GOLF NORTH YOUNG MAN, GOLF NORTH
by Stephen Wozniak
Six-time British Open golf champion Harry Vardon was onto something when he stated simply, “For this game you need, above all things, to be in a tranquil frame of mind.” There are, of course, a few more parts to the equation for a good game of golf. Long experience, good form and the sustained energy to play a worthwhile game helps, too. But for that “tranquil frame of mind,” location and setting play a huge role.
Highly-rated courses and golf vacation destinations dot the U.S. map, from the view-seducing beachside resorts in Florida to the secret links of suburban upstate New York. But those in the know will tell you that Northern Michigan offers some of the very best settings for a day on the course.
The privately-owned True North Golf Club, a relative newcomer to the scene, is a case in point. Located on Lake Michigan in beautiful and picturesque Harbor Springs—known as the Nantucket of the Midwest— it is a short 4- to 6-hour drive from major cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit.
The nationally recognized, tournament condition course was created by award-winning designer Jim Engh in 2004. Ranked among the best in the state by Golf Digest, the 18-hole course features several elevated teeing grounds that make every game enjoyable—for vacay novices, seasoned pros, and even intermediate players like me. True North was carefully planned and carved directly out of the dense sugar maple, oak and pine-fir forests that weave their way throughout the region. These woods surround the rolling fairway and putting greens, providing a serene and protected space for that “tranquil state of mind.”
With an amazing temperate yearly high of 78˚F degrees in July, it only gets better the rest of the year, from 54˚F in April to 57˚F in October, when the changing leaves fill the region with color. True North stays cool enough for many golfers to extend their typical play time from 1 to 3 full 18-hole games, even on its 7,000+ yard course. The course’s limited membership makes it easy to manage your pace of play and prevent backed-up games.
So, what other amenities are on tap? The Compass Room restaurant provides grab-and-go fare for ready-to-play golfers as well as delicious multi-course meals for all guests. While the golf club is private, the Compass Room is open to the public, so friends and family can enjoy a bite and the incredible 180˚ hardwood forest view overlooking the 18th hole.
If you’re looking for more than a short golf getaway, True North offers a limited number of estate lots, houses and cabins for those looking to rent or purchase a home for year-round living. These units are elegantly appointed with queen beds, full kitchens, and stone fireplaces, and each is built on a wooded lot with panoramic views of the greens, forest, and open meadows. Some are available to be built to order. The club’s friendly, accessible culture provides members and guests a place to truly “live where you play,” according to PGA General Manager Michael Kernicki.
Camp True North, created in 2018 by award-winning architect John Sather, expands on the traditional golf grounds to provide stocked trout ponds, hiking, and a community building, pool and amphitheater. Recalling the great tradition of family camps established in the early 19th century, Camp True North was envisioned as
a place that brings families together in nature for
recreation, rest and group activities.
The club’s professional staff offers expert instruction for players of all levels. And the modest but complete True North Golf Shop is stocked with some of the best brands, gear and accessories. If for some reason they don’t carry what you’re looking for, believe me, they can secure it for you. And when members/guests do find the golf equipment they want, it’s professionally fitted to each individual.
Finally, the practice facilities at True North are second to none, and the short game area near the club cottages gives members the opportunity to practice for many hours before the long days fade away in summer. As we all know, practice makes perfect, and this area is available for use throughout the day.
While I have enjoyed some of the best North Michigan fairways in recent years, I have to count this tucked away, forest-clad course as one of the finest pure golf destinations on the continent. I’ll be following my compass back to True North as often as I can. IIII
While True North is private, the club gladly welcomes “Friends of Fairhaven”. If you would like to play and/ or stay at True North, mention your relationship with Marc Horner and Fairhaven Wealth Management and watch the red carpet roll.
For Membership Info Contact:
PGA General Manager at 231-526-3300 x2