Bay Valley Golf/Hotel and Resort (989-686-3500)
Michigan Golf Course Review - A YouTube video is available at the bottom of this review.
Looking for a mini golf getaway, but don't relish the thought of driving all the way up north? Consider the Bay Valley Hotel & Resort, which is conveniently located just 5 miles south
of Bay City's Waterfront and right off I-75 at exit 160. It is easily accessed from Metro Detroit, the Tri City area, and from anywhere in Michigan. Bay Valley is just minutes from the
beautiful Saginaw Bay and Bay City State Park. Nearby attractions include Frankenmuth German Village and Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, Outlets of Birch Run, Soaring
Eagle Casino, Fashion Square Mall, "Kokomo's" Family Fun Center, and the Children's Zoo in Saginaw. Bay Valley has excellent dining options right on property and comfortable
accommodations (148 rooms). Recreational facilities in addition to the championship golf course include a large heated indoor/outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center.
Don't forget the weekend entertainment in the Player's lounge. Families will not have to compromise at Bay Valley - there is always something fun for everyone. Conference and
event facilities provide over 10,000 square feet of event space, and another 2,000 square feet of reception space - making this an ideal setting for business or pleasure events.
For more information on Bay Valley, click here.
The golf course facilities include a full service pro shop, 2 practice putting greens, and a grass driving range. The golf course was a pleasant surprise. Though rated 4 stars by
Golf Digest in 2004, we frankly did not expect much from a resort course located so close to the highways, and in the middle of the Tri-County area. What we discovered was the
Bay Valley is a wonderfully conditioned facility, with some of the smoothest, quickest and most true-rolling greens in Michigan! They were in immaculate condition on our visit in
early October. The fairways and bunkers were also well-sculpted along a terrain, that although quite flat, does present some mild undulations, and is aesthetically pleasing. Hole
diagrams are provided at each tee box area, and the Kirby measuring system is in place on the fairways, with yardage blocks posted on the fairways at 25 yard intervals from 200
to 75 yards in. Color-coded flags provide pin placement information on the large, mildly undulating putting surfaces which usually were protected on one or both sides by nicely
conditioned sand bunkers.
A tremendous amount of water comes into play on this Desmond Muirhead layout. In fact, 13 holes are affected by the lakes, ponds and streams that dot the property. There are
few forced carries however, making most of the hazards quite navigatable. The four sets of tees provide choices that will satisfy resort golfers, and also challenge low
handicappers. Distances range from 6666 from the tips, to 6179 from the whites, to the forward tee measurement of 4965 yards. An additional tee is provided for at 5545 yards.
The slope rating here ranges from 114 to 125.
At just 347 yards from the tips, the first hole is a good opener and the number 11 handicap - a good start to resort golf. There are scattered trees but plenty of room for error on the
equally short par four 2nd. Take enough club on the approach and pay attention to the pin placement, as a ridge runs across the back third of the putting surface. The par four 3rd
requires a tee shot over a river, which also runs all along the right side all the way to the green. This hole is banana-shaped, and is best played by following the cart path off the tee
. The fourth is also quite challenging, a dogleg left that demands a carry over a creek (measuring about 15 yards across) about 140 yards from the green. Number 5 is a
picturesque par three - and is quite daunting with a forced carry over considerable marsh land, and with trees on both side. The number one handicap follows. This long par five
(602 from the tips, 562 from the whites) presents lots of fairway to aim at off the tee, but the second shot must find the landing area nestled between the river and pond fronting the
green. It is a beautiful golf hole. A short and simple par three is followed by a short but tricky par four. There is a narrow strip of landing area between two water hazards to aim at
off the tee. The hole bananas to the left, with a lake along that side in play all the way to the green. Tough hole! The ninth is a pretty dogleg left par four, that can be cut by aiming
over the water and just right of the willow off the tee. Long hitters with a right to left shot shape may even be able to reach the putting surface. The bunkers on the right side of the
fairway are just 180 away, for those deciding to lay up. Either way, this is one of the best birdie opportunities on the course.
The back side opens with a par four (423 from the tips) that doglegs to the right and plays into the prevailing wind. Scattered trees come into play on the eleventh, making these
two initial holes on the back quite a challenge. Number 12 presents some breathing room, with a rolling fairway leading to a wide open approach. There is also plenty of room on
13 - a long par three (226 from tips and 199 from whites) that is heavily bunkered. Big hitters can reach the green in two (if playing from the whites) on the par five 14th. There is
water along the left off the tee, and also on the approach. A small peninsula provides a landing area on the left side of the fairway off the tee, but the middle and right side are the
place to be here. Number 15 is a gorgeous par three over water with bail out room on the right and also some space behind the green, which slopes right to left. After a straight
and simple par four (only 337 from the tips), we find another reachable par five, with scattered trees on the fairway that narrows on the approach. The finisher is a reasonable
challenge and a beautiful golf hole. Avoid the water along the left and the green-side bunker right, and a good score is possible.
Eighteen holes on a fun and challenging golf course, accommodations in wonderfully appointed rooms, dining, workout and recreational activities, and convenient location - Bay
Valley has it all. There are quite a few upscale area courses within a short drive (Fortress, Apple Mountain, Sawmill to name a few), and Bay Valley is the recommended spot for an
extended stay. It is certainly worth a stop on your way up north, down south or a relaxing destination in itself. Call the Resort which is open year around for room rates and stay &
Check out the Two Guys Who Golf detailed information page on this course (which includes a link to the course's website if available) - click here.
For a U-Tube video of this course click here.