Around the Region

The Latest Golf News & Notes from the Great Lakes

Above: Lincoln Hills Golf Club. Photo by Nile Young Jr.

Unheralded Classic Lincoln Hills Heads into Second Century

Unless you’re a local, you’ve probably never heard of Lincoln Hills Golf Club, a delightful design laid out on the shores of Lake Michigan in Ludington, Michigan. The club originally opened for play in 1921 on the site of an old artillery field, and now a century later, it’s looking better than ever. And it’s also opening its doors to the public, as a semiprivate facility, giving visitors a chance to play this windy, walkable parkland classic.

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Medinah Getting Major Makeover

Hot on the heels of another Midwest Major venue’s makeover — Oakland Hills’ famed South Course — Medinah Country Club announced plans for its own multimillion retooling.

The site of five Major championships and the 2012 Ryder Cup, Medinah’s No. 3 course is getting a massive $23.5 million renovation, ahead of its 2026 hosting of the Presidents Cup. The club is working with Ogilvy, Cocking, and Mead (comprised of Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking, and Ashley Mead), an international golf course design and architecture firm.

The changes — which the club says are designed to honor the past and toughen it to today’s standards — will begin in 2023, with expected completion in ’24, leaving plenty of time for fine-tuning before the world’s best come back to Chicago.

Arcadia Bluffs’ new 12th hole. Photo by Nile Young Jr.

Arcadia Bluffs’ New Take on the 12th

With the massive shoreline erosion the east- ern shore of Lake Michigan has experienced in the past couple years, almost every bit of coastline in West Michigan was affected. That includes the beautiful bluffs flanking one of America’s Top 100 courses, Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club’s Bluffs Course

( As a result, the course created a secondary green complex roughly 250 feet inland on the Bluffs’ 12th hole, a scenic, 431-yard par 4, future-proofing the hole from further issues. Purists, never fear, the existing green is still in play. Let’s all hope it stays that way.

Boyne is making major improvements throughout its Michigan resorts. Photo by Nile Young Jr.

Big Things Happening at Boyne

One of the country’s best collections of golf resorts — Boyne USA — continues to build on its successes. The company’s Bay Harbor Golf Club was recently named to Golf Digest’s 100 Best Courses in America in 2021, climbing 17 spots on the list to No. 63.

Boyne’s also brought renowned architect Ray Hearn in to work on a number of projects there, including renovating the No. 1 and No. 16 holes on the acclaimed Donald Ross Memorial course at Boyne Highlands. Hearn’s work has the holes looking more like the originals they are meant to honor.

Boyne isn’t stopping there, with Hearn’s help. Work is beginning on a fairly significant renovation of The Moor course at the Highlands, changing some of the angles and restoring bunkers.

But the biggest project at Boyne might be the proposed short course it’s tapped Hearn to create, beginning next year. Hearn’s planning the course to have a “highlight reel” of his favorite nine green complexes from Scotland, England and Ireland.

We can’t wait.

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Island Resort Off to a Roarin’ ’22

It’s not even half over, but 2022 has already been a banner year for the folks at Island Resort & Casino, near Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. First, the resort took the wraps off its incredible $33 million expansion and new hotel, and the resort’s Sweetgrass Golf Course has been named the 2022 Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA).

Not a bad way to start. The resort’s new hotel, which opened on New Year’s Eve, is connected to the existing 11-story Palm Tower, and features 138 guest rooms and suites, Horizons Steakhouse, and the resort’s new family water attraction, Splash Island.

The expansion also offers an added perk for golfers with the expansive Golf Suites. The 675-square-foot suites are complete with a king, double queen, sleeper sofas and a common area, all with breathtaking views of the year’s national course of the year, Sweetgrass.

Designed by Paul Albanese, Sweetgrass features an open layout and some of golf’s most fun greens to putt (Redan, Biarritz, island and double Green), as well as the famous island green No. 15. The course also plays host to the Epson Tour’s Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass, and has a number of events benefitting kids and the community, too.

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KemperSports Takes On Oldie But a Goodie

One’s been a Chicago-area landmark for more than 100 years, while the other just seems that way. Together, KemperSports and Canal Shores Golf Course will usher in a successful second century.

KemperSports announced that it has been selected by the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association (EWGCA), a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit charitable organization, to manage Canal Shores Golf Course in Evanston, Illinois.

Canal Shores opened in 1919 and was designed by prolific golf course architect Tom Bendelow (of Medinah fame). The 3,600-yard, par-60 layout is long on charm and just enough challenge. KemperSports’ plans include improving course conditions, off-course culture and amenities, and continuing to serve as environmental stewards, having won awards from the Friends of the Chicago River and recognition by the National Wildlife Federation as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

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