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Follow True North to The Compass Room

Kristi Kates - September 20th, 2010
Follow True North to The Compass Room
By Kristi Kates
“I think the Compass Room is very much an integral part of the experience here at True North,” says John Hover of True North Resort and Golf Club. “Many golfers like to relax after their game and talk about their round, and often food is a part of that.”
The Compass Room, True North’s casual fine dining experience, was opened based on a simple requirement for all golf courses to have food and beverage service, “because the normal golf outing takes five to six hours from arrival to departure,” Hover says.
But the restaurant itself, in the short time it’s been open, has had more expansive goals, and has garnered almost as many rave reviews as the golf course, which was recently honored by Golf Digest.
“Golf Digest is the leading national trade magazine (for golf), and has an army of golf course raters that travel the country rating their golf experience,” Hover explains. “Michigan has over 1,000 courses, and we were awarded the 8th best overall. Further, we were rated the 4th best of courses that allow resort play. Golf Digest also has a Top 100 Courses you can play that considers the entire country, and we hope to make that ranking in 2011.”
The golf course’s popularity has benefitted the restaurant - and vice versa, according to Hover.
“The golf course has attracted golfers here to our facility, and they have come back for dinner unrelated to golfing,” Hover continues, “and often spouses meet the golfers for dinner after their round. The restaurant has also attracted customers on its own, and those people have then come back to golf.”

Befitting its up north locale, the golf course and the restaurant were given monikers in theme with the area, and with the beautiful location of both facilities.
“True North just seemed to fit, given its location in the northern tip of Michigan,” Hover says. “it’s a true Northern Michigan experience. Regarding the name Compass Room, we already had the compass with the arrow pointing north, and, of course, ‘true north’ is a point on the compass.”
Also pleasant to look at is the Compass Room itself, with its post-and-beam construction and natural cedar ceiling. A two-story-high window wall overlooks the woods and golf course, and the deck and patio offer umbrella-table seating outside, plus the dining room and bar areas indoors.
“Our dinner service offers a very relaxing environment,” Hover says.
Kirsten Ploe serves as the Compass Room’s chef, with Jim Ploe as the front of house manager. And the entire restaurant is open to the public - including non-golfers - for lunch and dinner, with no restrictions, but plenty of incentives.
“We offer golf and dine specials for 9 holes or 18 holes,” Hover says. “The price varies depending on the time of year, but basically you add $10 to the current golf rack rate, and that $10 covers an entrée and dinner salad.”

As far as selecting what you’ll have for that entrée and salad - or any of the Compass Room’s other lunch or dinner offerings - their two menus have plenty to choose from.
“Our lunch menu, comprised of sandwiches and salads, is available throughout the day and evening.” Hover explains. “the dinner menu is available Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Our Crispy Skinned Whitefish has been a staple on the menu because of how different it is prepared compared to the average northern Michigan whitefish plate, and it costs only 20 dollars; the whitefish is pan-seared skin-on, and served with fresh stewed tomatoes, roasted fennel, and a made-to-order butter sauce. The dish is simply prepared with high quality, fresh product and with attention to detail.”
Quality ingredients and attention to detail are the two most important elements of the Compass Room’s food; Hover notes that the chef prepares everything on-site, from the seasonings to the sauces.
“Nothing is purchased prepared, pre-cleaned, or pre-cooked,” he says.
Filet Mignon, Seared Pork Tenderloin, Sea Scallops, and Atlantic Salmon are a few of the other great options on the menu, with prices ranging from 18 to 25 dollars. Hover says that both the restaurant and the golf course will be open as long as the season holds.
“Deciding when we will close the golf course and restaurant is 100 percent weather related,” Hover says. “we will stop dinner service in mid-October, but we’ll continue serving lunch until the golf course is closed. Typically, the golf course closes in early November, and reopens in spring.”

True North Resort and Golf Club and The Compass Room are located at 2500 True North Drive in Harbor Springs, MI, telephone 231-526-3300. They may also be found online at

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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