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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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)
The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...
And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.
Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.