Every club in a golfer’s bag makes an appearance at the Fox Hills Resort Golf Course, whose 45 fairways sprawl over 500 acres. The resort boasts an 18-hole Scottish-links-style course—The National—where touring professionals including Bob Hope have navigated through sculpted mounds and double greens designed by Ed Locke. The course’s 16 acres of water hazards force players to aim with precision to avoid sailing their golf carts after sunken balls.
Encircling the resort lodges nearby, the three 9-hole Fox Creek courses unfurl parkland-style fairways lined by villas and quietly weeping willows. A sprinkling of aquatic hazards keeps novices on their toes, but players can gear up for these challenges with lessons from experts such as the club’s head golf pro Josh Redo. Before tackling any of the resort’s courses, clubbers can warm up at a driving range with 70 hitting stations.
Golfers enjoy a bevy of dining options before or after rounds, including The 19th Hole Bar & Grill, where they can grab a quick brat or white-cheddar-cheese curds. The Willowview Restaurant invites diners to make reservations before tucking into steak or prime rib, and the Benchwarmers Sports Bar welcomes guests to sip a foamy brew while watching the game, lounging on an outdoor deck, or knitting a new head cover for their favorite sand wedge.
The National Course at a Glance:
Fox Creek Course at a Glance:
While the S.S. Badger has been honored with a placement on the National Register of Historic Places, its beginnings were humble. First setting sail in 1953, the Badger originally carried railcars, along with a few select passengers, across scenic Lake Michigan year round. Now the last of the United States’s coal-fired steamships, the 410-foot vessel ships cargo of a different kind, transporting guests and their vehicles across Lake Michigan with the comforts and amenities of a modern cruise ship, with efforts to improve their ship environmentally in the near future.
While the boat embarks along between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, guests amble through the open deck for views of the scenic shorelines or set up shop on deck chairs, armed with a cool drink and a Mermaid-to-English dictionary. The ship’s shaded interior entertains with movies, guests shouting at celebratory bingo, and arcade games giving off musical tones as kids set new high scores. For a more muted ride, private staterooms let guests snooze away the hours, and a quiet room elucidates the ship’s history in hushed solitude. An in-house bar blends, shakes, and stirs ingredients into a range of refreshing cocktails, while the café showcases artfully crafted sandwiches like a deli hall of fame.
Since 1999, His and Hers Styles Plus has tended to the beauty needs of families throughout the Whitelaw area. Haircuts and washes with scalp massages revitalize manes of all genders, and beard trims keep men from being mistaken for Father Time. In addition to performing nail services and tanning, His and Hers also hosts princess-themed children’s birthday parties, which include hairdos, glitter, nail polish, and tiaras for each guest.
Absolute Relaxation Massage and Bodywork's licensed aesthetician, Nikki, brightens dull epidermal layers with a docket of spa services. Nikki resurfaces façades with refreshing facials, deeply exfoliating microdermabrasion treatments, and rejuvenating peels. Body wraps lure toxins away with seaweed extract and a carrot-shaped magnet, and massage sessions drive away tension with hot stones and apt hands. Hours in the evening and every other Saturday ensure convenient appointment times for people who work during the day or spend their nights scanning the skies, helping Orion find his belt.
The instructors at De Equus Stables aim to teach their riders more than galloping or stage presence—they also believe in the therapeutic benefits of connecting with a horse. That's why, in addition to teaching saddle seat, hunt seat, and western riding styles, they host camps and clubs to meet the needs of casual equine enthusiasts. As they acquaint patrons with their mounts, they cover aspects of horse care outside of riding, such as grooming and equipment use to impart a long-term equine education. The facility’s horses vary in disposition from gentle steeds recommended for first-timers to highly trained trotters and big rigs in bridles for show competitors.
Channeling their certifications from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, the staffers often plan customized lessons based around specific emotional or physical goals. They also welcome all sorts of equestrians—and visitors who simply feel an affinity with horses—to their American Saddlebred Horse Association Youth Club, which schedules educational outings to farms, horse shows, and clinics.
Draped over 270 acres of rolling woodland terrain, Branch River Golf & Tennis’s 18-hole course funnels dimpled orbs through a circuit of arching fairways dotted with lush trees. After two generous starting holes, golfers must face Branch River’s daunting “Monster” hole, a 584-yard behemoth where players must tunnel drives though a fairway hemmed by trees, before determining how best to approach a creek-fortified green with a false front and fake ID. High-risk, high-reward shots abound throughout, forcing golfers to exercise sound course management as they drink in views of the picturesque par 72 course.
Along with pristine links, Branch River Golf & Tennis houses three tennis courts, a full-size outdoor pool, and an area for trap shooting. After a long day of spirited sport and swimming, guests can take a load off at dining facilities that overlook the course and graciously supply booster seats so anthropomorphic sand wedges can partake in the meal.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Course rating of 72.5 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 125 from the farthest tees * Four tee options * Click here for course layout