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nellycuz

Weekend Trip To Michigan Late April '14: Need Advice

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Have been looking and getting quotes from various resorts in Michigan. Going with a group of 4-8, and don't want to break the bank but don't want to play any goat tracks I can find in Columbus, OH. Any suggestions? We are looking to play 18 Friday, 36 Saturday and 18 Sunday, so an unlimited package might be what we're looking for. I've gotten 2 quotes from Treetops and A-Ga-Ming resorts. Ming was the least expensive so I'm kind of leaning towards them. I'm waiting to here back from a few others like Boyne. Anyone have any suggestions? I've read good things about Sundance golf course at Ming.....Let's hear some others. I've read the other threads on Michigan golf but they are kind of dated. Let's hear it!!! Thanks ahead of time!!
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Honestly, I'm curious why your group would choose MI in mid-April.  The grass won't even be growing by then, let alone playing on anything close to a nicely manicured courses that early in the season.  Boyne area?  Seriously? Are you kidding?  Mid-April is still SKI season up there!

Also not getting your 'goat tracks' in Columbus Ohio comment.  Pretty sure Longaberger near Columbus is a Golf Digest top-100 courses in the US anyone can play.  Goat track?  Hardly.  Near Columbus, yes.

Are you sure you guys wouldn't rather go SOUTH?!!!

dave

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I agree.   We usually have an ice storm early April and a lot of the courses aren't open until early May.    Make sure to call ahead.

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I'm a few miles south of Boyne and at my course there were patches of snow near the end of April last year. Of course, that didn't stop me from playing.

I think you'd be safe downstate but I wouldn't know how the course conditions would be. Sounds like you might have higher standards than I do.

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Seems a little cold that time of year.  If you are heading north try Shanty Creek.  We have made two trips there and plan on returning for our third annual this year.

The Legend and Cedar River courses are great and you can play Schuss as well. Stay in the main village and shuttle in to Bellaire for dinner and drinks!

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You are really rolling the dice to come to Michigan in April - but if you get lucky then you get good prices.

Those of us in the area are out playing, but we aren't making it a huge trip

Depending on where you want to stay, there are lots of choices beyond the resorts - like Forest Dunes, Black Forest, Tullymore/St. Ives, or course Arcadia, just depends where you want to base your trip.

In theory the further south you go the better you weather luck should be - SW area Ravines, Hawkshead, Clearbrook, Thornapple, Harbor Shores.

Good luck - pack sweaters & jackets, it should be alright!

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There is a very good chance that the better golf resorts will not be open in late April. But if it works out, one of my favorites is True North.

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Thanks for all the replies! Things have changed as I have thought more about this since your responses. We are going to go either the 2nd week of May or late summer/early fall now. I'm trying to figure out if staying at a resort is the best way to do this. For lodging, all we need is the basics: shower, 4 beds, fridge. Most of the resorts look like we are getting and paying more than we need, which the extra $$ could be spent on golf. Only thing is, I like some of the unlimitted golf perks with the stay and play packages. I want to include at least one of the two courses: Forest Dunes or Arcadia. I think they are about 90 minutes away from eachother. Include one of those and then a couple rounds at some other decent courses. Which course has more options near by, Dunes or Arcadia? Well maintained, decent price courses. Forest Dunes or Arcadia will obviously be our highlight of the trip. What do some of you who live in Michigan think our best route would be? Stay in a resort and pay for more upscale lodging? Or stay in a hotel close to Arcadia or FD, then play some surrounding less expensive courses? Looking to play 1 round Friday afternoon, 2 Saturday and maybe 1 Sunday on the way home from MI to Cbus, OH.
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Thanks for all the replies!

Things have changed as I have thought more about this since your responses.

We are going to go either the 2nd week of May or late summer/early fall now.

I'm trying to figure out if staying at a resort is the best way to do this. For lodging, all we need is the basics: shower, 4 beds, fridge. Most of the resorts look like we are getting and paying more than we need, which the extra $$ could be spent on golf. Only thing is, I like some of the unlimitted golf perks with the stay and play packages.

I want to include at least one of the two courses: Forest Dunes or Arcadia. I think they are about 90 minutes away from eachother. Include one of those and then a couple rounds at some other decent courses. Which course has more options near by, Dunes or Arcadia? Well maintained, decent price courses. Forest Dunes or Arcadia will obviously be our highlight of the trip.

