The Michigan Side of Michiana
Michiana golf is great golf. The challenge is to make golfers from two states aware of how good it is. What's a golf course to do? Michigan courses suh as Island Hills GC, Grande GC and Blackberry Patch each represent different paths for Indiana golfers coming to Michigan and Michigan golfer going to Indiana. According to GM Mike Shields, Lake Michigan Hills (www.lakemichiganhills.com) gets 70 percent of its play from Indiana. This 174-acre, 18-hole championship course in Benton Harbor features large rolling greens and contoured fairways. There are some marvelous vistas that allow golfers to gaze down upon the heavily wooded course.The course has full amenities including a driving range, putting greens, proshop and banquet area.
For Bob Magness at Coldwater's Blackberry Patch, "Fort Wayne is by far my biggest market and all of Indiana is huge for us." Magness does well with people on their way north to play other Michigan courses in the spring and fall. He is frustrated that more people do not know about his course. "Our course is in excellent shape; Pam Smith our superintendent has done a fantastic job for a course that is only three years old," says Magness. Blackberry Patch (www.blackberrypatchgolf.com) was designed by Indiana architect, Ernie Schrock, who did Crystal Springs in the Grand Rapids area and of late, Grey Goose and Glendarin Hills in Indiana. Blackberry Patch is also a golf course community and the homes around the course are filling in nicely.
Tom and Lori Templin of Island Hills GC, find themselves in a similar situation. Located in Centreville, they are in the center of beautiful land but with few people. Their golf course borders on 1,100-acre Lake Templene and has a string of brilliant finishing holes. The fact that Golf Digest honored them on its top 25 courses in Michigan list should cause golfers to put the course on their to-play list for 2002. Designed by Ray Hearn (http://michigangolfer.tv April 27 show), Island Hills is the type of course that will continue to make the "Best Of" lists. Find out all you need at www.islandhillsgolf.com.
The Grande, located South of Jackson on US-127 is an absolutely magnificent addition to the golf inventory of this state. A Ray Hearn design, the course is spread out over 400 acres. With so much land, the abundant wetlands really do not come into play that much, but they do provide a visual feast when contrasted with the fullness of the fairways. It truly is a golf course on a grand scale. The Indiana connection to this area of our state has been there long before the golf course. The Indianapolis, Jackson connection grew primarily because of the races tracks located in both communities. GM Steve Southward spends his energy tweaking the new course and is satisfied with the rounds they logged year. When he gears up his marketing plans, Indiana will be a major target market. The Grandes website is well done and you can listen to a piper while surfing through it: www.grandegolfclub.com.
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