Golf properties.

I have therefore never had cause to stay at one of Northern Michigan’s fine resorts.

Recently, however, I got an invitation to spend a week at Michigan’s Boyne Golf properties, along with several other golf media types. We got tours of the facilities, stayed, and ate on site, and of course, played golf.

Boyne Golf offers three resort areas in Northern Michigan: Boyne Highlands near Harbor Springs at the northern end; Bay Harbor near Petosky in the middle and Boyne Mountain near Boyne Falls to the south of that. It’s a pleasant 26 mile drive from the Boyne Highlands to Boyne Mountain.

On a Boyne Golf Vacation: The front of the Inn At Bay Harbor
On a Boyne Golf Vacation: The front of the Inn At Bay Harbor

We started our working vacation at The Inn at Bay Harbor, and the nearby Bay Harbor and Crooked Tree Golf Clubs.

The Inn At Bay Harbor, the surrounding properties and the golf courses are on the shores of the Little Traverse Bay. The views are absolutely spectacular.

On a Boyne Golf Vacation: A view from a balcony at the Inn At Bay Harbor
On a Boyne Golf Vacation: A view from a balcony at the Inn At Bay Harbor

Bay Harbor is a great land reclamation success story. The hotels, surrounding businesses and Bay Harbor Golf Course all are built on the bones of an old limestone quarry and cement plant. The industrial eyesore and ground contamination site once occupied five miles of Little Traverse Bay/Lake Michigan shoreline. In 1994, the plants were demolished; a year later a barrier between the plant and Lake Michigan was destroyed in a massive explosion flooding the quarry bottom with 2.5 billion gallons of water to create a massive protected harbor off Little Traverse Bay

The end result of the reclamation is simply amazing.

The Inn at Bay Harbor has several levels of lodging, from posh penthouses to suites and single rooms. Each of the rooms I toured were as nice a place as I have seen.

To be fair, my travel budget as a school teacher usually pushes me to bargain hotels and staying with family. However, in my secret life as a golf writer, I’ve had the chance to stay in some really nice places.

The Inn At Bay Harbor is one of those really nice places.

On a Boyne Golf Vacation: A penthouse room at the Inn At Bay Harbor.
On a Boyne Golf Vacation: A penthouse room at the Inn At Bay Harbor.

While a couple of the writers were put up in one of the penthouse suites, I stayed in one of the “cottages” adjacent to the main hotel.

On a Boyne Golf Vacation: The Cottages at Bay Harbor
On a Boyne Golf Vacation: The Cottages at Bay Harbor

I don’t feel as though I missed out on anything. The “cottage” was a spacious and generously appointed townhouse with three bedrooms and two baths spread out over two stories. There was a kitchen and a washer/dryer and a nice greatroom for gathering.

These would absolutely be a perfect place for several couples or a golf group that intends to focus on Bay Harbor Golf Club and Crooked Tree.

On A Boyne Golf Vacation: Sunset over the waters as seen from Bay Harbor.
On A Boyne Vacation: Sunset over the waters as seen from Bay Harbor.

Pricing for all of the lodging varies depending on the dates, so your best bet is to call the resort at 888-639-3176. Boyne management is quite proud of their booking staff and they absolutely will get you the best price available.

On a Boyne Golf Vacation: After dinner cocktails and dessert at The Inn At Bay Harbor.
On a Boyne Golf Vacation: After dinner cocktails and dessert at The Inn At Bay Harbor.

For dining, the Inn at Bay Harbor has The Sagamore Room, where we had an excellent breakfast two days in a row. We also had a wonderful dinner there. The Chophouse is an upscale steakhouse and bar.

Non golf activities include dips in the pool, bicycling, boat rides, lawn games, including a giant chess set, a game room, fly fishing, and spa services. I am certain that non-golfers can find something to do there. Mrs. GolfBlogger (a non-golfer) would have loved it.

Close to Bay Harbor is the Petosky, a classic Northern Michigan resort town with an eclectic downtown full of shopping and dining. For the literary minded, Petosky was the summer vacation spot for the young Ernest Hemingway.

On A Boyne Golf Vacation: Sunset over the ninth hole of the Quarry nine.
On A Boyne Golf Vacation: Sunset over the ninth hole of the Quarry nine.

One thing that Boyne Golf is currently doing is signing people up for a Cliffview Cart Cruise, where you will be guided along the Links and Quarry nines to take in and photograph the area’s spectacular sunsets.

On A Boyne Golf Vacation: The finishing green on the Quarry nine at Bay Harbor
On A Boyne Golf Vacation: The finishing green on the Quarry nine at Bay Harbor

The stars of the show, however, are the three nines at Bay Harbor Golf Club, and the 18 holes at Crooked Tree.

Bay Harbor Golf Club is justifiably famous and makes regular appearances in “Best of” lists. Designed by the late Arthur Hills, the three nines are the Links, the Quarry and the Preserve. (links go to my reviews)

A view from the fairway on Bay Harbor Link’s first.

The Links is just that: a links style course that is routed long bluffs overlooking Little Traverse Bay. The course is a blast, and the views are terrific. It’s must-play golf.

On A Boyne Golf Vacation: A view of the quarry nine at Bay Harbor Golf Club

As for the Quarry, there’s nothing else quite like it. Hills routed the course around the quarry’s rim, down into the pit, then back up, finishing along the lakeshore.

The second at Bay Harbor’s Preserve is a 341 yard par 4.

The Preserve is a more traditional Northern Michigan layout, with trees, marsh and elevation changes. It is a very good design that suffers only in comparison to the views at the Links and Quarry.

I’ll be a contrarian and say that my favorite routing is actually Preserve-Links. You don’t get the amazing Quarry views, but the Preserve offers some very interesting golf challenges.

Across the street from Bay Harbor is the Crooked Tree golf club. Originally designed by Harry Bowers, and then reworked by Arthur Hills, Crooked Tree is fun and challenging. I’ve now played it twice and thorougly enjoyed both outings.

If Boyne Golf has a “hidden gem” it’s Crooked Tree. Very reasonably priced golf at a very high standard.

I’ll post articles on my visit to Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highands in the coming days.

Read all of GolfBlogger’s Michigan Golf Course Reviews at the link.

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