Michigan: A Great Place For Mixing Business With Pleasure
Pleasure is big business in Michigan. Whether the business of pleasure be tourism or casino gaming or, of course, golf, it is booming in Michigan.
Michigan also is the perfect place to mix business with pleasure. When a seminar, meeting, conference or corporate retreat is the business of the day, weekend or week, mix it with pleasure at one of seemingly countless Michigan golf properties, where the quality of the business facilities is matched only by the superior quality of the courses.
Where is it best to mix business with pleasure? Here is a sampling of perhaps your better choices:
Bay Mills Resort & Casinos
Located in the eastern Upper Peninsula, Bay Mills is home to a pair of casinos as well as Wild Bluff Golf Course and a 144-room waterfront hotel. In an effort to facilitate the mixing of business and pleasure, a new, 5,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art convention center has been erected directly across the street from the main entrance to Wild Bluff. Adjacent to the convention center is a new sports bar that is complete with golf simulators.
Picturesque yet extremely challenging, Wild Bluff is a championship course that features lakes and rolling terrain. Before or after a round, Bay Mills also offers hiking and cycling trails, as well as some of the best hunting and fishing in North America.
Contact: Kristina Benoit, at (888) 422-9645, ext. 2687.
Bay Valley Resort
Located on Old Bridge Road in Bay City, Bay Valley Hotel and Resort offers as many conference facilities as it does golf holes. Bay Valley offers 18 meeting and banquet rooms ranging in size from the 4,550 sq. ft. Royal Troon Ballroom to the 221 sq. ft. Gleneagles. The resort can accommodate from 10-450 guests in each of its 18 meeting rooms.
Bay Valley also features a Jack Nicklaus/Desmond Muirhead-designed golf course that plays 6,610 yards from the longest of the four sets of tees. The par-71 course also features a course rating of 71.9 from the championship tees, as well as a slope of 125.
Contact: Bay Valley, (800) 292-5028.
Situated in Collingwood, Ontario, on the Niagara Escarpment, which is a World Biosphere Reserve, Blue Mountain Resort features the Monterra golf course, The Blue Mountain Inn and the beautifully designed, 9,000 sq. ft. Conference Centre. With three spacious meeting rooms, a pre-function room and a foyer, the Conference Centre sports views of the mountain and overlooks the hotel's patio. The Xerox Business Centre is located adjacent to the Kandahar Foyer, which a large fireplace surrounded by relaxing leather sofas, and 13-foot windows providing a panoramic view of the mountain. The foyer also joins the Conference Centre with the Blue Mountain Inn and the Inn Cafe.
Monterra, which is a Certified Audubon Sanctuary, plays out from the base of Blue Mountain, toward the waters of beautiful Georgian Bay. The course, which opened in 1989 and one of Canada's top 10 resort courses, plays 6,581 yards and features 76 bunkers, six water hazards and a variety of ravines.
Contact: Conference Information, (705) 445-0231.
Boyne USA's Michigan operation includes three resorts: Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain and the Inn at Bay Harbor. In addition to its 162 holes of golf on 11 courses, Boyne also offers conference and meeting facilities to satisfy any demand. Boyne Highlands, located in Harbor Springs, features meeting spaces in the Main Lodge, Convention Center or Heather Highlands Inn. Those facilities can accommodate up to 600 people.
The conference facilities at Boyne Mountain, which is located in Boyne Falls, are available in the Main Lodge or Convention Center and accommodate as many as 1,000 guess.
The Inn at Bay Harbor, with elegance that is rarely rivaled, features meeting space in the Cushman Boardroom, for up to 14 people; the Arlington, for meetings of up to 275; the Occidental, for meetings of 40-75; and the Clifton, which will accommodate as many as 150 guests.
Golf the Boyne way is available at all three resorts. The Bay Harbor Golf Club, located along the shores of Lake Michigan in Bay Harbor, was named among the "Sweet 16 Golf Courses in the Country" by Golf Digest, in April of 2000. Renowned course architect Arthur Hills, in collaboration with Boyne's Stephen Kircher, planned every detail of the three nines: The Links, The Quarry and The Preserve.
