"I love that country up there. We'd go for two weeks, then three, and then a month. I went up every summer through college."
Tom Watson – Hall of Fame Golfer, who grew up vacationing with his family at nearby Walloon Lake.
Belvedere’s history began in 1925, when members of the Charlevoix Summer Resort Association decided their existing social club needed a golf club. The membership hired renowned Scottish architect William Watson to design a golf course “worthy of a national reputation” & Watson delivered.
At the time, Watson’s resume included such great designs as The Minikahda Club & Interlachen in Minneapolis, Harding Park & both Olympic Club layouts in San Francisco, Salt Lake Country Club, Olympia Fields, San Diego Country Club, Annandale Golf Club & about 115 others . At Belvedere, he used five teams of horses and 150 men to build 18 holes through a pair of valleys dissected by Marion Center Rd. just south of Charlevoix.
Watson’s layout, stretching to 6,943 yards, isn’t long by modern standards. The greatest examination comes around the greens, which are full of subtle, undulations, ridges and slopes that fall off to chipping areas.
Opened in 1927, the course soon became a respected tournament venue, most notably as a regular host of the Michigan Amateur—40 times in all. Beginning in 1963, Belvedere hosted the Amateur for 26 consecutive years.
In 2003, the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) brought the Amateur back to Belvedere, along with dozens of past champions and finalists. Almost to a man, they recalled the event as their favorite week of the year, thanks to the classic golf course and the charms of "Charlevoix the Beautiful," with its petunia-lined streets and downtown drawbridge. It returned again in 2014 for the 40th time at Belvedere & the 41st Michigan Amateur at Belvedere will return in 2025.
Along with the many Michigan Amateur Championships, Belvedere has hosted several professional events. Albeit a few years ago, legends such as Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Leo Diegel, Alex Smith, Macdonald Smith, Jock Hutchison, Tommy Armour, Denny Shute, Jim Barnes, Alex Ross, Emmet French, Horton Smith & dozens others all competed on Belvedere for substantial purses - relative to the time period. In more modern times, Sam Snead, Julius Boros, Ken Venturi & Loren Roberts have made many visits to the club and enjoyed countless rounds. Tom Watson spent his childhood through his college years summering in Northern Michigan and Belvedere became his home summer club. To this day, Watson pronounces Belvedere as one of his three favorite courses in the country - behind Augusta National & Pebble Beach. Watson is an honorary member of Belvedere Golf Club & still makes occasional visits to the club.