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Course of the Year

Sundance at A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort Named 2023 MGCA Course of the Year

The Sundance Course at A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort has been selected as the 2023 Michigan Golf Course of the Year by the Michigan Golf Course Association (MGCA).

Sundance, a Jerry Matthews design that opened in 2005, is one of two courses at the main campus of A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort and sits atop glacier-carved bluffs between Torch Lake and Grand Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan.

The MGCA Course of the Year Award honors a member course that meets four criteria: Unique characteristics of the course; exceptional quality of ownership and management; outstanding contribution to its community; and significant contribution to the game.

“Getting nominated and winning this award from the MGCA is not something you expect, but I do think we are deserving especially with our involvement in First Tee, high school golf, collegiate golf and the various charity events and golf groups that play here and enjoy the experience,” Brown said. “It’s exciting to be considered and being named course of the year in Michigan is tremendous.”

Jada Paisley, executive director of the MGCA, said the MGCA is thrilled to announce Sundance as the 2023 MGCA Course of the Year.

“Sundance embodies all of the characteristics of the Course of the Year award,” she said. “The golf course has fostered a vibrant community hub where people can come together for golfing, socializing and events while supporting charitable causes that benefit the broader community.”

Part of the Sundance course rolls over links style ground and part of the course is cut through Northern Michigan hardwoods and is next to the resort’s original Torch course.

With water views combined with wide, playable fairways, classic green design, 110 bunkers and natural sand areas as well as heather-clad mounding, the course is stunning in appearance in all directions. It can be played at almost 7,000 yards and offers multiple tee options.

A-Ga-Ming was built in the mid-1970s by Detroit businessman Roy Wetmore. What is now the Torch course was redesigned by Chick Harbert, the 1954 PGA champion and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member. The Antrim Dells course and Charlevoix Country Club courses located nearby are also part of the current resort, which include multiple restaurant and lodging options. Learn more at a-ga-ming.com.

Larry Lavely is the co-owner and PGA director of golf, and the superintendent for the Sundance course is Nick Michalek.

Brown said Sundance is a favorite among the visitors and golfers of all abilities who come to A-Ga-Ming.

“We hear from people who play it for the first time telling us how much they love it, and we hear from our membership that has grown to about 350 members that rave about it,” he said.

“It’s a playable course. It can be pushed back to 7,000 yards and that makes it quite a challenge. We’ve hosted the last two (Michigan Junior State Amateur) championships and those kids can hit it a mile. We have a college tournament on Labor Day weekend, collegiate women, and we get great feedback from them. We are going to host the Big East (Conference Tournament) next year. Larry’s son (Josh) plays at Villanova and we have a connection there. We are getting recognition from all directions, and that still includes the primary part of our business with buddy trips and the golf travel groups who visit the Traverse City area. Sundance is outstanding and versatile. I think that’s a good way to put it.”

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2023 Course of the Year

SUNDANCE AT A-Ga-Ming

MGCA Course of the Year Award

The Michigan Golf Course Association’s Golf Course of the Year is presented at the Michigan Golf Business Conference and Vendor Fair. The winner of this prestigious award is also submitted to contend for the Golf Course of the Year Award nationally through the National Golf Course Owners Association.

The Course of the Year Award winner comes from MGCA’s membership and makes an outstanding contribution to the game of golf in their markets as well as being a model operation to their peers.

The Course of the Year Award honors a member demonstrating four criteria:

  • Unique characteristics of your golf course.
  • Exceptional ownership and management: What makes your golf operation stand out?
  • Outstanding contribution to the community in which it does business.
  • Contribution to the game.

2023 Nomination Process

  • Candidates for Course of the Year are nominated by a MGCA member (course or corporate) by emailing Jada Paisley the course name.
  • Courses that were previously nominated are automatically put forward for the current year, if they didn't win.
  • MGCA will then reach out to the course nominee to let them know of their nomination and will forward the application.
  • The course submits the completed application electronically through a Google Form link.

Deadline to nominate: August 11, 2023.

Deadline for course to complete MGCA Course of the Year Application: September 8, 2023

For courses nominated, submit your application electronically below. 

Past Winners

 

 Year   Award Winner
 2023  Sundance at A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort
 2022   The Emerald Golf Course, St. Johns 
 2021   Sweetgrass Golf Club 
 2020  Stoatin Brae, Gull Lake View 
 2019   Detroit Golf Club 
 2018   The Heather, Boyne 
 2017   The Majestic at Lake Walden  
 2016   Belvedere Golf Course 
 2015    Forest Dunes 
 2014   The Legend at Shanty Creek, Bellaire 
 2013   Sycamore Hills Golf Club, Macomb 
 2012   Grand Traverse Resort, Traverse City 
 2011   Scott Lake Country Club, Comstock Park 
 2010   Gull Lake View Resort, Augusta 
 2009   Crystal Mountain Resort, Thompsonville 
 2008   Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills 
 2007   Boyne Resorts, Boyne 
 2006   Eagle Eye Golf Course, Bath 
 2005   Treetops, Gaylord 
 2004   Timberstone Golf Course, Iron Mountain 
 2003  Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center, Plymouth 

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