Boyne Mountain, which annually hosts the Michigan Section PGA's Tournament of Champions, includes The Monument and The Alpine courses. Boyne Highlands, the former home of the Michigan PGA Championship, features four courses: The Heather, The Moor, The Donald Ross Memorial and The Arthur Hills. Crooked Tree Golf Club, which is carved out of pines and hardwoods, features a back nine that opens upon expansive views of the bay.
Contact: John Branciforte, (800) TO-BOYNE.
Comfort Inn Mt. Pleasant
If you would like to "Meet in the Middle" of the state and combine business and pleasure, consider the Comfort Inn, a AAA three-diamond rated hotel that features a heated, indoor pool and which offers a complimentary continental breakfast to its guests each morning; and the University Park Conference Center which offers 6,800 sq. ft. of meeting space that can be divided into four separate rooms. Also available at the conference center is the Stadium room, thus named because of its location in the shadow of Central Michigan University's football stadium.
These hotel and conference facilities also are surrounded by 13 golf courses and is just minutes away from the Soaring Eagle Casino. The Comfort Inn, Mt. Pleasant, arranges numerous golf packages with the courses in the area.
Contact: Bill Knopp, (517) 772-4000.
Two four-star golf courses, the Mountain Ridge and Betsie Valley, combined with a golf operation that has received one of only 50 Great Service seals in the U.S., as well as a state-of-the-art conference center that features 14 meeting rooms, a business center, concierge service and an exhibit hall, make Crystal Mountain a popular place to mix business with pleasure.
Imagine a job (besides the editor of a golf magazine) in which you are encouraged to play golf as often as possible. The sales managers and conference service managers at Crystal Mountain have just such jobs. "The majority of our sales managers and conference service managers are golfers themselves so, in fact, we encourage them to play as much as they can," said Rick Schmitt, the resort's vice president of sales and marketing. "We feel that it is important that the Crystal staff members who are assisting the meeting planner with their function know the game and feel comfortable planning a golf function."
Crystal Mountain, which also offers golf instructional clinics for conference groups, is a two-time recipient (in 2000 and 2001) of the Paragon Award from Corporate Meetings and Incentives and its facilities have been approved by the International Association of Conference Centers.
Crystal Mountain's golf program includes eight PGA professionals, one of whom is Brad Dean who, in 1998 and again in 2000, was named the Michigan Section PGA Teacher of the Year.
Contact: Rick Schmitt, (231) 378-2000.
Eagle Crest Resort
Eastern Michigan University's Eagle Crest Golf Club, in cooperation with the adjoining Marriott Hotel and Eagle Crest Conference Center, makes Ypsilanti a popular spot to mix business with pleasure. The Conference Center features an executive boardroom, as well as flexible conference rooms ranging in size from 720-1,230 square feet. While the executive boardroom features a large marble conference table, a 3.5x5-foot rear surface screen, a Buhl overhead projector, Kodak 35 mm slide projector and lectern with Audio Technica microphones, the conference rooms can accommodate up to 75 people in theater seating, 60 in classroom-style seating and 30 in U-shaped seating.
The Eagle Crest Golf Club course, which was designed by Karl Litten of Boca Raton, FL, overlooks picturesque Ford Lake. The course features four sets of tees and plays 6,750 from the tips. The course possesses a USGA stroke rating of 73.6 and a slope rating of 138 from the championship tees. This multi-dimensional golf operation offers a full-service pro shop, a spacious practice facility, a grille and beverage room, expansive locker facilities and a separate banquet area.
Contact: Gwynn Belcher, (734) 487-2441
A Certified Audubon Sanctuary that is dedicated to the care and preservation of the environment, Fox Hills also is dedicated to mixing business with pleasure. A morning meeting is easily followed by an afternoon of golf on one of three courses: The Golden Fox, Fox Classic and The Strategic Fox. Designed by Arthur Hills, The Golden Fox is an 18-hole championship course with Scottish links features. The Fox Classic features 27 holes carved out of wooded, undulating terrain. The original 18 was developed in 1921 while the other nine were built in 1982. The Strategic Fox is new this season and is a Ray Hearn-designed par-3 course.
A variety of meeting room configurations, all overlooking a picturesque golf course, will accommodate as many as 350 people. The conference facilities also include the latest in audio and visual equipment. The Golden Fox features a full locker room and either of the Fox Hills' two pro shops can customize golf attire for any organization, company or outing.
