BAY HARBOR GOLF CLUB – Bay Harbor, MI
A+ – Playability & Challenge
A – Quality of Course
A+ – Memorability
A – Service Levels
A – Pro Shop
A – 19th Hole Experience
A – OVERALL EXPERIENCE
(Written by Jim Dee) … Golfing in Michigan with temps in the 40’s sounds more like a challenge than a fun time, but the crew from Golfest couldn’t have been more wrong. Just arriving at and walking out on the first tee at any of their three nine-hole courses is an experience. Whether it is the Links, the Quarry, or the Preserve, it doesn’t matter, because any first tee at this place has similar fantastic surroundings and incredible views. What a place this is.
With apologies to Kevin Costner and the movie “Field of Dreams,” you find yourself asking if this place is heaven, and the reply from the staff is simply, “No, it’s Michigan.” Once you realize you’re not dreaming, the fun begins. And, even though we teed off under early morning cloudy skies and 40 degrees, within a couple of holes the sun broke through and gave us great weather the rest of the day.
Bay Harbor has put together 27-holes of very different golf … all into one location. In fact, I believe that no two holes are anything alike on these courses. When you’re on the Links 9, you would think you’re at Bandon Dunes, or one of the British Open courses across the pond. A few of the holes on the Links will even remind you of Pebble Beach or Spyglass on the Monterrey peninsula with the incredible vistas.
Switch over to the Quarry course, and you might be reminded of some of the wetlands courses at Myrtle Beach, such as Caledonia or Tidewater. And, when you complete the third 9 at the Preserve, all of a sudden you’re reminded of courses carved out of the deep woods such as those found at the Pinehurst Resort and others in North Carolina. All in all, it would be tough to find a more satisfying and fun day than playing 27-holes at Bay Harbor.
Some of the more memorable holes from my round included the signature hole, number 7 on the Links. Since anything hit right is wet, this hole works great for me. The par-5 plays well for a lefty with a fade (sometimes slice), but I still was only able to get away with a bogey, and glad to take it on this hole. My usual habit of putting from off the fringe on this links style green was a benefit, since the putting surface was small, extremely fast, with a bunch of undulations. Enjoy the hole and the view, they are both incredible.
Moving on to the Quarry course, the number 3 par-5 hole was about as much fun as I’ve had in awhile. After a decent drive, my second shot with a fairway wood found my ball within three feet of the drop-off on the right side of the fairway, but the rough held it up enough to get a club on it. I made it over in three, chipped on and one putted for par. Another par-5 on the Quarry course is the fifth hole, which is where my fade worked against me. Trying to bite off too much of the hazard, my tee shot didn’t make the fairway, and I wound up scrambling for bogey on what should have been a relatively easy par. The narrow green appears surrounded by water, with not a lot of room for error anywhere.
The 6th hole, a par-4, is very fun also. Playing only 300 yards from the gold, you can convince yourself that this is a driveable par-4, and all of us in the group hit a normal first shot, and then teed one up just for fun. We thought that one of the four made it, but we couldn’t find it when we got to the green. Don’t let this hole fool you, unless you hit it a mile and straight, it’ll take two to reach on this one.
In addition to the fantastic golf, the resort itself has some great amenities. We stayed in the cottages, which had plenty of room and a well stocked kitchen, and I’m told the rooms at the resort are very nice as well. The staff at the pro shop and restaurant at the course did a great job for us. The entire experience at this resort was one of my personal highlights of Golfest 2008, and Bay Harbor will now be listed among my top five courses nationally.