Perfect Balance of Golf and Family at Crystal Mountain Resort


It’s hard to imagine any Michigan resort that does a better job of combining competitive championship golf with family friendliness and fun than Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville.

Host site for 12 years now of the Michigan PGA Women’s Open, Crystal Mountain was abuzz on Monday with a course and tournament record-smashing round of 10-under, 62, shot by Midland amateur Kimberly Dinh, a senior-golfer-to-be at the University of Wisconsin. The 54-hole three-day event culminates Wednesday for the 66-player field that’s almost split in half of professional and amateurs gunning for a $36,000 purse. Players have come from 19 states and five countries, including China and the United Kingdom, for one of the top state opens in the country (for economical comparison, the Wisconsin Open paid its winner $900; in Michigan first prize will be well north of $6,000.)

While all that competitive golf enthusiasm is taking place on the Mountain Ridge course, families by the hundreds simultaneously explore so many things offered by the MacInnes family, owners of Crystal Mountain. The resort that began as a local ski hill in the 1950s continues to expand and make new offerings for vacationers, part of why in March, Pure Michigan named Jim and Chris MacInnes “Hoteliers of the Year.” The property has also received acclaim as one of the most family friendly locations in the Midwest.

Crystal Mountain, near the Michigan Mitten’s left pinkie finger, did not slow down early in the economic recession, taking advantage of lower construction costs and interest rates to build more accommodations and its signature Crystal Spa. That vision and all the amenities already at the resort make it one of the state’s most successful vacation properties.

In addition to many swimming pool options, bonfires at night, golf, tennis, chairlift rides for sunset viewing, paintball course, outdoor laser tag, Frisbee golf, free on-premise fly-casting clinics, and the hugely-popular Alpine Slide (riding down the mountain in a sled you control through a series of twists and turns of a fiberglass tubing race course) among many other recreation options, a few new summer attractions this year include:

  • A secure “ropes course” called the Edge Adventure Course. It features four elements that include crossing a rickety bridge, jumping swing to swing and balancing on the Burma Bridge before flying over the outdoor pool on a 130-foot zip line.
  • Fat Tire Bike Sand Tour. The fleet of fat tire bikes don’t get put away when the snow melts, they go to the beach, at nearby Elberta. Hikes at Michigan’s world-renowned Sleeping Bear Dunes are always a popular attraction, too.
  • Barrier-free Trail & Driving Tours in Michigan Legacy Art Park. Courtesy of a recent Arts Access for All campaign, those with limited mobility can now enjoy more than 40 outdoor sculptures in Michigan Legacy Art Park, an on-site staple at Crystal Mountain for many years. A six-passenger all-terrain golf cart for weekly tours as well as renovations to the Art Park’s amphitheater and seating area are among $177,000 of capital improvements set to be completed this summer.

Michigan enjoys the luxury of attracting both in-state and out-of-state visitors to many wonderful resorts that show off our great natural resources and allow all to unwind form the normal pressures of everyday life. Crystal Mountain is one of the best.

Tom Lang is a freelance writer who has written for the Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal, and GolfWeek. He is also a regular blogger for