Three things we learned at the Michigan Golf Show

Did the first breath of spring put you in the mood to golf? You’re not the only one. We met hundreds of people at the Michigan Golf Show in March.

The Calhoun County Visitors Bureau sponsors the Southern Swing program, which provides travel planning for a stay and play package in the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo area. 

We have 15 premium golf courses, seven lodging options and one very helpful sales coordinator.

Here are three things we learned from golfers at the Michigan Golf Show:

Kid clubs are the cutest thing in the world

Golf isn’t only for retirees. There were a lot of families at the golf show, including some with three generations of golfers.

One little girl carried her new miniature golf bag and clubs while Dad had the box.

Dean Kolstad, director of golf for Gull Lake View Golf Resort and board secretary for Michigan PGA, said the next trend is making golf more accessible for younger people.

“You’re trying to get everybody involved, and that is what golf is now,” Kolstad said.

It’s also a great way to get outdoors and spend time with the family.

Gull Lake View offers family golf days on Sundays – after 5 p.m. kids play free with an adult paying $10.

Binder Park Golf Course is part of First Tee LINK, an international organization that teaches golf and healthy habits. Of course, the added attraction is that Binder Park is right next to the zoo, where the family can feed giraffes or come face-to-face with lions.

Golfers miss Yarrow

Ask about golf in the Battle Creek area, and people still bring up Yarrow Golf & Conference Resort. It’s been closed since 2016, but it was a favorite for golfers.

You don’t have to convince us that the staff was excellent. The CCVB has recruited two former Yarrow employees: Jay Gladstone is our director of sales and Kelli Beattie is the helpful sales coordinator for Southern Swing.

If you miss Yarrow, Kelli has a couple recommendations: 

The Medalist in Marshall has big, rolling greens and the Up-North feeling that made Yarrow so popular.

Try Stonehedge North in Augusta for forested terrain and dramatic elevation changes — then have a meal at Charles and Darl’s in the clubhouse.

Southern Michigan is under the radar

A lot of groups said they were looking for someplace new to try or they were tired of the time it takes to travel up north.

If you don’t live near Battle Creek, though, chances are you aren’t aware that we have a cluster of golf courses in the area. You get a lot of variety within a driving radius of less than an hour.

We’re also close to the Indiana border and we’re located halfway between Detroit and Chicago. If you want to try something new without driving eight hours north, a couple of gems to put onto your list include:

Island Hills in Centreville is a scenic option if you’re looking for a link-style course. The holes have six tees, so it’s easy to adjust for every level of player in your group.

The Lynx is a brainy course, the kind that you can play strategically. You golf alongside the Kalamazoo River, with lots of hills, dramatic drop-offs and tree-lined fairways.