If you like to swat the little white ball and chase after it, then you’ve heard of destination golf. You’ve fantasized about resorts like Pebble Beach, Bandon Dunes, Pinehurst, The Greenbriar … and they blow you away.
More specifically, they blow you and your wallet away.
Well, take a deep breath. Exhale. Golf is a demanding sport, to be sure. But it doesn’t have to be that demanding — it doesn’t have to break the bank. Enticing playing fields and attractive accommodations exist for those without a private plane or unlimited resources. Case in point — Gull Lake View Golf Resort.
Located in Augusta, Mich. — c’mon, how do you go wrong in a town named Augusta — Gull Lake View is southwest Michigan’s largest and most enchanting resort, featuring six golf courses. That’s right, half-a-dozen cousin, one more captivating than the next, each among the best Michigan offers, all in one place.
Gull Lake, located slightly northwest of Kalamazoo, offers plenty of other activities for families and friends, things like boating, hunting, and fishing. That said, if it’s fairways and greens you desire, where else can you play 18 a day for six days without seeing the same hole twice. This isn’t diversity for diversity’s sake, we’re talking about six individual courses that have been rated 4.5 stars or higher (out of 5) by Golf Digest.
For all the assortment, and all the demands, foursome packages start at one night of lodging and two days of unlimited golf for $180 per person. A senior special includes two nights and three days for $297.52 per person. You can get three buddies together and stay three nights and play four unlimited days for $423.80. Or you just might be in the neighborhood and try the twilight rate for $59 a round.
“I love this place, my dad loves this place, and if you know our family you know this is not just how we make money, it is who we are,” said Jon Scott — c’mon, how do you go wrong with Scotts running the place?
Scott is the third generation of Scotts to manage the resort. The Scott family opened Gull Lake View Resort with 18 holes in 1963, on their way to 108 holes, 67 villas and two restaurants. The most recent 18-hole addition to the love affair is Stoatin Brae, a magnificent layout gracing a picturesque bluff overlooking the Kalamazoo River Valley.
The collaborative build effort between Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design and the Scott family was regarded as “One of the nine most eagerly awaited new golf courses,” by Forbes Magazine when it opened in 2017. More recently, Stoatin Brae has been ranked among the top five Michigan courses, embellishing the already crowded Gull Lake View corroboration.
With wide fairways and links-style playability, with breath-taking vistas and classic architectural elements, Stoatin Brae is a course to be enjoyed by John Q. Golfer, as well as a scratch player.
“We need to be able to offer golf as a pastime to everyone, not just the guy who can hit the ball 275 yards,” said Gull Lake View vice-president Bill Johnson.
All the Gull Lake View courses — Stoatin Brae, Gull Lake View East and West, Stonehedge North and South, Bedford Valley — are within a short drive of each other. All offer unique presentations and challenges to satisfy the golf-adventurist and resort-seeking spirit in all of us. The Scotts wouldn’t have it any other way.
“When Grandpa decided to build his own golf course that was certainly out of his comfort zone, and as we’ve expanded over the years, we have pushed those limits that others see,” Scott said.
“What we have at Stoatin Brae is different … But it is consistent with what our family has done from the beginning. We’re giving more to the golfer, our customers, giving them more reasons to come play golf here, another way to have fun.”
Dan O’Neill, who covered golf for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1989 to 2017, is an editorial consultant on golf for Fox Sports. His articles have appeared in publications such as Golfweek, Golf World, Golf.com and The Memorial magazine.