100 Grand Traverse Village Boulevard, Acme, Michigan 49610, US
(231) 534-6000
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About Grand Traverse Resort & Spa

The 900-acre Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme became a Michigan landmark in the 1980s on the outskirts of Traverse City as its distinctive 17-floot glass tower was built adjacent to The Bear, a notoriously tough course by Jack Nicklaus. Guests have so many choices among 600 guest rooms and condos, five restaurants and lounges, the Gallery of Shops, four indoor-outdoor pools, an indoor water playground, a 7,000-square-foot spa, a private beach on Grand Traverse Bay, a large health club with five indoor tennis courts and two other courses, The Wolverine by Gary Player and Spruce Run by William Newcomb. The nearby Turtle Creek Hotel and Casino, accessible by a free shuttle, is also owned by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottowa and Chippewa Indians.

Facts

Price Range$$$$
Property Class★★★★
Acres900
Year Opened1980
Number of Units500+

Amenities

RestaurantsFine, Casual, Bar
Room TypesSuite, Room
PoolIndoor
TennisYes
Fitness CenterYes
Practice FacilityYes
Beach AccessYes
Golf School/AcademyYes
CasinoYes
Banquet SpaceYes
SpaYes

Services

Room ServiceYes
ConciergeYes

Rules

Is the resort pet friendly?No
Is resort stay required for a tee time?No

Golf courses at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa

Reviews

4.3
17 Reviews (17)
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Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
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
Played On
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
Played On
Handicap Don't know
Skill Beginner
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 1000 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Very Nice facility

I was very impressed with this facility. Nice clubhouse and practice area, Course was well maintained, We didn't want for anything. Perfect weather., perfect pace. Highly recommend!!

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
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
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
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Michigan Advisor
Top 250 Contributor
First Time Playing
Cold weather
Walked

Great resort golf course

The Wolverine compliments the Bear and Spruce Run very well. I think it's the most scenic of the three courses (the cherry orchard on the back helps a lot). It has its own set of challenges, but isn't quite as difficult as its big brother. I enjoyed the back much more than the front. I suspect Gary Player may have been more limited on the front, but it still is very enjoyable. There are a few blind tee shots and some well protected greens, but it's a very playable course for any skill level. I enjoyed the course even though my round was played during 40 degree weather in November. I suggest giving all three courses at the resort a try. The Wolverine has cemented itself in a second place spot in my book.

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

Wolverine Works Well

I personally loved this course. Group of 16 hit the Bear first and then headed over to the Wolverine after a fantastic lunch in the clubhouse. From a practical standpoint, the Wolverine was a much fairer course than the Bear and was devoid of the major green-side bunkers' insatiable appetite for more golf-balls. This is not to say the course was easy, it just may be a better bang for your buck than the Bear if you are in the double-digit handicap range. The views at both courses are un-matched and either course is a great way to spend an afternoon, but I advise just playing both and doing the stay-and-play because why would you not?

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
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
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
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Michigan Advisor
Top 250 Contributor
First Time Playing
Windy weather
Used cart

Not a little brother

This course is always overshadowed by The Bear, but I think it has a lot to offer for every type of player. It's just about as tough as the famous course on the property, with the stretch of holes 3,4, and 5 being some of the hardest I've ever played. With that being said, it's definitely more playable for people who can't make the forced carries The Bear requires you to. The resort does a very fun big-hole tournament here every October. Come here and play The Bear, but make sure you get a tee time at Spruce Run as well. I can promise you'll have just as much fun.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Top 10 Contributor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Wolverine is fun and fair

Definitely the more playable of the two courses at Grand Traverse Resort, the Wolverine is both beautiful and well-conditioned. It's also very fair with generous fairways, moderate greens and no excessive hazards. This is a course that doesn't penalize every marginal shot. There are ample opportunities to save par if you miss the green. And speaking of the greens, they roll true and they're not crazy, so you can make putts.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
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
Handicap 20-24
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Average weather
Used cart

Appreciated the rare chance to try out a Gary Player Course

I really enjoyed playing the Wolverine Course at The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. This scenic and well-groomed "resort style course" still seems challenging even from the forward tees. I particularly liked the back nine and playing around the water and wetlands. The elevation changes added to the variety of the holes too. The starters and players' assistants seem really well organized so a twosome playing amidst groups of fours was never a problem as course staff are flexible as to what hole to start on and other modifications to keep the groups moving. The staff even let us store our clubs on the cart for next day's round on The Bear, which provides an altogether different and even more challenging golfing experience at the same resort (Grand Traverse Resort and Spa}.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Excellent weather
Used cart

The Middle Ground at Grand Traverse!

I just finished a trip to Traverse City where I organized a group of 16 for 108 holes in 4 days for a bachelor party & Ryder Cup type event! We had a blast and played The Bear, The Wolverine & Spruce Run. Each course was a bit different but all in great condition. The staff was incredible - we had custom scorecards for each round (2 per day), custom cart placards with tee times & pairings, had our own long drive, longest putt & closest to the pin stakes. They kept us organized and really helped make it an incredible experience. The food in the clubhouse was fantastic - I enjoyed the ceviche salad & one of their massive sandwiches.

Spruce Run is the moderately challenging course at Grand Traverse with The Bear being most challenging and The Wolverine being the easier of the 3. It was a great course for our team shamble and everyone had a great time - greens/fairways in tour shape!

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
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
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
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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