THE JEWEL AT THE GRAND HOTEL (MACKINAC ISLAND) 906-847-3331
Michigan Golf Course Review
Boats, Horses and Golf Carts - new movie now playing.... Ever see the movie"Planes, Trains and Automobiles"? Well, an experience at the Jewel at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac
island will play similarly, except that everything is PERFECT! From Mackinac City or St. Ignace golfers and normal people are swept up into huge speed boats and whisked away
to the Island of Mackinac. From there you will have to take a "taxi", which is really a horse drawn carriage - for a 5-10 minute ride through the quaint village to the clubhouse located
adjacent to the Grand Hotel. Ride on a golf cart for the front nine, then you are taken again on a beautiful 15-minute horse drawn carriage ride (this time complimentary) to the back
side - with some outstandingly gorgeous scenery along the way to your "other" golf cart.
Some tips here - let the folks know before you board the ferry in Mackinac or St. Ignace that you need a taxi to the golf course - so one will be waiting for you. Otherwise the wait
may approach 20 minutes or so. The fare to the clubhouse is about $4.75 per person one way. The Boat rides are $22.00 round trip in 2011 - with $1 off for AAA. If you like casinos,
save the stub and you can pick up a $10 roll of tokens for free at the St. Ignace Casino, which is just minutes away from the bridge (restricted for play on certain machines). While
on Mackinac - you would be remiss not to do lunch, dinner or shopping - and guided tours are available from many locations. Don't plan on a quick round - make a day of it and the
experience should be a highlight! Finally - ask the "driver" to take the West Bluff route either coming from or going to the back nine - wonderful lake views! A stay at the Grand Hotel
is also a wonderful experience. To visit our page for the Grand Hotel, with direct link to their website, click here.
The front nine or Grand Course is a short but beautiful layout over a rolling terrain, featuring dramatic elevation changes with spectacular views of the ocean and inland property.
The tips here play to a par thirty three 2405 yards, with 3 par threes and 6 par fours that measure between 286 and 356 yards. Doglegs and elevation changes create some
challenge and the very small bent grass greens will test your accuracy. Mostly this is just a beautiful course - fun to play and relatively easy to score on- a great resort experience.
As with the back side, the fairways, tees and bunkers are well defined, and there are 100 and 150 yard markers on the fairway, as well as sprinkler heads that are measured to the
center of the green and yardage markers on the tee areas. There are no pin placement indicators, but none are needed.
The opening hole plays downhill along a narrow fairway with a pond on the left about 215 yards out. A short carry over another pond is necessary off the tee on two - just hit the
fairway and this is an easy hole. The par three third is uphill and tight, and precedes a pretty dogleg right par four that invites a shot hit along the right tree line - or a lay up to the
center of the fairway - another good scoring hole. Five doglegs right also, this time with a pond on the right about 135 out, and trees left that come into play about 120 out. After a
short and simple par three on six, golfers will find the course's # 1 handicap - a par three from an elevated tee area that plays to 245 yards from the back tees. This is one
gorgeous golf hole - and one that few golfers will reach - lots of trouble here. Eight is very tight but also short (312 yard par four), and is followed by another narrow four par - this
one playing downhill off the tee to a tree lined fairway. One gets a little nervous hitting towards this green, with the Jockey Club bar/restaurant behind and lots of foot and horse
traffic to the left.
The Woods Nine is a completely different golf course - as it plays into heavily wooded seclusion with some great views and a few water hazards mixed in. The putting surfaces
here are large and mildly undulating -and quite receptive, and the bent grass fairways are often flanked by trees on both sides. Heather has grown in along many holes - mostly
for aesthetic purposes. The tips play to 3040 yards, with 1 par five (552) and also two par fours of plus 400 yards. The tenth is a short par four that invites a tee shot to the left
center of the fairway, with an easy approach being the reward. Number 11 bends to the left, demanding a tee shot that rests in the 200-220 range along the dogleg - anything too
far left will be blocked by trees. From an elevated tee area (back tees) golfers will find one of the prettiest holes on the course - a par three that is all carry over a pond, with
mounding and bunkers long. Short is not an option here. You must carry another pond on 13, with the right side of the fairway past the 150 a good spot to be. The uphill approach
requires 1 extra club. Fourteen is a mid range par three with bunkers short on both sides - a good scoring hole. This precedes the course's # 2 handicap - the long par five 15th,
which is a different hole from the tips. This dogleg left narrows about 100 yards out, with a tight approach to an elevated, two tiered green. The 16th is a long, uphill par four, and is
followed by a simple par three that plays long from the back tees typically into the wind. The finishing hole does not disappoint - as this par four requires an accurately placed tee
shot along the left edge of the fairway, with an approach aimed over a water hazard on the right that comes into play about 70 yards out - not much room for error here, although
there is some bail out room short left.
That's it...jump back into the carriage and enjoy the ride. Stop in for lunch or dinner at the Jockey Club near the clubhouse, or venture to the Grand Hotel for a more upscale
experience. There also are plentiful restaurants, fudge shops, and stores to explore near the dock areas. A stay at the Grand Hotel is highly recommended - making golf here an
even more comfortable and relaxing experience. Golfers who like to hit driver off the tee on every hole may not necessarily find this layout to their liking - but everyone loves beauty -
and this is one beautiful golf course! A highly recommended experience indeed - we stopped here for an afternoon round (1:30 tee time), had dinner and made it back to
Mackinaw by 7 PM. The boats depart every half hour, so spend as little or as much time as you please. Try to depart for the Island at least 1 hour prior to your scheduled tee time.
Rates vary during the season and include cart (and carriage). Nine hole rates are available. The Jewel at the Grand Hotel is definitely a worthwhile experience - don't miss out on
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.