ESCANABA - Three Upper Peninsula golf courses have received recognition as among the best in Michigan.
Golfweek magazine has ranked Marquette Greywalls as No. 2 in Michigan, with Iron Mountain TimberStone No. 6 and Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris No. 14. This is the first time TimberStone was ranked by this magazine. Greywalls is No. 79 nationally.
Sweetgrass is also No. 24 among top casino courses in the country.
The Sweetgrass ranking is timely because the course, which opened in 2008, will host an LPGA Futures event June 24-26. The players actually arrive June 20.
Arcadia Bluff was ranked No. 1 in Michigan, with Roscommon Forest Dunes, Stanwood Tullymore and Charlevoix Belvedere in the 3-4-5 slot.
Whistling Straits, which hosted the PGA Championship last year, is No. 1 in Wisconsin and fourth in the country. Stevens Point Sentry World is No. 10 in Wisconsin.
Kingsley Club in Kingsley, Mich. is No. 26 nationally in the modern course design and Arcadia Bluff is No. 28. Kingsley and Greywalls were both designed by Mike DeVries of Traverse City.
It was interesting to look at ranked courses in the country because I've played several of them, albeit not very well.
In addition to Whistling Straits and Sentry World, I've played Branson Creek in Branson, which is No. 1 in Missouri, Payne Stewart in Branson is No. 3 in the state and Murder Rock is No. 4. My preference in Branson is Payne Stewart, which has one of the nicest clubhouses I've visited. Another Branson course, Ledgeview, in my opinion is also better than Branson Creek and Murder Rock.
In addition to losing golf balls at Whistling Straits and Sentry World, I've also played Bully Pulpit in Medora, N.D., ranked third in the state, and TPC of Myrtle Beach, No. 8 in South Carolina. The TPC course also has a superb clubhouse.
The U.P. trio fit right in with those high profile tracks, with TimberStone my favorite of all those courses. Bully Pulpit's back nine is remarkably similar to the rocky terrain of Greywalls, which is more penalizing.
There are some other excellent U.P. tracks, such as Brimley Wild Bluff Golf Course, The Rock on Drummond Island, The Jewel on Mackinac Island, Iron Mountain Pine Grove, Manistique Indian Lake and George Young near Iron River.
* Junior varsity hockey is coming to Houghton High School, on a self-funded basis.
The school board approved the request Monday. An estimate prepared by parents puts the cost at $20,435 for a season ($1,202 per player).
"If the money doesn't come about, the team doesn't play - period," said Supt. Bill Polkinghorne.
Calumet has the region's only other junior varsity program. Potential opponents include Marquette, Traverse City, St. Ignace, Rhinelander, Marinette and Appleton.
Houghton has one other self-funded athletic team, girls softball.