GAM Travel - Michigan

Elk Ridge Celebrates 25 Years of Serving Great Golf and HoneyBaked Ham


 ATLANTA, Mich. – Elk Ridge Golf Club is celebrating 25 years serving golfers and Scott and Karen Landane don’t know where the time has gone.

   “We moved from Chicago when construction started and we were here for the grand opening in 1991,” said Scott, the director of golf while Karen serves as manager.

   “Out here we’re a destination golf course and we’ve developed a following that comes back every year, but we also see new faces all the time.”

  Louis Schmidt, president of HoneyBaked Ham in Michigan, is the owner of Elk Ridge and the fun pig-shaped bunker at No. 10 still draws comments and cameras. 

  “And we have people who just come out here for the HoneyBaked Ham sandwiches in the restaurant,” Scott said. 

  Elk Ridge is much more than a fun bunker and a great sandwich stop though. Jerry Matthews, Michigan’s prolific golf course designer, did some of his best work at Elk Ridge, which has been an award-winner since opening with the 1991 “Second Best New Public Course in America” designation by Golf Digest in 1992.

  Most recently, Elk Ridge made the 2013 list of “America’s Top 100 Golf Courses” by Golf Digest and has a 4 ½ star rating in Golf Digest’s “Places to Play.”

  Visit the Elk Ridge web site for information on the rates, which are competitive, reasonable, include specials for juniors and seniors and change each spring, summer and fall.

 Elk Ridge is a Golf Association of Michigan must-play for traveling golfers, especially those who venture near Gaylord or Alpena. It is part of the Gaylord Golf Mecca Group, and packages with Thunder Bay Resort and other facilities.

  “We don’t have lodging on site so we are dependent on the hotels in Gaylord and the other resorts in the area with lodging,” Scott said.

  Elk Ridge is worth the trip and planning. It’s on beautiful Northern Michigan land with dramatic elevation changes right from the first tee, and beautiful vistas on several golf holes. 

  It’s a shotmaker’s course in large part because of the golf required over and around marshes and wetlands, and the dogleg holes on the front nine make golfers pay strict attention to direction.

   Many of the holes are isolated amid hardwoods on the 400 acres of Northern Michigan wilderness that now seems a natural home to the championship course with four sets of tees and playing from over 7,000 yards to 5,261 yards from the front.

   Golfers go away talking about No. 3, a 554-yard par 5 with a double dogleg of sorts, the par 3 No. 10 hole because of the Northern Michigan treetops view, 100-foot drop and the large pig-shaped bunker, and No. 16, a par 4 hole that doglegs sharply around a large wetland but from the back tees offers a dramatic risk-reward shot option. 

   “It’s really important to pick the correct tees,” Scott said. “It takes some course management, but it’s also very fair. We’ve received positive feedback from women golfers for the fairness and design of the front tees.”

   Superintendent Dave Iwema and his staff work on keeping high-profile conditions and flowers, mowing patterns and green speeds combine for a country club type experience.

   “We get a lot of repeat business, but we welcome new business, too,” Scott said. “We try to make everything we do here worth the trip.”

    Bradford Grems of Rochester, who works in purchasing in for General Motors and enjoys a family cabin at nearby Canada Creek Ranch, plays often with family members at Elk Ridge. He and his eight-year-old son Nolan stopped in for a recent nine holes and lunch.

    “We thought we would make this last round before school gets going special,” Grems said. “We came out and played – just the two of us. I was just telling Nolan what I really like about Elk Ridge is that you hardly ever see anybody else even when the course is busy. It’s isolated and really peaceful with the way it is spread out through the trees.”

  He said he and Nolan prefer the back nine because it has fewer dogleg holes and the prettiest golf holes.
  “It’s really an enjoyable place,” Grems said. “I like to see people here and this place doing well. I don’t ever want it to not be here.”

  Put 9400 Rouse Rd., Atlanta, MI 40709 in your GPS application to find Elk Ridge.


-Greg Johnson


The view from the No. 10 tee shows a deep elevation drop and the celebrated pig-shaped bunker.
The No. 12 view from the tee demonstrates architect Jerry Matthews fitting a golf hole with the natural landscape.
The view back from behind No. 13 green. The par 5 hole wraps around a water hazard.
No. 16, a par 4 over a water hazard on the tee shots beckons the golfer to bite off as much as he or she dares.
A father and son play the 18th hole to finish up an adventure through the wilderness.
The great views are many, and varied. Here's one of the lake on the front nine.