From Hemingway to Boyne Highlands: 10 reasons for a golf vacation to Petoskey, Michigan

If you're seeking a base city for a northern Michigan golf excursion, Petoskey is a superb choice. Golf courses dot the engaging terrain, and there's lots to do for family members who aren't exactly the biggest dimpled ball enthusiasts.

Here are 10 reasons to play golf in Petoskey:

1. Great selection of courses by top-notch designers: There are 18 golf courses in the Petoskey area featuring designs by Arthur Hills and Robert Trent Jones Sr. The settings range from courses framed by Lake Michigan to parkland-style layouts that weave through lush hardwood forests.

2. Short travel distances between courses: The courses are situated so that drive times are limited when you want to play multiple rounds in one day. All of the 18 courses are located less than a 20-minute drive from Petoskey, and several are within 10 minutes of each other. Better still, the area has long daylight hours during the summer with play possible up to 9:30 or 10 p.m.

3. Spectacular golf resorts: For those who enjoy the good resort life, the Petoskey area has several excellent choices. The Inn at Bay Harbor, a luxurious Victorian style hotel hugging the shores of Lake Michigan is home to the stunning Bay Harbor Golf Club, which has been dubbed "the Pebble Beach of the Midwest."

Boyne Highlands is an amenity-rich resort complex with a course line-up that includes the Arthur Hills Course, Donald Ross Memorial, The Heather and The Moor. Boyne Mountain is a picturesque resort with two golf courses, The Alpine and The Monument. Hidden River Golf and Casting Club has an impeccably maintained course amid towering pines and private-access fly fishing at Maple River.

4. Superb golf courses in nearby Charlevoix This quaint village set between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix has several intriguing golf options. Highlighting the menu is Dunmaglas Golf Course, a beautiful layout tucked away in a scenic forest; Charlevoix Country Club, a venerable, municipal nine-hole layout dating back to 1896; and Belvedere Golf Club, a design by Scottish architect Willie Watson that opened in 1927.

5. So many places to play: The golf course menu is brimming with great layouts to tee up. Other options include Crooked Tree Golf Club in Petoskey, Chestnut Valley Golf Course and Harbor Point Golf Club in Harbor Springs, Little Traverse Bay Golf Club in Harbor Springs and Indian River Golf Club in Indian River.

6. Casino gaming: Located on U.S. 131 in Petoskey, the Odawa Casino has 1,200 slot machines, poker room, blackjack room, roulette, craps and other games as well as restaurants and live entertainment.

7. Winery tours Several wineries have opened in the Petoskey area in the past few years providing golfers another great off-the-course activity. Popular wineries for tours and tastings include Petoskey Farms Vineyard and Winery, Walloon Lake Winery and Mackinaw Trail Winery. Blue Lakes by the Bay Transportation offers a five-hour tour of five wineries in the Petoskey area.

8. Ernest Hemingway landmarks in Petoskey: The celebrated author of classics such as "Farewell to Arms" and "Old Man and the Sea" spent the first 22 summers of his life at the family vacation home in the Petoskey area. Some of the places young Hemingway frequented are still around such as Stafford's Perry Hotel, Horton Bay General Store and City Park Grill. The Little Traverse Historical Museum in downtown Petoskey has an exhibit dedicated to Hemingway's years in the area.

9. Great fishing: The fishing in the Petoskey area rivals the quality of the golf courses. There are several marinas to hire a Lake Michigan charter, and some of the other lakes are prime spots, too. Walloon Lake is brimming with bass and walleye, and Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City is loaded with smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegills, rock bass and walleye. For fly fishing enthusiasts, Petoskey's Bear River is a great spot for brook trout, salmon and steelhead.

10. Craft breweries: When it's time to celebrate after a round, there's nothing like toasting an IPA, stout or seasonal brew. The Petoskey area has six microbreweries. A favorite for golfers is Petoskey Brewing, which is located in an 1898 building with beers like Cranium Crush (Summer seasonal) and Horny Monk.

Ed Schmidt, publisher of The Golf Travel Guru Blog, is the author of two books on Florida golf and more than 2,500 articles and columns on golf resorts, courses and destinations around the world. Follow Ed on Twitter at @golftravelguy.
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From Hemingway to Boyne Highlands: 10 reasons for a golf vacation to Petoskey, Michigan