Island Resort opens second course on 10-year anniversary

By |  July 23, 2018 0 Comments

A look at the green on hole No. 8. (Photo: Created by Brian Walters Photography / provided by Kevin Frisch PR)

Ten years after developing the award-winning Sweetgrass golf course, Island Resort & Casino opened its second golf course, Sage Run. The resort is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Matt Sly is the course superintendent.

Island Resort General Manager Tony Mancilla, golf course designer Paul Albanese and Tribal Chairman of Hannahville Indian Community Ken Meshigaud opened the course in a ceremony with community members and leaders in July.

“We are very excited to be opening our second golf course on the 10-year anniversary of our first course, Sweetgrass,” Mancilla said. “Sage Run is exactly what we wanted – something different from the other courses in the region. It has a very rugged feel that was inspired by a trip Paul Albanese and I took to Royal County Down, including tee boxes that are natural to the ground on simple land forms similar to how they built them back in the late 1800s.”

“This was an inspiring project to work on,” Albanese said. “We spent months on different routings which allowed us to experience the different landscapes, including the drumlin.”

The natural drumlin – an elongated hill or ridge formed by glacial ice long ago – is the primary feature on Sage Run. The golf holes run over and around the hill offering a scenic variety of shots and creating a fun thrill ride for golfers.

“Sage Run has a very rough-and-tumble feel to it,” Albanese said. “As Tony indicated, our trip to Royal County Down was very inspirational in this design and we incorporated some of the rugged design philosophy into it. Golfers will experience great holes through the trees, some in open areas and just a lot of variety in terms of landscape and feel.”

Sweetgrass, also designed by Albanese, features masterfully crafted rockwork with a prairie links style. The course boasts an island green on No. 15 and a pair of breathtaking waterfalls that greet golfers as they play up the ninth and 18th holes to an enormous, shared green.

A Biarritz green, a Redan green and bridges rescued from other areas in the state are other compelling design components and part of the story of the course. Sweetgrass is also home to a future women’s professional golf tournament, the Symetra Tour Island Resort Championship.

“Not very many architects get the opportunity to come back and design a second golf course at a resort destination like Island Resort,” Albanese said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to design this second golf course and now have two very unique designs for golfers of all levels to experience.”


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