What do some of you who live in Michigan think our best route would be? Stay in a resort and pay for more upscale lodging? Or stay in a hotel close to Arcadia or FD, then play some surrounding less expensive courses? Looking to play 1 round Friday afternoon, 2 Saturday and maybe 1 Sunday on the way home from MI to Cbus, OH.

My golfing group has never done the hotel or resort route - one of the guys goes on VRBO (or a similar site) and finds a home to rent, then we find tee times and upon arrival make one trip to the grocery/beverage store for the stay.

As far as which has more around it - both Arcadia and Forest Dunes are both out of the way places; I'd say there is more near Forest Dunes, you could stay at Tree Tops (as an example) and it is about an hour to Forest Dunes, Arcadia would be 2+ hours. From Boyne you are looking at 2 hours to Forest Dunes and closer to 3 hours to Arcadia.

IMO - Arcadia is a destination course, it is not the most challenging - but the views and layout are amazing. Forest Dunes is probably a tougher layout, but it is literally in the middle of nowhere, don't get me wrong it is a great facility, clubhouse, dining area, the course is great, but it has no views like those you get on every hole at the Bluffs.

The better lodging choice for Arcadia is either Traverse City (Grand Traverse Resort - I've heard mixed reviews, some love, some not so much), or you could look at Tullymore/St. Ives, still 2 hours to Arcadia or Forest Dunes but nice courses.

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Good idea using VRBO! I've used them before, going to look into options! Thanks!
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What do you think the course condition at Arcadia would be around May 9th-11th?
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We stay @ Shanty Creek a nd  play the following;

Day 1:Legend and Cedar River (arrival)

Day 2:Schuss and Legend

Day 3; Cedar River and Legend (depart)

We get a package with 2 X  2 bedroom condos with 4 beds, 2 baths and a kitchen in each condo. Nothing overly fancy...just the basics! The reservations office does an awesome job working out pricing for various days and number of rounds.

Arriving around early-mid September (11th I think this year) and the weather is usually great and the courses are in even better shape!

Package pricing is unbelievable and you could always drop the the Day 1 rounds and arrange on your own to hit Arcadia on the way up. We have been to Turning Stone,NY, Myrtle Beach, Florida, Muskoka, Ontario and Treetops. We  have also played a few others in Michigan as well. We have gotten quotes from a number of places each and every year but resorts seem the way to go.  The experience at Shanty Creek (courses, lodging,friendly staff and free shuttle bus to Bellaire) has us returning for a third visit again this year...worth the 5 and 1/2 hour drive from Toronto, Ontario!

Another valuable tip is to check out the "two guys who golf" website as well. Good luck!!

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Can't speak on the weather but will add these three words.  Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate.  I live in SE Michigan and know from groups I've gone up with and others I've heard about, these resorts will strike deals, depending on timing and group size.  Get your best talker on the phone with the resorts you are interested in and see what happens.  Nothing is in stone with these places.

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Thanks guys...really appreciate the info! Keep the knowledge coming!
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Good advice from Straycat...negotiate!  We have gotten breakfasts, resort credits, clothing, no resort fees... etc. We have let a resort know what another offers and give them a chance to do better...most want to get you there and will do something for your business!

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Gents, I have played almost every course in Northern Michigan and have been the group planner of an annual trip up north for more than 25 years so I know what I'm talking about. I personally think you have to much driving planned. The drive from Arcadia to Forest Dunes is about 2 hours 15 minutes. I have made the drive plenty of times as I will play both courses in the same day and its not an easy drive and its hard on the body. I would not recommend it as the roads are all 55 mph and your already driving enough coming from Ohio. I would also suggest going in May as you can get killer deals. Best option in my opinion. Friday - drive to Gaylord Michigan and play the Otsego Club (Tribute). This is ranked in the top 10 best courses in Michigan and has some of the most amazing views in Michigan. You could have a stay and play for $95 .....here's the link http://otsegoclub.com/summer/golf-packages-rates.html Saturday - Treetops offers a crazy May Special that I use every year and I provided the link below. 1 night stay and 2 day unlimited golf for $129 a man. They even throw in a free breakfast so how can you beat that? It's only a 5 minute drive from Otsego Club to Treetops and play 45 holes that Saturday since its all you can golf. I would rank the courses at Treetops as follows 1. Signature 2. Premier 3. Masterpiece 4. Threetops ( best par 3 course in world). Don't play the Tradition as its garbage. http://treetops.com/courses/packages-and-rates/golf-packages/ Sunday - 36 holes at Treetops since its free RECAP - so you stay 2 nights and play 97 holes of golf for $224 a man and you get a free breakfast. That's as good as it gets and my group has always went up in Mid/late may and have never had a problem with weather. Last but not least. Forest Dunes is an amazing golf courses and the conditioning is awesome but its a very flat golf course. There are no breathtaking views. When you play Treetops and Otsego Club there are 15 holes that will make you shit your pants as some of these holes have views that you can see 15-20 miles. I love Fores Dunes but the trip I listed blow forest Dunes out of the water. Arcadia and Forest Dunes are amazing but they really don't represent what Northern Michigan golf is all about. Email me at rgarvelink@portage with any questions. Cheers!
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Gents,

