On land between Lake Michigan and 80 inland lakes, Island Resort & Casino is filled with exceptional gaming, entertainment, restaurants and two superb golf courses. Accommodations are spacious and comfy for resting between the many activities at hand. Breakfast and dinner menus at Firekeepers are chock full of hearty and healthy features served with a smile. The adjacent T.MCC’s sports bar is named for the late general manager and a great place to hang with friends while watching the screens. Famous for its Build your Burger, the shrimp cocktail is equally satisfying.
The 5 Bridges Steak and Seafood House offers steaks grilled to perfection as well as local market fresh options and eclectic specials like October’s Lobster Risotto with micro sorel and mascarpone, a sure winner! World class entertainment is also on the Island Resort menu from rock, country and nostalgia to modern hip-hop. Posters of performers line the walls from the theater to the golf clubhouse.
Sweetgrass Golf Club
Here you cross the noted Five Bridges over streams and ponds with thickets of trees at key points. The sweetgrass dances in the wind along broad fairways. Holes are great for beginners or any skill level to enjoy though the grain of the greens requires a good putting strategy for a low score. Backgrounds are picturesque with the waterways and towering hotel of the casino in the background. Eagles on a statue guarding the green of 13 serve as messengers from the creator according to the native people. Live eagles soar above.
Sage Run Golf Club
The beauty of this new course is in the architect’s carving through the natural hills and forest, unfettered by development. Angles and distance are important. If not heeded, ball shopping in the woods can be fun as well as productive. While some carries might be tough, this is a course you want to turn around and play again. Knowing the layout and some of the hidden landing zones, the second time is even more fun. Sage Run is a walk unspoiled that will give you a run for your money. Paul Albanese designed Sweetgrass and Sage Run as sweet complements of one another.
Drift Spa at the Island Resort & Casino and the fitness room sit above the pool facilities available to resort guests. The large area includes a jacuzzi with just right heated jets for soaking away golf kinks. A coed steam room is flanked by single gender steam rooms for optimal comfort and again, the heat is primo.
Escanaba is the banana belt of Michigan according to one resident. It is actually the Walleye Capital, famous for ice fishing and the high school team is the Eskimos, so we question that description come winter but can attest that summer is truly gorgeous and the fall colors are phenomenal. In between gaming and golf, consider Lakeshore drive for a picnic on the beach and stop at one of Sayklly’s three confection stores downtown for candy treats.
Green Bay and the exciting new Lambeau Field is a mere two hours from Escanaba. The arena was built around the original stadium, enhanced in every way. Games extend to the neighborhood lawns. A young DJ has a crowd moving across the street while an Oompah band pumps music in the parking lot, entertaining tailgaters. Excitement mounds and never stops upon entry to the massive football cathedral with memorabilia galore for cheese heads or any NFL aficionado. Fans line up for tickets to return for a stadium tour. The Islands Resort & Casino suite is pretty sweet for high rollers or special groups. Suite hallways are lined with historical photos. The final preseason game revealed new mood lighting and the NFL’s 100-year anniversary logo implanted on the field. Traditional fireworks erupted with happily enough touchdowns to win and witness the Lambeau leaps. The Packer Nation team store is massive with all Lambeau and Packer merchandise, even cheese boobs. Say, “Cheese” at many of the photo ops in arguably the nation’s most impressive stadium. This is Delta Country with easy flights direct into Escanaba, Green Bay or via Detroit. www.michigan.org/golfingWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?