Contact: Sandy Milny, (734) 453-7272.
A four-diamond resort nestled on 3,500 acres just south of Lewiston, Garland offers lavish meeting facilities and four championship golf courses, in and around the largest log lodge east of the Mississippi.
Whether arriving by ground transportation or utilizing Garland's private 5,000-foot runway that is ideal for corporate jets and private planes, Garland's Professional Conference Services await, to facilitate the planning of every aspect of a meeting, seminar or conference. The Executive Boardroom is ideal for roundtable discussions, while the resort's main Conference Center features the 1,763 sq. ft, main room as well as four adjoining rooms.
When it is time to mix pleasure with business, Garland's guests can play the Fountains, Monarch, Reflections and Swampfire courses. Fountains, the newest of Garland's tracks, features the longest single-span log bridge in the world, between the first green and second tee. Monarch, named for the towering white pines that adorn the landscape, opens with the two toughest holes on the golf course. Reflections features six par-3s, six par-4s and six par-5s, while water is the defining characteristic of Swampfire.
Contact: Professional Conference Services, (877) 4GARLAND.
The world's largest summer hotel has been planning and hosting meetings and conferences for more than 100 years. Perhaps best known for its record-setting front porch, which overlooks the Straits of Mackinac, the Grand Hotel staffs a personal convention manager that will handle everything from booking rooms, arranging air, ferry or horse-drawn transportation to landing tee times on the Jewel, perhaps the only golf course in the world that offers a horse-drawn lift from the ninth green to the 10th tee.
Just in time for its 115th season, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island completed construction of the Millennium Wing, which was the hotel's largest addition since 1887. The wing includes 42 new guest rooms, which increases the hotel's inventory to 381 rooms. It also features the 3,600 sq. ft. Grand Pavilion, which is a private meeting and dining room. "The Millennium Wing is the most significant enhancement to the hotel in its entire history," said R.D. Musser III, the president of the hotel. "We've completed this ambitious project while maintaining the hotel's historical integrity and the hospitality our guests have enjoyed for more than a century."
The Grand Hotel also recently joined the National Trust Historic Hotels of America, an exclusive membership of 167 properties that have faithfully maintained their historic architecture and ambiance.
The Jewel includes the original Grand nine, which was redesigned in 1987, and the new Woods nine, which was designed by noted course architect Jerry Matthews. The distance between the two nines is approximately 1.25 miles.
Contact: Kenneth Hayward, (906) 847-3331.
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
In 1987, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme hosted the National Governors Association Conference. The chairman of that conference was Arkansas Governor William Jefferson Clinton. The Grand Traverse Resort staff also has arranged a teleconference to enable Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to address a meeting of bankers at the resort. The staff also went as far as to create a football field at the resort, complete with goal post, for the recent National Football League Players Association Retired Players Convention.
While its 660 guest rooms, three championship golf courses and 49,000 square feet of versatile, dedicated meeting space make Grand Traverse Resort and Spa the largest full-service, year-round destination resort and conference center in the Midwest, the resort's service and innovation helped rank it among Conde Nast Traveler magazine's "Top 50 travel destinations worldwide."
An experienced conference planning staff will individually tailor the agenda of any group in size from 10 to 2,500.While 20,000 sq. ft. Governor's Hall features 20-foot a 20-foot ceiling, the latest in conference equipment as well as a projection booth, the resort's meeting space can be divided into 34 separate rooms of varying sizes.
Golfers also have several options at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Continue discussions, or take a break from meetings, on courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and William Newcomb. The Bear, designed by Nicklaus and opened in 1985, is the home of the annual Michigan Open. The Wolverine, designed by Player, opened in 1999. Newcomb designed the resort's oldest course, Spruce Run, which opened in 1979.
Contact: Cheryl Ferguson, (800) 748-0303
Holiday Inn at Ferris State University
Located in Big Rapids, adjacent to Katke Golf Club, which is the home of Ferris State University's Professional Golf Management Program, the Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center features more than 16,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space, in 10 rooms. The focus of the Conference Center is to provide the services and facilities that are conducive to productive business meetings. "We believe that comfort plays a very important part of your meeting experience so your meeting room is equipped with comfortable armchair furniture and a variety of lighting options, depending on your needs," said the center's Cil Emerick.
Just outside the hotel lobby is the par-72 Katke Golf Club, which features one of the best practice facilities in the state, including almost 100,000 square feet of teeing area and a 10,000 sq. ft. practice green.
Contact: Cil Emerick, (231) 591-3765.
Oakwood Inn Resort & Golf
Less than an hour from Sarnia, nestled on the shore of Lake Huron and among the pines and oaks outside of Grand Bend, Ontario, rests Oakwood, which is about to complete its third multi-million dollar expansion. The Pine Lodge will now feature 34 deluxe rooms and four suites, while the resort's number of available accommodations will climb from 88 to 126.
Oakwood's latest expansion also includes a second conference facility, this one in excess of 3,000 square feet. The accommodations, as well as the resort's conference and meeting facilities, also feature high-speed internet access and the latest telecommunications technology.
The Otsego Club in Gaylord offers meeting and conference facilities for 40-400, as well as four golf courses. From the 304 sq. ft. Wine Room to the 3,000 sq. ft. Headwaters, The Otsego Club has 10 conference and meeting rooms available, with or without audio and visual equipment. That equipment includes projection screens, video cassette recorders and monitors, lecterns and podiums and overhead projectors and screens.
Before, after or between business sessions, mix in a little pleasure at The Loon, The Lake, The Classic or The Tribute, a foursome complete with woodlands, water and wildlife. The Tribute, designed by PGA Tour player Gary Koch, is the club's newest course.
Contact: Scott Chesley, (800) 752-5510, ext. 343.
Its three villages - Cedar River Village, Schuss Village and Summit Village - offer 28 different meeting locations. Shanty Creek's four golf clubs - Cedar River, The Legend, Schuss Mountain and Summit - offer 72 holes of golf created by Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf, Warner Bowen and William Diddel.
With conference rooms named after northern Michigan rivers, Shanty Creek can accommodate meetings and conferences of up to 1,000 people. "It's a very relaxed atmosphere, yet very high-tech for a productive meeting," said Phil Jones, Shanty Creek's vice-president of operations. "We definitely are a corporate conference hotel, technologically advanced by comfortable," Jones said of The Cedar River Lodge, which houses the year-round resort's new conference center. The facility also features an business center with copying, fax and document assembly capabilities. Two complete computer stations also are available. "The architectural style is outstanding," Jones said. "There is nothing like it in northern Michigan."
There is little in Northern Michigan, or anywhere else, to compare with Shanty Creek's golf options. The Cedar River Golf Club, designed by Weiskopf hosts the Michigan PGA Championship. The Legend, designed by Palmer, features the par-5 seventh hole which was proclaimed the Best Hole in the State by The Detroit News. Summit Golf Club, opened in 1965 and designed by Diddel, is the oldest of the four courses. Schuss Mountain Golf Club was a Michigan Open qualifying site from 1978-88.
Contact: Phil Jones, (800) 678-4111.
The host of the annual Par-3 Shootout, this year featuring Phil Mickelson, Paul Azinger, Lee Trevino and 2000 champion Raymond Floyd, the golf design at Treetops trailed only Pinehurst and Pebble Beach in Conde Nast Traveler magazine's June 2000 list of the Top 50 International Resorts.
Treetops, located just east of Gaylord, is more than its world renowned five golf courses, however. Treetops offers more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space as well as a sales staff with more than 50 years experience providing quality service to numerous national and regional associations and corporations. Flexible function space ranges from the luxurious Melling Board Room, which accommodates 14 persons, to the expansive convention center which is capable of accommodating more than 1,000.
The resort's Guest Activities department can also provide a variety of diversions in addition to golf, such as canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking and tennis. The resort's primary attraction, however, remains its 81 holes of golf.
Golf at Treetops was immediately hailed as among the best in the nation when the resort's first course, the Robert Trent Jones Sr. Masterpiece opened in 1987 and was named the second-best new course by Golf Digest. In the last 14 years, Treetops has added Tom Fazio's Premier, Rick Smith's Signature and Tradition courses, as well as Threetops, the par-3 course that hosts the Shootout.
Contact: Treetops sales staff, (517) 732-6711, ext. 2660.
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