New short course by Ray Hearn to debut in Michigan next year

  • Boyne Highland
    Boyne Resorts

    A groundbreaking for the new short course at The Highlands at Harbor Springs in Michigan

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

The Highlands at Harbor Springs, Michigan, is under way with construction of a new nine-hole par-three layout designed by Ray Hearn.

The short layout will be the eleventh course that is operated by Boyne Resorts, a ski and golf operator that runs resorts in Michigan, Maine and Montana.

Hearn’s new course is one of several that Boyne is developing across its locations as it looks to press forward with a long-term vision for growth.

“Short courses have been gaining in popularity since they increase the opportunities to enjoy the game for everyone,” said Josh Richter, senior vice president of golf operations for Boyne Resorts. “Non-golfers and families can enjoy it as an activity while avid golfers can play few more holes without playing another 18, since fun is paramount to the experience. The new short course at The Highlands will add an entirely new dimension to our portfolio. We have plans to build short courses at our other facilities in upcoming years, as well.”

Hearn, who is also working on a renovation of the eighteen-hole Donald Ross Memorial course at The Highlands, said: “Designing and building the short course with Stephen Kircher, Bernie Friedrich, Furness Golf and the Boyne team has been an exciting project to be a part of and it will be fun to watch all the varying skill levels of golfers having fun playing the game on this unique course built into the side of the ski hill.

“My favourite part of the project are the famous approximate green complexes I was able to create. I have drawn inspiration from some of my favourite greens in Scotland, Ireland, and America – Eden, Punchbowl, Short, Redan, reverse Redan, partial Volcano, Steep Slope, Postage Stamp, and Biarritz. I was able to create fun, ‘kinda-sorta’ scaled-down versions of the originals and route them along the ski slope with uphill, downhill, and sidehill holes creating some thrilling golf shots.”

The new yet-to-be-named short course is located on the site of the former Cuff Links, which was also a nine-hole par-three layout. Hearn’s design values playability and fun – there will be two to three fairway options for each hole, forward tees to avoid some hazards, and it will be lit for evening play.

Hearn’s nine-hole Himalayas-style putting course will be built near the club’s main lodge.

Construction of the short course is expected to be completed by autumn 2023 with an opening planned for spring 2024.