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Sage Run


Sage Run Golf Course Construction Q&A with Matt Sly

The Superintendent shares more about the new golf course

By Brian Weis

In early 2015, the Hannahville Indian Community announced the construction of their second championship golf course, Sage Run, part of The Island Resort & Casino. Construction is in full swing, and I recently toured the property with Superintendent, Matt Sly. Below is a Q&A about the new property and construction.

How was the name selected for the golf course?
The Hannahville Indian Community selected sage because they wanted to highlight another of their four traditional tribal medicines - along with cedar, tobacco and sweet grass. The word 'run' in the name references the 10 holes that traverse significantly downhill on the golf course.

Who is designing the golf course?
Golf course architecture Paul Albanese is designing the golf course. He built our first golf course - Sweetgrass currently ranked #15 on Golf Magazines Best Golf Courses You Can Play in Michigan, 2016-2017.

How will Sage Run compare to its sister golf course, Sweetgrass?
Golfers who play both golf courses will experience two very different designs built due to the terrain. Our goal was to provided two unique but amazing golf experiences. There are four major ways the two golf courses will differ.

1) Elevation Changes:
Sweetgrass gently rolls through the prairie where Sage Run will feature dramatic elevation changes. Sage Run is built on and along a large glacial drumlin. There will be some "wow" moments when the golfer steps on many of the tees boxes and looks back from the green towards the tee.

2) Turf:
Sweetgrass utilizes low cut Bluegrass, fairways and greens were Sage Run will be built with bluegrass fairways and tees.

3) Aesthetics:
Sweetgrass is wall to wall green like most Upper Peninsula golf courses. Conversely, Sage Run will transition with brown tones where the grasses flow into the fescue and forest. Paul Albanese summed it up best when he shared, "Sage Run will have that kind of rough and tumble appearance, with lots of earth tones, browns and tans - it's what the landscape calls for."

4) Style:
Sweetgrass is a prairie-style course with rolling, fescue-lined fairways, Sage Run is 75-percent tree lined with holes running up, down and along the drumlin.

Will Sage Run incorporate any unique features?
We are not planning on having traditional tee markers instead our tee boxes will have distances to the pin. This will allow a golfer to play the proper distance for each hole. We want the golfer to feel comfortable and not be defined by a tee color. It will be very unique, plus the tee boxes will flow with the contours of the land right into the fairways.

Do you have approximate score card information?
The course from the tips will play 7300 yards.

Any notable holes, golfers can start getting excited about?
Hole 8 & 16 are par 4's that play to significantly elevated green. Big hitters have some birdie opportunities on these holes but it will come with some rish. For example, #8 has a split fairway. The risky route will allow the golfer to fly to the green.

Hole #14 is a dramatic par three that plays long, up to 22 yards, over a ravine. Golfers will need a well struck iron or hybrid to reach the green.

Both our finishing holes are really strong par 5's. The back nine finishes with an epic par 5 that drops 3-4 stories off the tee. The fairway dog leg left lets to an elevated green just below the club house.

Hole #9 plays atop the drumlin and gives you one last look at the glacially formed land feature.

As of today, 10/31/2017, how far along is the construction of the golf course?
Construction is 95% complete and grass is growing in nicely.

We anticipate by this fall to have 9 holes fully planted. Of course, that is weather dependent. We have been lucky so far with the weather.

When will the golf course open?
Tentatively middle of June 2018.

More Information
Sage Run
W16798 County Road 400
Bark River, MI 49807 (coming soon)

Revised: 08/21/2016 - Article Viewed 23,948 Times - View Golf Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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