When people think of a golf vacation, they often think of a guy's weekend or a couple's getaway. Many people haven't considered the possibility of making it a family vacation.
After our trip to Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Mich., we realized that it is entirely doable to include the kids. Not only were we interested in spending some quality time with our boys (ages 9 & 11) on the golf course, we were also excited to explore the family activities that Boyne Highlands has to offer.
If you haven't been to this beautiful area of Northern Michigan in the summer, you are missing out. Harbor Springs, Petoskey and Bay Harbor are towns that come to life in the summer with crisp air, blue water, great boutique shopping and a variety of eclectic dining.
We began our Boyne Highlands adventure with a 4 p.m. tee time at the Donald Ross Memorial course; which we soon found out is a collection Ross' best holes from other courses, which made it fun.
Typical to a Ross designed course there are plenty of bunkers so if you aren't straight and precise with your yardage; you spend lots of time in the sand. On all of the Boyne courses, kids play free during twilight golf, which is a nice bonus feature.
We have one child who is passionate about the game and one who prefers to sit out some holes or pick up his ball if he's struggling. Free twilight golf for kids is a great way to broaden a child's exposure to the game without a sting to your wallet if he is less than interested. On a side note, another great bonus is that Boyne has Family Funday Sunday where one parent pays for golf and the rest of the family plays for free (second parent and two juniors under 17).
We returned to the resort after our twilight round and went to explore the evening activities. When observing the variety of activities set up on the back lawn you almost feel as if you've been transported to 1970's family resort; reminiscent of a time where life moved at a slower pace. It was a breath of fresh air to see kids of all ages running and playing while adults grabbed a beverage and relaxed.
Boyne has so much going on including tennis, basketball, soccer, ladder ball, kayaks and mini golf. Kids can move freely from one activity to the next with a large storage barn with all the supplies needed to have fun.
There is just something about wide-open spaces and watching children run that makes for a blissful summer night. I did not observe a single young person sitting down with a phone or device. Depending on the day of the week, there are also scenic chairlift rides and a huge bonfire with s'mores.
Boyne makes it easy for adults to squeeze in a little alone time to golf or enjoy the spa as they offer an Adventure Camp for the kids to keep them busy and on the run. There are more family activities like horseback rides and zip line courses. In addition, there is a 9-hole par 3 on-site that is complementary to resort guest with lights for night play. The staff at Boyne Highlands was very friendly. From the cleaning ladies in the hall to the wait staff who managed to remember our kids from meal to meal; they all made us feel very welcome.
Bob enjoyed a round of golf at the Crooked Tree Golf Club on our second day and was impressed by the gorgeous views and impeccable greens.
Crooked Tree has a reputation of being a beautiful but tricky golf course and some have said unfair at times.
There are many blind pin shots and if playing from the orange tees you have to carry the ball 200 yards over wetlands and bushes to meet the fairway. This is a course where you have to play the correct tees that match your skill set to thoroughly enjoy the game.
Boyne contracted with Arthur Hills this year to redesign holes 16, 17 and 18 to make them more playable.
They made significant changes moving greens, reshaping fairways, and completing bunker work. As a result you have some fantastic golf with beautiful views of the Little Traverse Bay and Bay Harbor. Take time to look around and enjoy it.
Boyne Highlands offers 5 golf courses: The Moor, Donald Ross Memorial, Arthur Hills, The Heather and Hidden River Golf & Casting Club (off-site). While, Bay Harbor Golf Club (also a Boyne facility) offers: Crooked Tree Golf Club, The Preserve, The Links and the Quarry.
To plan your family getaway check out this link for deals at Boyne Highlands Boyne.com or call 800-462-6963
Written by Stephanie Krause