WATCH THE GOLF SCENE on NBC Sports Chicago, with long time host Steve Kashul, and visit the show’s Facebook Page to win great prizes every month, including clubs. ______________________________________________________________________
IT’S NOT OFTEN these days that a brand new golf course gets built, but in the case of Sage Run in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan, that’s exactly what has happened, and golfers are better off for it.
Sage Run is part of the Island Resort and Casino in Harris Michigan, and it’s the second course that the resort has opened this decade. There is no doubt that golf has really added something to this destination.
If the resort wasn’t a destination before, it is now. About eight years the resorts first course called Sweetgrass opened up, it was designed by architect Paul Albanese. Since Sweetgrass a course you could say is very manicured, received great reviews by golfers, the resort invited Albanese back to try his hand at a second course. The sequel to Sweetgrass is Sage Run, a course that has plenty of elevation change, and has a face that hasn’t seen a razor in a few days, or maybe a week or more. Scruffy is the design, with wiry grass that is thin in some places, and thicker in others. As is matures and grows in, there will be times the resort will need to dig in and cut it back.
The Island Resort ownership has several parcels of the land in the area around Harris, and when they decided to build a second golf course, Albanese had his pick of multiple sites to pick from. What he and his team decided on, was the use of a Drumlin (a high ridge of ground) to build the golf course on. Sage Run still has some growing in and maturing to do, but in places it has a little bit of an Erin Hills look to it. That doesn’t mean Mike Davis and the USGA will be rolling in with the U.S. Open anytime soon, but it does provide an interesting round of golf for resort guests, other visitors to the UP of Michigan.
THE SHORT PAR 4, 7th hole is a great risk-reward, over the bunker and surrounding scruffy area, and the signature par 4, uphill, really uphill, 16th show off what a Drumlin really is, and it plays out on a golf course.
Sage Run is not all uphill, see the Drumlin allows for some serious downhill holes as well.
THE VIEW DOWN on the Par 4 15th hole, has a tee shot that rivals a similar one on the Par 5, 18th hole. The Sage Run Clubhouse isn’t big, but comes complete with a cozy grill, patio area, and well stocked pro shop.
Click here to hear the interview with architect Paul Albanese, who designed both courses at the Island Resort and Casino.
THE PAR 3 12TH HOLE is complete with a Biarittz style green, while the Par 3, 15th hole is an island green, with a shot over water, before golfers get to take their carts across the former railroad bridge and drive right up to the side of the green before putting out.
Both of the Island Resort Courses have nice practice area’s, even though the putting green at Sage Run, still needs just a little bit time to mature before it’s totally ready.
If your ready for a fun time, and you have worn out the roads heading around to the big side of Michigan, and all those great courses, why not try the UP side. It is a little quieter but it has plenty to do. The Island Resort and Casino offers not only two golf courses, and instruction headed up by Director of Golf Dave Douglass. But the resort comes with one of the larger casino’s you will find outside of Las Vegas or Atlantic City.
There is a spa if you need even further relaxation or the post round massage. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, starting with Firekeepers for breakfast (good Omelets) to start your day, the sports bar restaurant or the steakhouse, all make wonderful options. The grill at Sage Run is perfect for things like burgers, brats or hot dogs off the grill, or sandwiches inside. If your not ready for the casino but still like to gamble, the resort comes complete with it’s own Bingo parlor.
There is a Theater that hosts name entertainment acts almost all year round. There is a pool and other outdoor activities year round, with other options if your travel there in the colder months. There is other good public golf within an hour of the resort, if you wish to play additional rounds. Golf is very well priced on this side of the lake.
Island Resort and Casino is about 5 1/2 hour drive time from the Chicago Northwest Suburbs and is an easy run up through Milwaukee, GreenBay and into Michigan. When North of Green bay just follow Route 41 all the way to the front door of the resort. For more details on the Island Resort and Casino, do visit Islandresortandcasino.com or call the resort at (906)-466-2941. Island Resort and Casino, “Your Total Experience.”