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Island Resort & Casino Doubles Down on Golfweek's Best in State

Island Resort & Casino Doubles Down on Golfweek's Best in State

Resort's bold, new Sage Run joins Michigan's top courses, including Sweetgrass in recognition from magazine's expert panelists

By Brian Weis

The newest golf course in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Sage Run at Island Resort & Casino, has been named to Golfweek's list of "Best in State" courses. Sage Run, ranked 20th on the list, is the resort's second course and Paul Albanese's follow-up to his popular Sweetgrass design, the resort's first course.

Golfweek's course ratings panel continually evaluates courses and rates them based on 10 criteria, then files a single, overall rating on each course. The overall ratings for each course are then averaged together and then ranked against other courses in its state, to produce the final rankings. All the list's courses allow public access in some fashion.

"Michigan is known for having some of America's best public golf courses and our state rankings by Golfweek showcase that," says Tony Mancilla, Island Resort's General Manager. "To make that list and be alongside these other great layouts is a testament to the dramatic, bold and contrasting designs that Albanese created, and the standards to which our superintendents maintain the courses to bring an amazing golf experience."

Sage Run is built around a natural scenic ridge, where golfers must find the fairways -- and their correct side avoiding the fescue rough -- to set up ideal angles and scoring opportunities into the greens. The course showcases exceptional variety, including holes like the significantly uphill par-3 5th or the short par-4 16th that dares you to take on an uphill shot to a blind landing area. Albanese said the renowned Royal County Down in Northern Ireland served as inspiration for Sage Run's bunkering and overall "rough and rugged" aesthetic. The course also hosts the Island Resort Collegiate Championship, a two-day, 54-hole stroke-play invitational featuring some of the top college teams and players in the country.

"It's a great honor to have Sage Run recognized among the best courses in Michigan, especially considering the quality and depth of top architects and designs Michigan offers," Albanese says. "It was my goal with Sage Run to create a completely different golfing experience for resort guests. The rugged land, with the ridge running through it, was completely different from Sweetgrass, allowing us to be bold and creative with some fun and exciting shot options."

Prior to Sage Run, Sweetgrass was the Island Resort & Casino's first course, opening in 2007 to rave reviews. Currently ranked No. 10 among Golfweek's Best in State Courses in Michigan and recognized by GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest Best in State rankings, Sweetgrass is a prairie links-style course that meanders to a wide-open vista where many greens and flags can be seen in the distance. Golfers also experience some of the game's most fun greens to putt (Redan, Biarritz, Island, and Double-green). Located adjacent to the resort, rooms high up in the hotel tower have panoramic views of the spectacular finishing holes, the par-5 9th and 18th holes that are divided by a scenic and strategic pond and waterfall.

New renovations, suites and packages catering to golfers

Golfers booking a golf vacation in 2022 will love the new hotel addition and renovations. An expanded tower, connected to the south end of the resort's Palm Tower, features 138 guest rooms and suites, with some special attention for golfers who visit -- fresh, expansive golf suites. The spacious 675-square-foot suites are complete with a king, double queen, and common area, all with breathtaking views of the Sweetgrass -- perfect for foursomes seeking added space and a fun environment.

Now is the time for golfers to book 2022 golf packages. Led by Sweetgrass and Sage Run, the resort's fully customized packages offer 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-night lodging options with up to four golf rounds that may include two neighboring courses. Package prices range from $95-$758, depending on time of year and single/double occupancy.

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Revised: 06/08/2022 - Article Viewed 4,724 Times - View 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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