When a group of golf devotees purchased the former Kings Challenge Golf Club last year, they did so with the goal of transforming it into Manitou Passage Golf Club, a destination course featuring exceptional playing conditions and unmatched service. That group, lead by Bob Kuras, president of The Homestead, brought the Arnold Palmer Design Company, Peridian International, and the Wadsworth Golf Construction Company in to assist with renovation efforts, ultimately creating the course that Arnold Palmer envisioned when he first designed the course in 1998.
"We are very excited about the opening of the new Manitou Passage Golf Club and the new experience that guests will be treated to when they play the new course", said Bob Kuras. "We adopted a very high goal and are delighted with the contributions that Palmer, Peridian and Wadsworth made toward achieving that goal. We are looking forward to becoming a destination course and providing the playing conditions and service golfers desire and deserve."
Manitou Passage now measures 6,700 yards, a few hundred yards longer then its former self and is now a par 71. Each hole features five new repositioned rectangular tee boxes, a popular style from the classic architecture era of the early 20th century. Other changes included the lengthening of holes, restoring areas with native grasses, and clearing trees and brush to open up vistas around the course. In addition, the green complexes, the pride of a Palmer Design, have been redone and will now live up to golfers expectations.
Some of the signature holes also underwent major changes including the 18th hole, which was lengthened to over 500 yards with new fairway lines setting up a beautiful finish with the new clubhouse as a backdrop. The 17th hole, a picturesque par 3 with one of the best views of the Leelanau countryside, had bunker changes and teeing areas repositioned so the green can be seen from each tee-box now. The sixteenth hole, a demanding par 4, has now become a great hole by moving the tee boxes fifty yards to the west and removing trees on the corner, which has opened up the driving area and created a challenging and fair risk reward shot off the tee.
Other holes that have seen significant improvements include the 2nd and 4th holes, where tees were repositioned and trees removed allowing much better angles and room off the tee and more favorable routings to the greens.
The exclamation point on the renovations to Manitou Passage was achieved at the 8th hole, a par 5 Wadsworth once referred to as "the worst golf hole in the world." It's anything but that now. The hole was entirely rebuilt with trees being removed, tee boxes repositioned, new fairway lines, providing a spectacular hole that begins with the one of the best views in Northern Michigan playing downhill with a risk reward second shot to a green guarded by a pond.
Complimenting the course renovations, and understanding the importance of the first impression of a facility as guests arrive, the group also completed a beautiful renovation of the clubhouse and entrance facilities. The new clubhouse features a beautiful stone and cedar shake exterior with an attractive porch area where guests can view shots into the 18th hole. The inside of the clubhouse features a warm rich interior design including a stone fireplace, leather sofas, and open air ceilings that expand from the new entrance area, dining area, and a new golf shop. The upgrades also include new locker room areas.
"We are very excited with the renovation work to the golf course, clubhouse, and entrance areas. Now when golfers arrive, they will feel right away, as they pull into the entrance, that they are going to experience a world-class golf facility from the moment they arrive, as well as on the course, to when they leave."
Manitou Passage Golf Club will also be offering a variety of golf packages through the Homestead, the world-class resort destination located in Glen Arbor. For more information, call (888) 656-7572, or visit manitoupassagegolfclub.com or thehomesteadresort.com.