Michigan is home to over 800 golf courses and I’m doing my best to experience as many as possible by traveling there about once per year. It might take a while to finish off the task, but it will be worth it. Michigan golf is tremendous, especially in the north.
Now that I’ve convinced you to plan a golf trip to Michigan, you’re going to need a great place to stay. Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has you covered.
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is located just outside of Traverse City in Williamsburg, Michigan. There are endless nearby attractions for golfers and non golfers alike. The resort is close to the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay, an arm of Lake Michigan. It’s a beautiful area.
On property are three very fun golf courses which boast widely different architectural styles, the Resort Course by William Newcomb, the Gary Player Wolverine Course, and the Jack Nicklaus Bear Course. I had the pleasure of playing The Bear and The Wolverine during my stay.
The Wolverine Course (Gary Player Design)
Grand Traverse offers various rooms in their tower and hotel as well as condos and suites. I stayed in the tower and my room was very spacious, warm, roomy, and comfortable. Plus I could watch the golf courses from an eagle’s vantage point (image below).
Room With a View (of the golf course!)
Other than golf the resort offers WiFi, HDTV’s, two indoor and outdoor pools, three outdoor and one indoor hot tub, indoor water playground, private beach club, spa, salon, large fitness center, tennis courts, day care, nearby gaming/casino, business center, watercraft rental.
I did some shopping in the Marketplace during my stay. There are numerous shops offering all sorts of great gifts, apparel and more.
There are five restaurants and lounges at Grand Traverse. I enjoyed a couple of meals at The Grille, which is conveniently located near the golf, the place I need it. The foot there was very well prepared, with generous portions and a great selection.
On the fancy night out I enjoyed the 5-star Aerie Restaurant and Lounge, which is one of the highest rated in Michigan. Fantastic steak.
I found all of the staff to be very friendly, helpful, and professional. No matter what I needed or where I was, the staff was well prepared and able to provide a great customer service experience.
You MUST plan on Michigan for your next golf getaway or a golf buddy trip. Aside from the on property courses at Grand Traverse, there are dozens of amazing courses you can play. Check out the other Michigan golf course reviews here at Hooked on Golf Blog. Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is a great choice for a home base on your Michigan golf trip.
If you were considering a Caribbean vacation but thought otherwise due to recent hurricane damage, think again.The Dominican Republic was not directly hit by Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Harvey, and their tourism industry is 100% open for business. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive Caribbean resort suggestion or Caribbean stay and play golf ideas, read on.
Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa
Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa is a sparkling brand new all-inclusive, adults only Dominican Republic resort which opened in November of 2016.The resort features 457 suites in several different buildings.Some rooms feature lovely swim-outs as seen below.In addition there is a spa, fitness area, beach, and massive pool area with bars all over so one isn’t far from a tasty and refreshing island beverage of choice, all included of course.
The resort features a spectacular open-air lobby area which contains resort registration, a bar, shops, coffee shop, and live entertainment most evenings.
My suite at Secrets Cap Cana was comfortable and spacious. The bed was so fantastic I wish I could have taken it home with me. I slept so well on it. Inside the room is a desk, sitting furniture, linen closet, large screen TV, safe, dressers, and secret box. The secret box is where you can request staff to put items you request, like room service.
The shower in the room was huge with three water spouts, two in the ceiling. The bathroom featured two very cool sinks, great lighting, and an isolated toilet.
The deck area in my room had a great view (night shot above). On the deck was a nice sitting area as well as a bathtub. I quite enjoyed my evening outdoor bath. It was, liberating. Yes I washed behind my ears.
Next time I get back, and I hope it is soon, I hope to get a “swim out” room. They’re rooms on the ground level with their own semi-private swimming area. See picture below:
Secrets features eight gourmet restaurants, all included with the all-inclusive resort fee. If you want to eat sushi every day of your vacation, there’s no extra cost.There are also restaurants featuring French, Italian, Japanese, buffet, snacks, and more. I really enjoyed the spectacular buffet for breakfast and lunch (below).There are numerous themed areas for meats, fruit, beverages, breads, entrees and custom prepared items.The meats and cheeses were fantastic.My go-to places were the buffet and the coffee shop. I enjoyed numerous lattes, shakes, and snacks in the coffee shop.
The resort occupies a massive acreage on the southeastern shore of the Dominican Republic, just 30 minutes or so from the Punta Cana airport. The Punta Cana airport is home to flights from most major airlines.
Naturally the fantastic weather and warm shallow waters of the Caribbean provide many possible activities.On property of course is the beach, with soft, fine sand.The water is very shallow and warm, and the shallow area extends hundreds of feet out. My guess is 500 feet. I thoroughly enjoyed relaxing on the beach as the service folks came by with my beverages of choice. One must stay hydrated of course.Other water activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, fishing, yachting, water sports and even working out in resort provided classes on the beach.
