TRAVERSE CITY — Northern Michigan golf courses report increased bookings as the 2014 spring season tees off.
Scott Hebert, head golf professional at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, said bookings are up roughly 20 percent this year compared to spring 2013.
He said the long winter likely caused increased anticipation for golfers to hit the links. The harsh winter also benefited northern Michigan golf courses because a hefty snow pack protected greens like a sleeve over a prized driver.
“We saw it in the golf shows this spring -- people are really excited to play golf again,” Hebert said. “I think it’s going to be a nice year for us. Fortunately with all the snow coverage, all of northern Michigan (golf courses) made it through very well after a harsh winter.”
Hebert said southeast Michigan golf facilities weren’t so lucky. Ice storms caused a lot of damage to courses there, meaning there might be more business for courses up north.
“Those golfers would likely travel here anyways, but this give us the ability to really wow them with our course conditions,” Hebert said.
Similar observations were driven home by professionals at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa and Traverse City Golf & Country Club. Crystal Mountain head professional Greg Babinec said the course is in excellent shape and they, too, are seeing increased bookings.
“As long as the winter was this year, we were really pleasantly surprised,” Babinec said. “The greens and tees look great.”
Roger Bliss, head professional at the private Traverse City Golf & Country Club, said the course is in good shape, too, and interest is up.
“Coming into spring season we are seeing a number of new inquiries about memberships,” Bliss said. “Lots of new people and new business professionals moving into the area, so we are looking to have a positive year.”