We travel a ridiculous amount during the Michigan Golf Live Radio/TV season. Every April through September, for 26 straight weeks, we head to a different destination.
26 weeks of road trips. And we love it. But part of that grinding journey where my spine becomes conformed to the shape of my car seat is a certain “sameness” that I often find difficult to shake out of.
Arcadia Bluffs does it every single time.
This summer we’ve been busy producing a new MGL-TV program for Arcadia, and because the weather didn’t fully cooperate during the first visit, it was incumbent on me to head back over for additional shooting. It’s called “suffering for the craft.”
Having been on vacation with family in the Upper Peninsula, I decided to invite my son, Bo, to join me on the journey. He’s heading into his junior year of high school, plays on the golf team, and I thought would benefit from his first ever trip to such a special place. Plus, it’s always nice to have some dad/son time – not to mention a relief driver for the 4+ hour journey.
I’m so glad he said yes. It had been a long time since I viewed Arcadia through the eyes of a first time visitor. As you may guess, it takes quite a bit to impress a teenager today. Well, this experience did just that. How do I know he was blown away? You decide. I asked/assigned him a summer writing task.
Enjoy these words from a 16-year old Arcadia Bluffs rookie…
The prospect of a 4 hour trip both ways for only a one night stay is daunting for anyone, and often deterring. It nearly was for me, when the offer to go to Arcadia Bluffs was presented to me. I decided to go however, and endure the long drive through slow moving traffic. The moment the car rounded the final turn before the clubhouse and setting comes into view, I knew the right choice had been made.
We arrived right around 4 pm, and the setting was simply incredible. The beautiful and large clubhouse, lodging area, and restaurant overlooked the course with dominance, and is one of the most prominent features on the property. The other thing that immediately catches the eye is, obviously, the massive body of water that is Lake Michigan, which the property is situated directly next to. By directly next to, I mean that the property truly is right on the coast, and this location provides absolutely the most beautiful setting of any golf course I’ve ever visited.
The first day was spent shooting for the MGL TV show, which carried us into the golden hour of sunlight, which is around 6-7 p.m. This was when I truly fell in love with the course. The sun turned the long fescue grass that populates the course a light gold color, and the rolling hills appeared even more vibrant than before. As the night progressed, we eventually finished shooting. That meant it was dinner time.
Having not eaten all day, I was rather hungry. I was looking forward to eating in the restaurant inside the lodge/clubhouse, and was not disappointed. The food was incredible, and the steak I ordered was the largest steak I have personally seen in my life. The staff was incredibly kind and considerate, and said “My pleasure” every time you thanked them, which gives the impression that they truly do just love having you there, which I don’t think is only an act, either.
As dinner wound down, the bag-piper came out. Yes, that’s correct, the bag-piper. I don’t know much about bagpipes, but I know that the instrument was expertly played and served to only greater the already fantastic evening. As he played, silhouetted by the incredible sunset over the water, I looked out over the bluff, and knew once again that coming had been the correct choice.
And all this was before even playing the course. The next morning we awoke to play one of the top 10 courses in America, and I was ecstatic. We exited our beautiful and luxurious cottage to a beautiful and warm morning. Our tee time was right in the middle of the other golden hour of the day, 8-9 a.m. It’s hard to find adjectives to describe the beauty of the golf course. From the huge, golden hills, to the deep and breathtaking bunkers, to the coast line, to the deep ravines, it’s hard to know where to look.
In the end, the best place to look is your ball, and focus on it, because the course offers a huge challenge, but not one that can’t be overcome. The front nine leans toward the more friendly side, and offers better scoring opportunities, but is by no means easy. There is no one hole on the front that is more beautiful than the other, but if I had to pick one that really stood out to me, it would be number 3. All I can say is: wow. It’s a mid-length par 5 played directly toward the water, and you’re gonna want your camera.
Hopefully you score well on the front nine, so as to give yourself something of a cushion for the back. The challenge is ramped up here, and I saw this for myself first hand. The back features a number of holes played parallel to Lake Michigan, and offers the absolute best views and most breathtaking sights I’ve ever seen on a golf course. Again, all the holes are the most beautiful you’ll see, but one that especially stands out is number 12. Played parallel to the water, keep your drive to the right, or you’ll end up in Lake Michigan. Make sure to stop at the tee box to hit a couple balls into the water, as it’s a tradition at Arcadia, and pretty fun to swing as hard as you can and see the satisfying splash, too.
When our round ended, we returned to the restaurant for lunch. Again, the food was incredible, and the wait staff courteous and quick to respond to any request. I took in some final views of the incredible setting, and then it was time to go, and embark on the 4 hour journey back. My experience is summed up in this: as we were leaving I turned to my dad and said, “I think it’s safe to say that this my favorite course in the world.”
I’m confident that if you visit Arcadia, you’ll leave saying much the same thing.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Bo gets an A+ for his summer assignment.
So does Arcadia Bluffs. Hope to see you there.