A New Way to Club it Especially Fore Women

Resorts are seeking to grow golf appeal with chances to bond on course and off.
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Boyne Mountain Golf Club
Photography Courtesy of Boyne Mountain Resort

It may seem a bit odd at first, a golf buddy package that includes a mani/pedi, some farm-to-table cuisine or perhaps a beach picnic paired with entrance to a scenic national lakeshore.

But then, golf getaways are no longer just targeting the guys.

Bob Summers, general manager of the Manitou Passage Golf Club at The Homestead in Glen Arbor, says he hopes that new packages combining luxury spa and salon services and fine dining will attract groups of women to his course. But he thinks the course itself will draw them back. The five sets of tees make it perfect for a group, he says, since they offer a challenge for golfers of all ability levels.

Homestead Spa
Photography Courtesy of The Homestead

The resort’s “Golf and Lakeshore” package (thehomesteadresort.com) is particularly appealing at the height of summer beach season; it pairs golf at Manitou Passage Golf Club, The Homestead’s Arnold Palmer Signature Course, and a round at its Par-3 Mountain Flowers course with a free happy hour appetizer and dinner at authentic Italian-focused, on-site Nonna’s Tavern, a park pass to the nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and a picnic-to-go. A treatment or sunset glass of wine at Spa Amira on-property is also popular for groups of women, and any Homestead weekend can be rounded out by time spent paddling resort kayaks on Lake Michigan, exploring the seven wineries in the new Sleeping Bear Loop of the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail or shopping in downtown Glen Arbor and other picturesque Leelanau locales.

At the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, the two-night spa and golf package has been a popular draw for girlfriend getaways with its combination of golf, spa and breakfast midweek in summer (grandtraverseresort.com). Between treatment and rounds, regular shuttles run between the hotel and resort’s beach club; there, women can often find acoustic guitar players adding to the ambience as they gather around the beach bonfire, and Blue Sky Rentals offers options like stand-up paddleboards, kayaks or even pontoon boats for some on-water fun.

The Ladies Golf School at Treetops is led by a female instructor.

When it’s time for dinner, new resort chef Anie Driscoll — one of few women head chefs in the region — offers a reason other than stunning views of East Bay sunsets to gather the gang at Aerie restaurant. Unusual flavor pairings, like her sweet potato beignets, are a must-try.

Women-only golf schools are also gaining in popularity at summer resorts including Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville and Treetops Resort in Gaylord, and neither spot limits fun to the fairways. Crystal’s three-day women’s only golf school, offered in June, includes instruction, golf, video analysis and two-night lodging, but for the rest of the season, there’s an additional option of golf-school-on-demand: a group of three or more can create their own lesson package, pairing it with treatments at the award-winning spa (crystalmountain.com).

Treetops Ladies Golf School
Photography Courtesy of Treetops

And the fact that the Ladies Golf School at Treetops, led by a female instructor, has developed its own insider motto (“What happens at golf school stays at golf school”) doesn’t mean the learning piece isn’t serious; it just means it’s also a lot of fun, says Treetops Golf Director Kevin McKinley (treetops.com).

Another getaway spot — great for golf or just a getaway — is the Inn at Bay Harbor (innatbayharbor.com). Waterfront views from guest room balconies are rivaled only by panoramas from greens perched high above the bay at the Bay Harbor Golf Club. While varied shops on the brick streets of the Village of Bay Harbor offer destination shopping, golf packages include the option of Crooked Tree Golf Club, recently overhauled by golf course architect Arthur Hills, and there’s a spa on site — just in case those water-side hammocks don’t do the trick.

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