Who could have ever guessed an island in Northern Michigan could have two golf courses, one of them associated with a historic building?
I found that out while visiting Mackinac Island, specifically to see the 129-year-old Grand Hotel, which has lodged presidents and movie stars and was the site of the film Somewhere In Time. My wife, Jane, saw the film and said at some point in her life she wanted to see The Grand Hotel. So off we went from our home just west of Toronto in Mississauga. It took us about 10 hours.
Across the road from the Grand Island, I saw a putting green and what appeared to be a par-three course. So I ventured over to the pro shop and asked about the course. I was surprised by what I heard. The course, which is called The Jewel, is 18 holes and almost 5,500 from the blue tees. The first nine holes, the Grand Nine, were built in 1901 and redesigned in 1987 by golf course architect Jerry Matthews. He also designed the Woods nine, added in 1994. The longest hole in the Grand Nine is 356 yards. The Woods’ longest hole is 552 yards. There are two holes stretching more than 400 yards.
“Our golfers know (about the Jewel), but there are many people staying at the Grand that didn’t even know we had a golf course,” a spokesman from the pro shop told me. “We try to market it pretty well and we do a pretty good job of that.”
The Jewel is advertised one of the most unique courses in the United States with its unparalleled scenic beauty, lush landscaping and meticulously manicured tees, fairways and greens. The Grand nine offers views of Lake Huron and Round Island. The Woods’ nine is set in the interior of Mackinac Island, with views of the Mackinac Bridge and the Upper Peninsula.
Carts allow golfers to get around the course, but to get to the Woods, which is a mile and a quarter away from the Grand, requires a horse-drawn carriage provided at no charge. Carts can then be used for the final nine holes.
These are really the only vehicles on the island. To get around, you either have to walk, rent a bike, ride a horse (also available for hire) or hire a horse-drawn carriage. This is part of the preservation of Mackinac Island, which can only be accessed via ferry.
There are some interesting rules: Horses, bikes and pedestrians have the right of way on four of the holes, including from the 18th hole to the pro shop. Carts must come to a complete stop where horses are near. Balls resting in hoof prints may be lifted without penalty.
Food and alcohol are available at the Woods. As a side attraction, the Bavarian-style restaurant also has the oldest duckpin bowling alley in the U.S.
It costs $130 to play the 18 holes. Tee times for the full course are from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The nine-hole tee times are available until 4 p.m. The season runs from early May to late October.
For more information, visit http://www.grandhotel.com/specials/golf-packages.
There is also a nine-hole links course, Wawashkamo, on the other side of the island, near the airport, that has club membership, but is also open to the public. The fees range depending on the season.
The course is not associated with the Grand Hotel.
For further information, visit http://www.wawashkamo.com.
This post was originally published by Knetgolf on August 2, 2016. Knetgolf was acquired by LostGolfBalls.