Construction of New Course on Michigan's Upper Peninsula Nears Completion

The Island Resort & Casino has announced that the construction phase of Sweetgrass Golf Club is nearing completion. The 18-hole layout will be the newest amenity at the Vegas-style gaming destination on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Grow-in has commenced on virtually all the holes, while a couple holes are already grown-in. Sweetgrass - an aromatic herb and a sacred plant used in Indian peace and healing rituals is found along the course - is projected to open for play in July 2008.

Golf course architect Paul Albanese has worked previously on such projects as Timberstone in Iron Mountain, Mich., Mill Creek in Rochester, N.Y., Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, N.Y., Moose Ridge in South Lyon, Mich., Quail Ridge in Ada, Mich., and Traditions Golf Club in Edmond, Okla.

Albanese is frequently on-site with the construction crews led by industry veteran Dan Grassi, fine-tuning a course that unfolds across meadows and forested areas. The course will play from 7,300 to 5,000 yards, featuring multiple teeing areas to accommodate every player's skill.

Additionally, the design includes:

* an islandgreen on the par-3 15th
* a Biarritz green on the par-3 12th
* holes named for and paying homage to Indian legend
* fescue framing the wide fairways
* sand bunkers and water hazards that defend the course
* historic bridges "rescued" from around the region to lend the course a unique feel
* prevailing winds which add additional drama to the memorable design and round of golf
* two waterfalls (between the 9th and 18th holes)
* crafted rockwork and cedar posts throughout

"We were given a beautiful piece of land by the Hannahville Indian Community on which to create Sweetgrass Golf Club," said Albanese. "We expect Sweetgrass to instantly become the best course in the Upper Peninsula and one of the best new courses in North America upon opening."

The Hannahville Indian Community is a band of the Potawatomi Nation. Albanese drew inspiration from the tribe's heritage and incorporated it into the design of Sweetgrass. From bunkers named after tribal elders to areas reminiscent of long-forgotten fortress ruins, Sweetgrass offers legend and inspiration on every hole.

Known as the Keepers of the Fire, the Hannahville Band of the Potawatomi Nation also will honor legend by featuring a continuous flame next to the 10th tee box.

The island green - which jibed with the resortís name and fit within the parameters of the land - also meshes with Potawatomi legend, which holds the turtle in high esteem. The putting surface is surrounded by a bed of rock outcroppings.

"Paul did an excellent job of keeping the proud tradition and legend of the Potawatomi Tribe in mind while crafting this course," says Kenneth Meshigaud, Chairman of the Hannahville Indian Community Tribal Council. "This design is a tribute to the people of this community and those who have come before us."

In the course design, Albanese - a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and director of Golf Course Architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland - also incorporated five steel bridges retired by nearby county departments of transportation. Originally in service in 1915, the longest and most visible bridge spans 105 feet and takes golfers to the island green.

The Upper Peninsula - or U.P. as the area is known - is renowned for its excellent summer weather and large stretches of unspoiled beauty.

Island Resort & Casino is a rising star in the Midwest thanks to constantly re-inventing itself. Most recently the resort opened its second hotel tower - the Palm Tower - which offers many more rooms in several room styles including luxury suites.

For more information about Sweetgrass Golf Club and the Island Resort & Casino, 800/682-6040 or visit