By Len Ziehm

There are golf resorts – and then there’s A-Ga-Ming. It has four courses in Northern Michigan, but their 72 holes are spread out. Each has its own history, but over the last 22 years they’ve grown together.

Mike Brown and Larry Lavely were 27-year old Central Michigan University alums when this project started. They moved to the northern part of Michigan when they bought a course called A-Ga-Ming in 1996.

A-Ga-Ming had a catchy name. For American Indians it means “on the shore.’’ Roy Wetmore designed the original nine holes in the 1970s and Chick Harbert arrived to build the second nine in 1986.

Ten years later the Brown-Lavely team arrived, and over the years Jerry Matthews – the long respected, prolific Michigan golf course architect – made his impact, too.

Matthews designed Sundance, a second 18-holer at A-Ga-Ming, in 2005 and the original course there was renamed The Torch.  Matthews also designed the courses at Charlevoix Country Club and Antrim Dells.  They’re the other courses in spread out resort.

The 36-hole A-Ga-Ming is in Kewadin.  Antrim Dells is 12 miles away, in Ellsworth, and Charlevoix Country Club is 28 miles from A-Ga-Ming.  For vacationers, though, it’s a resort on the shore of Torch Lake and Lake Michigan that makes for a destination for golf trips as well as membership and daily-fee play. There is also the possibility of other social attractions.

A-Ga-Ming has the bulk of the lodging with three on-site accommodation options – Maplewood Ridge, Cedar Hollow and Vista Townhomes.

The Brown-Lavely team purchased Antrim Dells in 2010 and Charlevoix Country Club in 2017.

“The three places are pretty easy to get to,’’ said Brown, “and to do a golf package you need three-four courses. Everybody stays at A-Ga-Ming. It’s worked out really well. ”

Charlevoix was a private club at one point but, after suffering damage in a fire, it was on the brink of closing when Brown and Lavely picked it up. Now, in addition to a particularly well-conditioned golf course with four of the toughest finishing holes in Michigan, it has such amenities as a fitness center, swimming pool and pickleball courts. More