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4.0
15 Reviews (15)
5 Stars
9
4 Stars
2
3 Stars
3
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.5
Value
3.7
Layout
4.4
Friendliness
4.7
Pace
3.6
Amenities
4.2
80.4%
Recommend this course
13 out of 15 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.3
6 Reviews (6)
5 Stars
4
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.8
Value
4.0
Layout
4.5
Pace
4.3
Amenities
4.2
StaffFriendliness
4.7
83.3%
Recommend this course
5 out of 6 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.3
6 Reviews (6)
5 Stars
4
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.8
Value
4.0
Layout
4.5
Pace
4.3
Amenities
4.2
StaffFriendliness
4.7
83.3%
Recommend this course
5 out of 6 reviews
Read Reviews

About

Holes 18
Type Resort
Style Links
Par 72
Length 7078 yards
Slope 150
Rating 76.1
Book a Tee Time at
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa - Bear
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Course Details

Year Built 1985
Fairways Bent Grass
Greens Bent Grass
Golf Season Open: 4/15 Closed: 10/31
Architect Jack Nicklaus (1985) Thomas Pearson (1985)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes - included in green fees
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Golf School Academy Yes
Golf Simulator Yes
Teaching Pro Yes
Pitching/Chipping Area Yes
Indoor Practice Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted VISA, MasterCard, Amex Welcomed
Metal Spikes Allowed No
Dress code Slacks, shorts and collared shirts are permitted. Denim, tee shirts and cut off shorts are not allowed.

Available Facilities

Banquet Facilities, Spa

Available Activities

Swimming

Reviews

4.0
15 Reviews (15)
Advanced Filters
Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Beautiful and technical

Treat of a course to play. Challenging, but not un-fun. Wide open fairways with difficult, technical approaches. Though missing the fairway will put you in a mogul filled rough (almost certainly a challenging lie). Hazards come into play on most holes — water or some serious thick s&!t. My favorite stretch was #8-9. Hole #8 was a fun approach with water all over the right side, followed by #9, a par 3 with a peninsula green.

I wish that the course had proper red(lady) tees that didn’t require so much power. The carry required on a number of holes was plain in-accessible to novices. My girlfriend (a novice) had no chance at getting a ball in play off the tee on many of the holes. Still, she had a great time and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
2.0
First Time Playing

$160 is absurd

Overpriced compared to others in northern Michigan. Played it because I was told it was tough, Jack just likes small greens. Nothing special here in terms of layout or condition.

Conditions Good
Value Fair
Layout Average
Friendliness Good
Pace Fair
Amenities Fair
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Grand Traverse Resort - The Bear Course

The Bear course at Grand Traverse is one of the finest golf courses in the country. I have played many great courses around the United States.,I would rank the Bear as one of the best. Challenging, great shape with a beautiful layout. A must-play course in northern Michigan.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing

Fun Course From the Appropriate Tees

The good: check-in guys friendly; layout is challenging but fun if you play the right tees; course well maintained, fairways and greens excellent; lunch at the clubhouse grill was excellent
The bad: breakfast sandwiches at the snack shack warmed in a microwave are soggy w cold centers; afternoon bag drop crew of young guys who need training, some had resort shirts, some did not, none seemed interested in earning any tips; range and practice area are a little small for a resort of this size, don’t care for paying for warm up balls before $150 round.

Overall great course and facilities, would play again.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Default User Image
Commented on 07/26/2020

Couldn’t believe it was $7 for a bag of range balls after $160.... blew my mind.

Played On
Reviews 1
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 31
Handicap 5-9
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
D C Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Very Difficult Track - Need to Play a few times

The Bear is a Jack Nicklaus course from his target golf period. The fairways are not difficult to find but the challenge is being in the optimum position to attack these small and very difficult greens. The Bear is well laid out and a traditional parkland style. The course is relatively flat compared to other courses but has many standout holes that require shots over and around lakes and marshland. Bring your best approach game or your scorecard will suffer, if you can hit it high and land softly you might shoot your lowest score, if you play it low and on the ground...sorry. The course is one of three courses at the Grand Traverse Resort and is considered the most difficult and flagship course. The course comes in at a fair price compared to other surrounding courses and a great test of your game. The conditions were a little patchy but it is a high traffic course, and by that estimation, it was not bad. The Bear starts off with a seemingly easy par 4 but after your approach, you get a firm grasp that the greens are fast and your approach is important, no simple aim to the center of these very small greens and most flags are in sucker pin position. I would definitely recommend it if in Traverse City but I might not recommend driving out of your way to play. Note: The pace was solo but to be fair I was right behind a corporate outing that they mismanaged the start and might not be a fair example of regular play

Conditions Average
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Average
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Default User Image
Commented on 07/24/2020

3 stars seems inappropriate given the review

Played On
Reviews 6
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
3.0
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Used cart

Brutal

Stupidly difficult and penal course, and the five hour round did not help matters. It has some really good holes, but nothing terribly scenic or memorable. It was in good shape, but the greens were slow. If you want a golf course to just brutalize you, have at it.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Poor
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 3
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Disappointing experience

We purchased the 36 hole package, intending to play the Bear in the AM and Spruce Run in the PM. Due to a large outing on the Bear, our round took 5 hours and 20 minutes to complete. Exasperating. Due to this duration, we had zero time to stop for lunch before our Spruce Run tee time (which we pushed back 30 minutes after the front nine on the Bear), only to find the same slow conditions on Spruce due to another outing. We quit on the second hole after waiting on the tee for fifteen minutes with no pace improvement in sight. Resort golfing at its worst. Not likely to return in the future.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Poor
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 16
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Michigan Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