I have played almost every course in Northern Michigan and have been the group planner of an annual trip up north for more than 25 years so I know what I'm talking about. I personally think you have to much driving planned. The drive from Arcadia to Forest Dunes is about 2 hours 15 minutes. I have made the drive plenty of times as I will play both courses in the same day and its not an easy drive and its hard on the body. I would not recommend it as the roads are all 55 mph and your already driving enough coming from Ohio. I would also suggest going in May as you can get killer deals.

Best option in my opinion.

Friday - drive to Gaylord Michigan and play the Otsego Club (Tribute). This is ranked in the top 10 best courses in Michigan and has some of the most amazing views in Michigan. You could have a stay and play for $95 .....here's the link

http://otsegoclub.com/summer/golf-packages-rates.html

Saturday - Treetops offers a crazy May Special that I use every year and I provided the link below. 1 night stay and 2 day unlimited golf for $129 a man. They even throw in a free breakfast so how can you beat that? It's only a 5 minute drive from Otsego Club to Treetops and play 45 holes that Saturday since its all you can golf. I would rank the courses at Treetops as follows 1. Signature 2. Premier 3. Masterpiece 4. Threetops ( best par 3 course in world). Don't play the Tradition as its garbage.

http://treetops.com/courses/packages-and-rates/golf-packages/

Sunday - 36 holes at Treetops since its free

RECAP - so you stay 2 nights and play 97 holes of golf for $224 a man and you get a free breakfast. That's as good as it gets and my group has always went up in Mid/late may and have never had a problem with weather.

Last but not least. Forest Dunes is an amazing golf courses and the conditioning is awesome but its a very flat golf course. There are no breathtaking views. When you play Treetops and Otsego Club there are 15 holes that will make you shit your pants as some of these holes have views that you can see 15-20 miles. I love Fores Dunes but the trip I listed blow forest Dunes out of the water. Arcadia and Forest Dunes are amazing but they really don't represent what Northern Michigan golf is all about. Email me at rgarvelink@portage with any questions.

Cheers!

This is probably as good of advice as you're going to get.  I have to say though I disagree a bit with your assessment on FD/Arcadia. You're right on that Forest Dunes is probably the better golf course, but Arcadia is an experience.  I think those two are the best two courses in Northern MI, (Public courses).  While the elevation changes are found at many Northern MI courses, I don't believe that's what "Northern Michigan Golf  is all about".

As to the OP, you're really rolling the dice on the weather that time of year. The talk of snow is probably a bit overdone here (especially if you're now looking early May), but be prepared for some chilly days.  I would suggest the Gaylord area simply because you're further from the lake which will help.  You could easily do the Treetops suggestion above and work in a day to play FD which is only an hour away or so.  Boyne does have an unlimited golf package that's about $100 per person including lodging, but again if you're already playing with the weather, I'd opt for something inland.  As for Arcadia, you would still enjoy playing there in May, but you won't get the real experience.  The fescue will all be dormant still, which makes the course easier, but a lot less visually appealing.  Also I would keep in mind that depending on your group of golfers and their skill levels, FD may not be a great option.  It's all about the course at Forest Dunes, and if guys are going to struggle they probably won't enjoy it and get their moneys worth (This would apply if you have a good number of 20+ cappers).  Arcadia is probably still worth it as you could shoot 160 there and still enjoy the round just due to the views and the experience.

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