50 Words or Less
Bay Harbor Golf Club combines jaw-dropping views with 27 fun holes of golf. Make sure to play The Links for the best scenery.
Located on Lake Michigan, Bay Harbor Golf Club is the most upscale of the three Boyne Golf properties. Though it has fewer holes than the other two, the variety among the three 9-hole tracks is substantial and will keep golfers entertained for numerous rounds.
Of the three Boyne properties – Boyne Highland, Boyne Mountain, and Bay Harbor – Bay Harbor has the best practice facilities. The putting green near the first tee (above) has a bit too much break, but a short cart ride takes you to a tremendous range with a large short game area. For the serious grinder, Bay Harbor is heaven.
Amenities & Customer Service
At the Bay Harbor Golf Club, there’s a large club house which is home to a sizable pro shop and restaurant. You’ll definitely want to enjoy a few drinks after the round and soak in the lake views.
A short drive from Bay Harbor Golf Club is the Inn at Bay Harbor. As you can see in the photo above, this resort offers gorgeous lake views as well as numerous dining and entertainment options.
Beauty & Scenery
Each of the three nines at Bay Harbor has a unique aesthetic character. The Preserve is what you would expect from Michigan: beautiful parkland golf. The Quarry plays through – you guessed it – a quarry. It’s the most unusual of the nines, with large rock walls, boulders, and mounds of gravel, and it finishes on the lake.
With apologies to the other two, The Links is the showstopper. It’s played almost entirely on the coast of Lake Michigan, and it has some of the most stunning views you’ll find anywhere.
Typically I take notes on each hole, then write a general description that fits most of the holes. I couldn’t do that at Bay Harbor because there are hardly two tee shots that are the same. There is a driveable par 4, big forced carries, wide fairways, narrow fairways, and holes that virtually demand a mid-iron off the tee. You will hit driver the majority of the time, but the situations vary widely.
Arthur Hills designed huge variety into the approach shots as well. There are greens that are well-defended as well as some that are very welcoming. Some invite a running shot, others demand an aerial approach. You’ll also get an above average mix of elevation changes.
One thing you may notice in the pictures is that the hazards are large. There aren’t a lot of bunkers, but the ones that exist are massive. This is to the advantage of the smart golfer who is willing to play away from them. If your ball ends up in one, you won’t be able to claim that they were hidden away.
Greens & Surrounds
More than any course I can readily think of, Bay Harbor varies the size of their greens to shape the strategy of the hole. Generally, the longer holes have larger greens and the shorter holes have smaller greens. This provides a challenge regardless of what club is in your hands on the approach.
The surrounds at Bay Harbor are a mix of tightly mowed chipping areas and medium rough. This adds diversity to the play and requires golfers to put even more thoughts into their approach shots. When there is rough to catch the ball, you can aggressively attack the pin. If missing your target means watching the ball run away from the green, more caution is advised.
Quarry #6 – Par 4
The driveable par 4 is an easy choice as a favorite hole. The risk on this hole is substantial: if you miss the green short, your ball is wet. There’s not much room long or right either. That said, the reward of an eagle putt is great.
For those playing conservatively, you can hit almost any club out to the left. The more distance you’re willing to take on with your tee shot, the better your angle on the approach.
Links #7 – Par 5
This is my favorite hole at Bay Harbor. It starts with a drive that needs to clear a hill to get extra distance and a clean look at your second shot. The pin is barely visible on the second shot, but it’s reachable after a solid drive. If you choose to lay up, your third shot may be blind.
After all that, you’ll walk up to find a medium-sized, fairly flat green with tightly mowed areas all around. Behind the green, there’s a steep run off that will penalize approaches that were too strong. It’s a great par 5 with a lot to consider on each shot.
Bay Harbor Golf Club might be my favorite Boyne Golf location if all it had were the views, however it has much more than that. The golf has tremendous variety and the 27 holes are full of fun, memorable shots. If you’re traveling in Michigan, make sure you stop in to play at Bay Harbor.