Destination Boyne Mountain

By Links MagazineJune 26, 2008, 4:00 pm

Boyne Mountain

The Kircher family has never been afraid to dream big. The late Everett Kircher, founder of Boyne USA Resorts, brought skiing to Northern Michigan in 1947 and added golf two decades later, sparking a development boom that transformed this region into one of Americas premier outdoor playgrounds.
At Boyne Mountain, the first of Boyne USAs three Northern Michigan properties, Kirchers son Stephen continues to think big as Boynes president of Eastern operations. He oversaw the May 2005 debut of the 220-room Mountain Grand Lodge & Spa, a luxury Alpine-style condominium-hotel, and the adjacent Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark. Those facilities, plus seven restaurants, two golf courses and more than a dozen ski runs, make Boyne Mountain one of the most versatile resorts east of the Rockies, and fulfill a dream hatched by the elder Kircher to replicate a pedestrian-friendly European ski village at the resort.
In the summer, the Mountain Grands spacious two-story, three-bedroom suites are an attractive draw. While my wife relaxed at the Solace Spa with a 90-minute scrub and massage treatment, I found my own solace on Boyne Mountains two courses, the 7,061-yard Monument and the 7,045-yard Alpine. Designed by Michigan architect Bill Newcombe, the courses zigzag along tree-lined slopes before dipping to flatter, more open terrain. Both begin with a scenic cart ride up a ski hill to neighboring first tees.
With sweeping drops to narrow fairways carved from the forest, the Monument requires more heroic shots. Fittingly, holes here are named for some of the games heroes, including Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson and Kathy Whitworth. Kircher says a third course is under consideration; Pete Dye has already done a preliminary routing.
The 88,000-square-foot Avalanche Bay, with 14 aquatic adventure rides serving all ages, made the biggest splash with my two young children. Themed as a Swiss-Austrian village bowled over by an avalanche, the park maintains a decidedly un-Alps-like 84-degree climate year-round.
An assortment of water-spewing gadgets and gizmos kept the kids busy while I hurtled down three waterslides in a futile attempt to relive my youth. The ridiculously fast Vertigo tube slide flushed me out the bottom, dazed and confused, and the Rip Zone surfing simulator was nearly as wild. Next time, Ill stick to the more serene Boyne River float ride, while I ponder what Kircher and company could possibly dream up next.
With 162 holes spread among three resorts, Boyne looms over the crowded Northern Michigan golf scene. It all began with the Robert Trent Jones-designed Heather Course at Boyne Highlands, about a half-hour drive north of Boyne Mountain. Following a renovation of its bunkers this spring, the Heather will host the Michigan Amateur in June. The Highlands 165-room Main Lodge, an English country estate-style hotel, is in the midst of an ongoing renovation project that includes newly spiffed-up guest rooms.
In the 1990s, Arthur Hills laid out the Hills Course at Boyne Highlands, followed by the Bill Newcombe-designed Moor Course, giving the property 81 holes (including a nine-hole par-3 course). Hills (with input from Stephen Kircher) also designed the renowned Bay Harbor Golf Club, located across Little Traverse Bay from Boyne Highlands. Bay Harbors 27 holes, along with the nearby Inn at Bay Harbor, remain Boynes crowning achievement. The celebrated Links/Quarry 18 is the main attraction, with the Links nine skirting high bluffs along Little Traverse Bay and the Quarry plummeting into and out of a former shale mine. Another 18 holes, Crooked Tree Golf Club, are perched just down the road from The Inn at Bay Harbor, now a Renaissance Golf Resort by Marriott that welcomes the golf-weary with a soothing waterfront setting, a spa and fusion cuisine at Sagamores.
No matter who you are, theres something for you at Boyne'and plenty more if youre a golfer.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.