A new golf course at Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Michigan will open in early June.
Sage Run is the second course at the resort, which is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, to be designed by Michigan native Paul Albanese of Albanese & Lutzke. The first course, at Sweetgrass Golf Club, opened in 2008.
“When we first built the Sweetgrass course, we wanted to have golf as an amenity for our resort guests,” said general manager Tony Mancilla. “But over the years we have had more and more golfers coming to the resort and have evolved into a top golf destination. Adding a second golf course was a natural move for us and something that our golfing guests were demanding.”
Albanese’s Sage Run design is a marked contrast in style to the ‘prairie links’ of Sweetgrass.
“The property is much different than the property where Sweetgrass is located, even though it’s a short few miles away by shuttle,” said Albanese. “The only thing that will be similar is that it fits well with the land it is on like Sweetgrass, but it just so happens this property is very different.”
“Sage Run is 75 percent through great trees, very dramatic up and down through the hills with some great long holes going down the hills and some great short holes going up the hills; it’s a lot different,” said Mancilla.
The site’s main feature is a natural drumlin – a long ridge – that runs through the centre of the property.
“It is a pretty prominent land form that is featured on the site,” Albanese said. “The holes go around, over and through the drumlin. Golfers will experience great holes through the trees, some in open areas and just a lot of variety in terms of landscape and feel.”
Albanese was inspired by Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. “Sage Run has that same rough and tumble look with earth tones natural to that landscape,” he said. Natural long grasses edge the bunkers, and some of the short par fours have blind shots to the greens.
The Sage Run name pays homage for the Hannahville Indian Community to the Potawatomi tribal traditions. “We selected sage because we wanted to highlight another of our four traditional tribal medicines – along with cedar, tobacco and sweet grass,” said Mancilla.
The Sage Run course at Island Resort is part of an $8 million renovation aimed at enticing visitors to stay for a few days, which also includes the creation of a spa, renovation of the bingo hall and a new sports bar.