Sunny September days in Northern Michigan are made for a morning on the links followed by an afternoon in the vines. Below, you’ll find the perfect pairing for your Traverse City golf and grapes adventure, along with insider tips to up your golf game and create an amazing wine tasting experience.
A Walk on the Wild Side
Swing: The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
A Jack Nicklaus signature design, The Bear has been ranked among the top public golf courses in the state of Michigan. The course lives up to its name and has been the longtime host of the Michigan Open, one of the state’s oldest and most prestigious PGA tournaments. With Scottish terraced fairways, deep pot bunkers, and lakes, streams, and fruit orchards surrounding the course, The Bear features a mixture of different elements golfers rarely see on one course.
• Trademark Hole: #18
• Insider Tip: “The hole features a split fairway,” says Director of Golf Tom McGee. “Hitting to the left side off the tee provides a wider landing area, but requires a longer second shot into the green, while hitting to the more narrow the right side results in a shorter approach shot to the green that is protected by water in front.”
Sip: Black Star Farms
From a bear of a golf course to a winery with an equestrian facility, you’ll get your fill of local wildlife with this swing and sip pairing. Black Star Farms, located near Suttons Bay, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and is known for its scenic setting and outstanding wine selection. With dozens of wines to choose from, as well as distilled spirits to sample, your taste buds will celebrate a trip to this wine lovers’ retreat.
• Trademark Wine: Arcturos Pinot Noir
• Insider Tip: “When you visit our flagship property just 12 miles north of Traverse City, be sure to sign up for an estate tour and tasting,” says Sherri Fenton, Communications and Public Affairs director. “In addition to enjoying our premier tasting and loads of historical information, your tour will take you behind the scenes to see places not open to the public!”
The Wolverine at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
Double the Fun
Swing: The Wolverine at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
Gary Player’s first signature course in the state of Michigan is known for its two distinctive nines. The front nine is constructed on lowland terrain with water and wetlands. The back nine is constructed on highland terrain with hardwoods, rolling hills, and views of East Grand Traverse Bay. No matter the hole, The Wolverine is popular with golfers of all handicaps for its flexibility, versatility, and playability.
• Trademark Hole: #10
• Insider Tip: “The hole is cut through hardwoods with trees on both sides of the fairway,” McGee explains. “Staying to the left side of the fairway will give you a better angle for your approach shot to the green that is protected by three challenging sand bunkers.”
Sip: Chateau Chantal
Only one winery in Traverse City gives you two spectacular bay views. At Chateau Chantal, you can see both East and West Grand Traverse Bay from high atop the vineyard’s hill. Gorgeous views are paired with a diverse wine selection, including the Naughty and Nice Reds and Whites, which are always fun to sample side by side! And don’t miss out on the delicious lunch and dinner events or cooking classes with Chateau Chantal’s fantastic culinary team.
• Trademark Wine: Late Harvest Riesling
• Insider Tip: “Our West Patio and Lawn is a well-kept secret,” says President and CEO Marie-Chantal Dalese. “Most people visit our East Patio where the wine service occurs, but guests can get a glass and sit out on the West Patio to enjoy the stunning West Bay views with Power Island and rolling vineyards.”
Even Better with Age
Swing: Spruce Run at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s original resort course began as the Acme Public Golf Course and was redesigned by William Newcomb in 1979. This classic course has its challenges—17 of the holes have bunkers—but is more forgiving than its younger brother, The Bear. Named for the spruce and fir trees that line the fairways, Spruce Run winds among the rolling hills surrounding the Resort and overlooks East Grand Traverse Bay.
• Trademark Hole: #18
• Insider Tip: “Accuracy off the tee is a key to reaching the green in two on this long par four,” says McGee. “The greens slopes from back to front, so staying below the hole on the approach shot is necessary to a good score on this challenging finishing hole.”
Sip: Chateau Grand Traverse
Just as Spruce Run is a classic Northern Michigan golf experience, so is Chateau Grand Traverse an iconic Traverse City winery. Established in 1974, Chateau Grand Traverse was the first commercial vineyard in Northern Michigan to grow vinifera grapes (Riesling, Chardonnay, and Merlot), and the winery has gone on to win awards and recognition the world over. Located on beautiful Old Mission Peninsula and overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay, this winery is a must-visit.
• Trademark Wine: Pinot Grigio
• Insider Tip: “Check out our complimentary tour, which takes guest through the entire winemaking process, from the vineyard to bottling,” says Megan Molloy, Marketing Coordinator. “The tours are free and run weekdays at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. or every hour from 12–4 p.m. on the weekends.”
Chateau Grand Traverse
Want more golf and grape pairings? Try…
Swing: Torch Course at A-ga-Ming Golf Resort
Sip: WaterFire Vineyards
Bowers Harbor Vineyards