My group enjoyed a catamaran excursion which was very fun.The excursion included a scenic cruise along the shoreline, snorkeling, and even chilling out sipping beverages served up in a floating bar.
Secrets Cap Cana features a huge pool area.Sections and slivers of the pool wind in many directions.Numerous areas have a small connected pool area which is surrounded by a small number of lounge chairs.The pool could easily accommodate hundreds of people, yet each person would feel like it isn’t crowded because of the layout.
There are several bars in the pool area and plenty of service people to make sure the fun is flowing.There’s also a hot tub, but it didn’t make sense to use it when I was there.
The Dominican Republic is undoubtedly the golf capital of the Caribbean.It’s home to the 39th ranked golf course in the world, Teeth of the Dog, the masterpiece of famed architect Pete Dye. Teeth of the Dog is located at Casa de Campo, roughly a 60 minute drive from the resort.A mere 30 minutes away is Punta Cana, a Jack Nicklaus signature design which is ranked the #1 course in the Caribbean and Latin America.These two courses produce some of the most scenic and dramatic oceanside golf you’ll ever experience.There are nearly 30 other courses to choose from in the Dominican as well, including another famous Pete Dye called Dye Fore.
On most nights one can enjoy live entertainment at Secrets, ranging from small combos to full bands, and DJ’s.
If you have a group or business need, there is a business area with computers.There are some great meeting areas and banquet rooms which can handle very large groups.
Service is very important in the travel industry. The staff at Secrets works hard to provide their part of a fantastic experience. Despite only being open for about a year, the management at Secrets has their system down and have trained their staff to be courteous, knowledgeable, and ready for anything.
Photo courtesy of Greg Corbo
I was warmly greeted by every staff member and all were extremely polite and helpful throughout my entire 5-day stay.
The weather in the Dominican Republic doesn’t fluctuate much, except in rainy season.I was there in rainy season and it rained for 10 minutes on the way to the resort from the airport. That was it. Year-round the temperatures are always going to be somewhere between 75-90.The humidity is quite high and I did have to adjust, coming from a desert. Be ready to sweat when not in the pool or the ocean. Stay hydrated and bring plenty of sunscreen.
Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa is a fantastic choice for a romantic, all-inclusive trip with your loved one. The crisp new facilities are warm and welcoming with great dining and activities and of course, great weather.
Secrets and the fantastic golf courses nearby would also make for a great golf buddy trip.Forget Florida, South Carolina or other golf destinations.Make the Dominican Republic the location of your next golf buddy trip.
The final golf day of the 2017 Michigan HOG World Tour event took place on the Wolverine Course at Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City. The Wolverine is a very playable Gary Player signature design which doesn’t beat you up and as tired I was at that point it came as a relief.
I started out birdie-birdie and quickly checked out the course record, LOL. A couple more birdies on the front and I turned in a surprising 2-under 34.
Trying not to completely gag away a good round I managed a 3-over 39 on the back for a rather unexpected and welcomed round of 73, one over. Somehow I had the green reading and speed dialed in.
I’ll be posting a full review of the Wolverine course soon. Stay tuned.
One of my bestest golf buddies has a great gig as a pilot. He is able to stop and play golf in many great places and when he finds good ones, he sends me photos. After seeing his latest batch I was inspired to post about Oak Quarry Golf Club, located in Riverside, California.
Oak Quarry Golf Club – click image to view more
The course was designed by Dr. Gil Morgan/Schmidt Curley Designs and has won numerous awards. The course plays to a par of 72 and rates vary depending on date and time between $40-$95.
Oak Quarry Golf Club – click image to see more
I dig the layout, even from the few pics I’ve seen. This one is definitely on the HOG radar and I hope to bring the HOG World Tour there soon.
The fourth and final golf course on the HOG World Tour trip to Morocco was the #1 course in Morocco (World Golf Awards), Assoufid Golf Club. Assoufid is a desert style course with some great elevation changes and creative architecture.
Target golf, anyone?
Assoufid is located a short drive southwest of Marrakesh, a city of about 1.5 million (map below).
Assoufid Golf Club, Morocco
If you’ve played golf in Palm Springs, you’ll feel at home at Assoufid. There are distinct takeoff and landing areas, with desert between. Holes are lined with palm trees and olive trees.
Unfortunately our group’s round there was rained out, hard. We got as far as the approach shot on the 10th hole when it was too heavy to plod on. Sorry to my Scottish friends about that.
I even left my golf ball in the fairway on #10. I need to go back and find it soon.
Stay tuned for a full review of Assoufid, and more posts on Morocco.