Sage Run, Michigan’s Newest Course, Opens May 31

Sage Run, the newest course at Island Resort and Casino in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Sage Run, the newest course at Island Resort and Casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Sage Run at Island Resort & Casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will open on May 31. It is the third new course to open in Michigan in as many years.

Sage Run is the sister course to Island Resort and Casino’s widely acclaimed Sweetgrass. Both were designed by Paul Albanese. Read The GolfBlogger’s Sweetgrass Golf Course Review.

“When we began previewing some of the golf holes last season, we could see how the course was evolving into something special,” Tony Mancilla, the resort’s general manager said. “Having two distinctly different courses now allows us to attract significantly more golfers to the resort.”

Sage Run is part of the Hannahville Indian community resort’s $8 million renovation. The work includes a full-service spa, renovation of the bingo hall and a new sports bar.

Sweetgrass Hole 1, a 320 yard par 4
Sweetgrass Hole 1, a 320 yard par 4

Although both Island Resort courses were designed by Albanese, Sage Run offers golfers a strong contrast to Sweetgrass. While Sweetgrass is a prairie course, winding through gently rolling hills covered with natural grasses, Sage Run is hilly and wooded.

Albanese said his company’s design philosophy is to never try to force a design and they stayed true to it at Sage Run.

A natural drumlin, or elongated hill or ridge formed by glacial ice long ago, is the primary feature on Sage Run.

 “It is a pretty prominent land form that is featured on the site,” Albanese said. “The holes go around, over and through the drumlin. Golfers will experience great holes through the trees, some in open areas and just a lot of variety in terms of landscape and feel.”

“Sage Run is 75 percent through great trees, very dramatic up and down through the hills with some great long holes going down the hills and some great short holes going up the hills; It’s a lot different,” Mancilla said.

Sage Run and Sweetgrass: Championship Courses

Both are true championship courses. In the fall, Sage Run will host a new college event. Sweetgrass is part of the “Road to the LPGA” with its Symetra Tour Island Resort Championship (June 21-23).

Albanese said Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, rated among the world’s top courses, served as inspiration for Sage Run. Natural long grasses edge the bunkers, and some of the short par 4s have blind shots to the greens. 

“Sage Run has that same rough and tumble look with earth tones natural to that landscape,” he said.

The Sage Run name pays homage for the Hannahville Indian Community to the Potawatomi tribal traditions.

“We selected sage because we wanted to highlight another of our four traditional tribal medicines – along with cedar, tobacco and sweet grass,” Mancilla said.

For more information about Island Resort & Casino golf, visit

About Island Resort & Casino

Located in Michigan’s scenic Upper Peninsula just outside of Escanaba, Island Resort & Casino is one of the Midwest’s largest golf, casino and entertainment resort destinations.  The resort features 326 guest rooms including elegant suites and a 42-site RV Park. The 194,000 square-feet casino offers an award-winning poker room, craps, blackjack, Spanish 21, three card poker, let-it-ride, roulette and bingo.  

The award-winning golf with Sweetgrass and Sage Run has become the centerpiece of the resort, but its amenities are equally as impressive with the luxurious Drift Spa that offers a variety of high-end spa services with access to the resort’s salt water pool, steam rooms and sauna.  Multiple dining options include the signature 5 Bridges Steak and Seafood House, 5 Bridges Pub, Firekeepers Restaurant , T. McC’s Sports Bar, Mexican Express, Coral Reef Grille, Signature Subs & Pizza and an ice cream and bakery shop.  The Island regularly hosts headline entertainment in the intimate 1,327-seat Showroom as well as weekly bands and comedy entertainers in Club 41.  The Island Convention Center provides the perfect venue for special events, business meetings and weddings.

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