Sweetgrass named best golf course in Michigan

This overhead shot is the island green at Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris. (Photo courtesy Brian Walters Photography)

By Journal Sports Staff

HARRIS — The Sweetgrass Golf Course has been named the 2021 Michigan Golf Course of the Year by the Michigan Golf Course Association, the course’s owner, the Island Resort & Casino, announced last week.

It is one of two courses at the Upper Peninsula resort about 15 miles west of Escanaba, the second being the new Sage Run.

Sweetgrass opened in 2008 to rave reviews and has become the longtime host for the LPGA Symetra Tour’s Island Resort Championship.

“To be recognized by our peers and this wonderful organization is a testament to our staff, who has done an exceptional job of operating Sweetgrass at an extremely high level since its opening, as well as our community who has supported us with the Symetra Tour and allowed us to give back and support them,” said Tony Mancilla, general manager at Island Resort & Casino. “This is a community-wide recognition.”

The MGCA Course of the Year Award honors a member course that meets four criteria — unique characteristics of the course, exceptional quality of ownership and management, outstanding contribution to its community, and significant contributions to the game.

Jada Paisley, executive director of the MGCA, said Sweetgrass hits the mark.

“It’s just the second time an Upper Peninsula course has been chosen, and it fits all the criteria and more for this award,” Paisley said.

Island Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, a federally recognized Potawatomi Indian tribe. The Sweetgrass name refers to an aromatic herb and sacred plant used in Indian peace and healing rituals that is planted throughout the course.

Michigan-based designer Paul Albanese created Sweetgrass as an open layout with a variety of classic green structures and strategic holes. An island green, a double green and par-5 finishing holes on each nine are memorable features for golfers.

Sweetgrass has also been ranked by Golfweek, GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest in various best courses lists.

Due to growing popularity of golf and gaming at the Island Resort, it has plans for a $30 million expansion with more than 100 new hotel rooms bringing the total to 454, a high-end dining venue and convention space, and a pool with water park features.

For more information visit islandresortandcasino.com.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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