BIG Bear

Played this as our opening round of a 16-man, 5-round weekend and I must say it was tough. The name "The Bear," though signifies distance, and this course was not overly long (we played at the 6500 tees, the tips were roughly 7000), maybe a name along the lines of Loki would have been more appropriate as the Bear was the trickiest course we've seen. The fairways are not too difficult to stripe one down to good position, but the greens are like a medieval fortress daring you enter and then ambushing you with hidden traps, false fronts and sand-traps that seemingly eat-up every shot that isn't perfect. The facilities are some of the nicest out there (aside from a metropolis-looking hotel that does not fit with the scenery) and the staff was fantastic. If you normally shoot in the 90s, your mental health may be better served playing The Bear's little brother in the Wolverine. Players in the 70s-80s should expect to hit outside of their handicap, but it is definitely worth the challenge.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 70
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Michigan Advisor
Top 250 Contributor
Previously Played
Windy weather
Used cart

Beautiful and long course

The Bear will challenge you in many ways, but the conditioning and views will make your experience here wonderful. It's a tough test, playing much longer than average courses, but if you're able to hit your long irons and avoid the pot bunkers, this course gets a little easier. The greens are always in fantastic shape and will roll true. There are a lot of protected greens and forced carries, penalizing inaccurate players. I've never paid full price to play The Bear (I've always found deals) and I'm not sure that I would. It's a fantastic course, but there are courses I could have much more fun at for less than this rate. I would definitely recommend everyone play this course at least once. It's fun to work your way through this puzzle Jack Nicklaus has laid out in this beautiful city.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 2
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Fair weather
Used cart

Tough course with lots of variety

After playing The Wolverine Course here at the Grand Traverse Resort, I was surprised at how much more difficult The Bear course played from its neighbor - even from the forward tees! Every hole seemed quite different from the last with different challenges to boot but even struggling through hot temperatures , the variety of hole layouts kept it fun. The first hole on The Bear is the only somewhat easy par, but only if you can avoid the moguls. After that, pars are much trickier to come by thanks to multi-tiered greens, deep, difficult bunkers and lots of thick waste areas and water, The forced carries and /or water hazards are visually intimidating on most holes but particularly on 14 and 18. This beautiful finishing hole plays downhill back to the clubhouse with another carry over water to a large green.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 44
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 500 Contributor
Illinois Advisor
First Time Playing

Must play in Traverse City

The staff was extremely friendly and helpful with booking the tee time over the phone, checking in, preparing the cart, and getting me started.

I golfed as a single with a tee time around 4 in the afternoon. I checked in early (over 1 hour early) and was informed by the starter that the course was wide open and I could head out as soon as I wanted. The starter was very helpful and knowledgeable. I told him what my handicap was and asked him which tees he would recommend I play from (14 handicap and he recommended the white tees). He also recommended having some type of range finder or gps device in order to play The Bear. He was 100% correct about that.

The course is as difficult as advertised. Look up reviews all over the Internet and they all say it is one of, if not the hardest golf course in all of Michigan. Every hole on this course has lots of danger whether it is water, waste areas, or huge, deep bunkers. Thankfully I had my rangefinder with me so that I could figure out distances to bunkers, water, etc. if you don't have a rangefinder, download a gps app before playing this course. You WILL need to use it in order to save yourself lots of lost balls and penalty strokes.

The course itself was in great shape. Each hole has character and no two holes are the same. Almost every hole has some type of forced carry whether it is off the tee or into the green. The greens were the best I have played on all year. They are fast and each green has tons of character with multiple tiers. If you land on the right tier, plenty of 1 putts are there for the taking. Likewise, if you are on the wrong tier, expect a lot of 3 putts.

If you want to play a course that has wide fairways and you can hit your driver off of every tee, go somewhere else. I probably hit my 3 hybrid off of the tee more than anything else in my bag. I spoke to the starter again after my round and he called it a thinking man's course. If you want a course just to hit driver off of every hole, he recommended The Wolverine, calling it a "true resort style course."

I will definitely play this course again when I come back to Traverse City. I got in my round in about 3 hours. The rates drop and are reasonable around 3:30 in the afternoon. Based on the other courses I have played in the Traverse City area, this was in the best shape by far.

Friendly tip/heads up: It was very windy and got more and more windy as the day went on. The starter advised it is always relatively calm in the morning but the wind will start whipping off of the lake in the afternoon.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 10
Handicap 10-14
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Used cart

It's right up there...

... with the best courses I've played in Michigan. We played on a drizzly day so the course was wide open and we got round in 3.5 hours. Greens are excellent and you will do well to average 2-putts or better. Fairways extremely generous and rough not so difficult as long as you stay out of the thick stuff. It's not as difficult as its reputation (the Bear didn't bite me) and it makes for a very enjoyable round.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 11
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Excellent weather
Used cart

Golden Bear Does it Again

Jack Nicklaus does it again. he never stops amazing people with his golf talent, now this time in golf course architecture. The design is perfect. Many of these up north courses have some filler holes here and there to get you to their sigature hole. This one however, has none. EVERY hole is a picture hole.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
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