Island Resort’s Sweetgrass named Michigan Golf Course of the Year
EAST LANSING — Island Resort & Casino’s original course, Sweetgrass, has been selected as the 2021 Michigan Golf Course of the Year by the Michigan Golf Course Association.
One of two courses at the Upper Peninsula resort 13 miles west of Escanaba in Harris, Sweetgrass opened in 2008 to rave reviews and is the annual host course for the LPGA Symetra Tour’s Island Resort Championship.
“We are very honored to have our Sweetgrass golf course be selected as the Michigan Golf Course of the Year by the MGCA,” Tony Mancilla, general manager at Island Resort & Casino said.
“To be recognized by our peers and this wonderful organization is a testament to our staff who has done an exceptional job of operating Sweetgrass at an extremely high level since its opening, as well as our community who has supported us with the Symetra Tour and allowed us to give back and support them. This is a community wide recognition.”
The MGCA Course of the Year Award honors a member course that meets four criteria: unique characteristics of the course; exceptional quality of ownership and management; outstanding contribution to its community; and significant contribution to the game.
Jada Paisley, executive director of the MGCA, said Sweetgrass hits the mark.
“The MGCA is thrilled that Sweetgrass is the course of the year,” she said. “It’s just the second time an Upper Peninsula course has been chosen, and it fits all the criteria and more for this award. Island Resort & Casino provides a wonderful golf experience to its guests and with the Hannahville Indian Community has made an incredible impact.”
Island Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, a federally recognized Potawatomi Indian Tribe.
Paul Albanese, a Michigan-based designer, created with Sweetgrass an open layout with a variety of classic green structures and strategic holes. An island green, a double green and par-5 finishing holes on each nine are memorable features for the golfer. In addition to hosting the Symetra Tour’s Island Resort Championship, Sweetgrass has been ranked by Golfweek, GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest in various best courses lists. Its name refers to an aromatic herb and sacred plant used in Indian peace and healing rituals that is planted throughout the course.
Island Resort & Casino is one of the Midwest’s largest golf, casino, and entertainment resort destinations. The resort features 326 guest rooms, more than 1,200 of the latest slots, a poker room, various gaming tables, a sportsbook, and a bingo hall, two championship golf courses, the luxurious Drift Spa, an RV Park, a headline entertainment showroom, a customizable, expansive convention space and many dining choices.
The growing popularity of golf and gaming at Island Resort has driven the demand for a $30 million expansion with more than 100 new hotel rooms bringing the total to 454, a high-end dining venue and convention space and a pool with water park features.