At 307 acres, Apple Mountain has enough to space to entertain regardless of the season. In the winter, when the resort gets 52 inches of snow on average, the whooshing sounds of skiing fill the 12 slopes, which have snow-making capabilities, lights for night skiing, a ski lodge, and oversight from the National Ski Patrol and PSIA-certified instructors. When the weather warms up because all the cold air has been breathed up by everyone, the pinging sounds of golf clubs take over the 18-hole golf course, which was designed by John Sanford.
Oak and maple trees nod their shaggy heads in the breeze over The Emerald Golf Course. The gentle pop of clubs against golf balls floats from four sets of tees, set among easy hillocks crisscrossed by a stream. Past tufts of wildflowers, carts hum along, carrying players to a driving range or a pro shop brimming with clubs and golf apparel like RoboCop’s bag when he’s going on vacation. The clubhouse spills the aromas of burgers crowned with guacamole, tapenade, and sautéed jalapeños.
####Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par-72 course * Length of 6,619 yards from the back tees * Four sets of tees
The PGA-certified instructors at Boyne Golf Academy use advanced technological tools such as radar and form-analysis software to improve the strokes of students of all levels. Pupils receive one-on-one attention during the hands-on practice session, which focuses on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each golfer’s swing mechanics. The V1 Pro swing-analysis software provides club kids with visual feedback on their slicing or hooking tendencies, and the Sam PuttLab employs ultrasound to determine the gender of each golfer’s putter. As the ball's postswing sojourn commences, the Doppler-based TrackMan radar system relays a 3-D real-time view and provides data on the dimpled orb’s trajectory. Although this Groupon is only valid for lessons, King Par Superstore is jam-packed with golf equipment and apparel and performs professional club fittings to ensure that wrists and 9-irons get along instead of attacking each other with golf clubs.
The ponds, streams, and rolling terrain at Goodrich Country Club shape the 18-hole, par 70 course into two distinct nines. A pond may separate the first and second holes, but the front nine consists mostly of dry, straight-ahead fairways that lead to elevated greens. This straightforward first act helps players get comfortable on the course, but that doesn't mean it's a cakewalk. With a narrow fairway and trees lining the left side, the 391-yard, par-four third hole is the course's most treacherous, sometimes prompting fearful golf carts to buck and bray as they approach the tee box.
The back nine presents an entirely different challenge. Water hazards play a prominent role on six holes, requiring players to focus on accurate shotmaking and sound course management. The second nine also hosts the course's signature hole: the par-four 17th cuts a memorable route with two water hazards pinching the fairway and a pond in front of the green, which will have golfers second-guessing their club selection and searching for turtles to bounce their approach closer to the pin.
Course at a Glance:
Though it may be the decorative centerpiece of a miniature golf course, there is nothing miniature about the waterfall at Lake Nepessing Golfland. The perpetually gushing rock formation looms above the emerald putting circuit, casting a mist into the air that cools down golfers as they attempt pressure-packed putts or handle golf balls fresh from the microwave. In addition to its Lilliputian links, the family fun center helps golfers groom their swings with a lighted driving range that offers both grass and artificial turf hitting areas. A staff of instructors roams the driving bays, doling out instruction and video-based swing analysis.
The thrum of humming engines fills Lake Nepessing Golfland’s grounds, emanating from the center’s outdoor go-kart track. The track is lighted for after-sunset racing, and guests can choose to drive solo or ride along friends, family, or adopted mannequins in a tandem kart.
First opened in 1927, Portland Country Club's 18-hole course sprawls across 100 acres of rolling countryside terrain stitched by mature trees. The winding 5,558-yard layout challenges duffers with imposing tree lines and sand traps kissed against fairways and greens. Portland Country Club regularly hosts the Michigan Players Junior Golf Tour as well as its annual Best Ball Tournament, which has been played for 54 consecutive years. The club still retains the grounds' original farmhouse, now expanded and renovated into a clubhouse to serve as a testament to its humble beginnings and a quick reference for any Herbert Hoover–related trivia.
Course at a Glance: