Boyne Highlands Resort (Heather)

Boyne Highlands Resort (Heather) – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #73
  • Location: 600 Highland Drive, Harbor Springs, Michigan
  • Year: 1968
  • Architect: Robert Trent Jones
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Brown: 7,143 yards, Par 72, 75.4 Rating/147 Slope
  • Purple: 6,647 yards, Par 72, 72.7 Rating/143 Slope
  • Orange: 6,207 yards, Par 72, 70.3 Rating/139 Slope
  • Green: 5,743 yards, Par 72, 68.3 Rating/130 Slope (Men’s), 73.9 Rating/137 Slope (Women’s)
  • Silver: 4,845 yards, Par 72, 64.0 Rating/120 Slope (Men’s), 68.6 Rating/123 Slope (Women’s)

Right down the road from where we stayed is the Boyne Highlands resort.  It is a beautiful resort that has four golf courses and ski slopes for the winter.  They have multiple activities such as zipline adventures and dogsledding.  The resort is really full service and has something for everyone.

The Heather course was the first course at the resort.  It is plenty long to challenge players, which is evidenced by the course hosting the Michigan Amateur three times.  It is also known to be friendly for women and seniors making it a versatile course for visitors.  I also learned that Boyne Golf owns multiple courses in the area including Bay Harbor Golf Club that we toured recently.  It is quite easy to make tee times for many of these courses with one phone call.

Below is the clubhouse for the Heather course.

You will start to see the architecture theme with the driving range building.

If you didn’t know it was a ski resort before, the driving range will clue you in. You’ll be hitting seven irons up a black diamond slope!

The hotel looks like something straight out of a European ski village.  I really enjoyed the vibe.

This was my second round after playing Black Lake in the morning so I didn’t need to hit any balls.  I headed right out to the course as a single and was ready to motor around this track.  I played the purple tees and all yardages below reflect that.

From the first tee I thought I would like the course.  It reminded me a lot of New England.  The mature trees and lush grass took me right back to my summers in New Hampshire.

Hole 1 – 373 yards – Par 4

The first shot plays downhill to a generous fairway.

The approach must contend with plenty of sand, but once you are on the putting surface you won’t face crazy break.

Hole 2 – 376 yards – Par 4

The water here is not a concern.  There is plenty of room down the left side of the fairway and at this length driver is not needed.

Around the bend you catch a glimpse of the green.

The views of the ski slopes continue.

Hole 3 – 373 yards – Par 4

Too many holes bending to the right!  Joking of course, but a fade is preferred here.

I really liked the walk up to the tee.  It appealed to my eye.  If memory serves there was a nice river running behind this tee.

The second shot is flat overall with some mild pressure from the water.

Hole 4 – 182 yards – Par 3

The understated tee markers can be seen below.

It’s do or die on this tee shot.  Shots at the front of the green with a lot of spin are in danger of getting wet.  Make sure to take a bit more club.

Hole 5 – 539 yards – Par 5

All the trouble is down the left side on this tee shot.  If you keep it on the right you will have a good shot into the green.

You can either carry it or not, there is no in between.

Birdie opportunities abound on this flattish putting surface.

Hole 6 – 151 yards – Par 3

At this point I was beginning to see a theme on the one-shotters.  You had to make forced carries.  Luckily they weren’t overly long.

Hole 7 – 371 yards – Par 4

The bunker provides a good focus point from the tee of this dogleg left.  You can shape a draw off of it, but the further left you go the shorter shot you will have into the green.

The green is slightly elevated and surrounded by two bunkers.  Short and left is fine for a miss.

Hole 8 – 387 yards – Par 4

Dogleg lefts are my kind of hole.  The bunkers here are definitely in play, but a solid drive can carry them.  There is plenty of room right, however.  The second shot plays back uphill to the green.

The green has a small false front, but it can get you.

Hole 9 – 561 yards – Par 5

The final hole on the front is a brute that makes it a three shot hole almost always. While it is a dogleg left, it reminded me of the ninth at Pasatiempo when I rounded the bend.  The uphill slope makes it play longer than the yardage.  The bunkering makes the shots around the green even more difficult.

The green has more slope that we’ve seen so far on this side.  To the right of this photo the slope falls away quite a bit.  I can speak from experience that shots out of the bunker are not easy.

Hole 10 – 384 yards – Par 4

There isn’t much to this one and not many choices.  The hole bends right and almost demands a fade to be in the best position.

The approach shot is below.

Heavy bunkering guards the green, which I’m not sure if I am a fan of.  Sure it looks pretty, but there aren’t many options for shots.

Hole 11 – 510 yards – Par 5

With a slight downhill slope this hole is reachable in two for the bombers.  Be sure to avoid the bunker on the left.  If you leak your tee shot a little right trees come into play.

The hole rises up towards a green with even more bunkers.

Due to the rough around the greens you won’t roll too far if you miss the surface. You may have some hairy lies though.

Hole 12 – 170 yards – Par 3

There is plenty of water here, but you have a bit of bailout on the left.  Due to the large green you have some room to play with.  Play to the center yardage and you should be fine.

Hole 13 – 414 yards – Par 4

This dogleg left is my kind of hole.  Bust a sweeping draw out there and you will be in prime shape.  The closer you can get to the trees the shorter you will have for your second.

Guess what…more sand.

The green has some mile internal contouring, but nothing too drastic.  This is a good chance to sink one.

Hole 14 – 385 yards – Par 4

This hole was a little blah to me.  It’s straight and there are bunkers around the green.  It’s a bit familiar, but this stretch of the course starting a few holes back is a bit ordinary.

Hole 15 – 482 yards – Par 5

The holes liven up a little bit for the finish, which I really enjoyed.  This is a tight tee shot that calls for a draw.  If you pull it off you will be in great shape to get on in two.

This is the view from around the corner.

Plenty of putts can be made on this green.

Hole 16 – 181 yards – Par 3

This hole plays uphill and thus a little longer than the yardage.  I liked that it was open in front with the sand off to the side.  The tree on the left can provide some visual strife for players who move it left to right.

Hole 17 – 374 yards – Par 4

This is just a solid hole.  It punishes the left miss with a bunker and anyone too aggressive up the right will have tree trouble.  Pull off a good tee shot though and you will have a great look at the green.

The green is elevated so an extra club will be necessary.  Obviously you will need to avoid the sand, but shots past the green will also be difficult to get up and down.

Hole 18 – 434 yards – Par 4

Just behind this tee you can gander at the ski lift that will start humming in the winter.

This is my favorite hole on the course.  I may have said that already, but this time I mean it.  The water is in play for longer hitters, but I found that it was further away than it looked.  A bold line is down the left to the very skinny fairway.  If you want to lay back a bit the fairway is probably about 125 yards wide.

If you manage a straight tee shot you are faced with all carry over the pond.  The bunkers aren’t really in play so the only focus should be clearing the water.  Once on the surface most putts will be quite flat.

My initial thought of the course being similar to New England was correct and indeed I did enjoy it.  The holes get a bit mundane in the middle, but the rest of the holes make up for it.  As I said before, the closing stretch from 15-18 is very strong. This is a fun course and one that buddies trips would surely enjoy.  It won’t beat you up and there are plenty of birdie opportunities.  It wasn’t the best course on my trip, but I would certainly recommend playing it if you’re in the area.

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