9 of the Best Golf Destinations for Leaf Peeping in Pure Michigan

Soon, Michigan will transform itself into one of the best fall golf destinations in the country, blending immaculate courses with brilliant fall color. What better time to hit the links than with a view of scarlet, rust, gold and orange?

The Great Lakes state boasts fantastic fall views, and golf destinations, in every region. Read more on a few of our favorites and visit michigan.org/golf for ideas and packages.

1. The Hills Course at Boyne HighlandsHarbor Springs, MI

Boyne Highlands has plenty of options for fall golf, but nothing tops the view from the 13th tee on the Hills course, which is one of the best sights looking out over 40-miles of northern hardwoods. In addition to the immaculate golf scene, the resort offers deluxe hotel rooms, condos, and cottages perfect for a weekend getaway meaning you’ll have more time to play and explore the many acres surrounding the area.

Boyne Falls, Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

2. The Legend at Shanty Creek ResortBellaire, MI

Named one of the top four resort courses in the United States by Golf Magazine readers, this Arnold Palmer-designed beauty was built with all levels of golfers in mind. “If you’re a 12 in Detroit, you shouldn’t be a 20 here,” Arnie stressed. Located at Shanty Creek Resort, this course offers unbeatable views from the 3rd tee and 4th green overlooking beautiful Lake Bellaire. Golf Digest gives The Legend an enviable four-stars, and a trip in the fall allows for more flexible tee times.

3. Greywalls at Marquette Golf ClubMarquette, MI

If you’re aching to see fall colors, make your escape to Greywalls soon. This spectacular course, located high above Lake Superior, offers some of the best fall color and lake views from the 1st and 7th tee boxes and the 9th green. This dramatic course had a banner year in 2005 (the same year it opened!), as it collected several highly acclaimed national awards from publications such as Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, and most recently, Travel + Leisure Golf and Golfweek. With the course being located in Marquette, the fall colors will begin to change during the first week of October.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

4. Jones Masterpiece at TreetopsGaylord, MI

The Masterpiece course offers several spectacular views that stretch for 40-miles overlooking the Pigeon River Forest. The 6th hole, from which Treetops was named, and the 15th tee, offer great backdrops for tee-shots. With numerous courses in the area receiving national rankings and hotels and resorts offering spectacular packages, Gaylord is known as America’s Summer Golf Mecca – and it only gets better in the fall.

5. Shepherds Hollow Golf ClubClarkston, MI

Located just north of bustling Detroit, this Art Hills course, on its massive rolling land, looks like it could be set in northern Michigan. With 27 tour-caliber holes to challenge you and 350 rolling acres to inspire you, Shepherd’s Hollow golf course is truly a thing of beauty during the autumn season. Designed by Arthur Hills, this course has full practice bunkers, full service locker room with showers, and dining facility.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

6. Elk Ridge Golf Club – Atlanta, MI

Located just east of Atlanta, Elk Ridge offers stunning views throughout the tree-lined course. The best spots are on the 10th tee with its spectacular view in the distance and along the 16th hole as the fall foliage wraps around the short risk reward par 4. Elk Ridge was selected by Golf Digest as “one of America’s top 75 upscale public courses” and selected as the 2nd best public course opening in 1991

 7. Stone Hedge Courses at Gull LakeAugusta, MI

Located between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, both the north and south Stone Hedge courses at Gull Lake offers a variety of great fall color views. The new Stoatin Brae course also offers several spectacular views. These courses, situated near the coast of Lake Michigan, make for perfect autumn days as crisp fall temperatures keep you feeling refreshed while on the greens.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Frisch

 8. Thoroughbred Golf Club at Double JJ ResortRothbury, MI

This Art Hills designed course meanders in and out of wetland and bog areas with spectacular color spots, such as the 2nd tee, as well as some great sports on the back nine along holes 15 and 18. Here, four sets of forward tees (forward tee at 4,851 yards) allow you to choose the test that best suits your game. This quiet west Michigan region is perfect for a relaxing weekend as you take in the brilliant scenes around you.

9. Pinecroft Golf CourseBenzonia, MI

Pinecroft might not get the attention some of the bigger courses do in the region, but it is a fun golf course with views that rival any place in northern Michigan overlooking Crystal Lake. An 18-hole championship course situated just 30 miles southwest of Traverse City, Pinecroft is nestled in the gently rolling hills perfect for an interesting game of golf.

Check out michigan.org/golf for more ideas, locations and packages.

 Why do you love to play golf? Let us know in the comments!

End the Summer with a Splash at Shanty Creek Resorts

As the dog days of summer blend seamlessly into fall’s color season, the promises of Pure Michigan are abundant in Antrim County, home of Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire. And like all good getaways, a trip to Northern Michigan is balanced nicely when relaxation and recreation co-exist. Here you can accomplish that with boating, biking, and golf, which are plentiful and world-class. 

Read more on three ideal ways to end the summer when visiting Shanty Creek Resorts.

1. Make a splash in the lake

Famous for northern Michigan’s chain of lakes, Antrim County exemplifies Pure Michigan’s #LakeEffect with a seemingly endless set of inland lakes connected by rivers and waterways including Torch Lake, Elk Lake, Lake Bellaire, Intermediate Lake, and more. Here, a long day on the water means boating, fishing, water skiing, or simply splashing on the sandbar—so a little family fun in the sun is equally easy, always nearby, and camera-ready beautiful.

Explore the many waterways near Shanty Creek via boat or kayak

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek Resorts

2. Bicyclists, rejoice!

The roads of Antrim County provide long, rolling climbs and descents while the single tracks within Glacial Hills Pathways offer 32+ miles of exquisitely designed trails. Racers can test their mettle on August 21 as FunPromotions brings its race series to town with the Glacial Hills Challenge. And for those intimidated by the terrain of Antrim County, SCR has a fleet of e-bikes available for rent (electric motor-assisted pedaling!) that make riding a bike even easier.

Take a ride on the Glacial Hills Pathway for an exhilarating biking adventure

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek Resorts

3. Fore!

The four golf courses of Shanty Creek provide options for bucket list golfers and beginners alike. For aficionados, choose from the highly touted Tom Weiskopf masterpiece, Cedar River GC, or The Legend by Arnold Palmer; for beginners and families, play The Summit with its PGA 2.0 initiatives designed to Grow the Game–par three tees and big cups on every hole, plus FootGolf on the back nine. And for those looking for a little something extra, ditch the cart and play the Schuss Mtn course on a GolfBoard.

The golf scene is immaculate at Shanty Creek

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek Resorts

August in Bellaire is not without its share of traditions: the 29th annual Rubber Ducky Festival takes place on Saturday, Aug 20. Then one week later, Aug 26-28, a newer tradition takes flight as Balloons Over Bellaire showcases hot air balloons taking off throughout the weekend from atop Summit Mountain, one of Shanty’s two ski areas.

Check out Balloons over Bellaire for a colorful sight

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek Resorts

There’s still plenty to see and do before the kids head back to school. But if you can’t fit a quick trip in now, don’t forget our majestic fall colors will be in-bloom soon.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting Shanty Creek Resorts? Share with us by commenting below!

Experience a Michigan Family Golf Getaway this Summer

No state offers more world-class golf opportunities, in quantity or quality, when it comes to summer golf. Golf buddies in America can find great Michigan courses designed by the leading golf designers in the game. Women and couples can find fun courses and resorts for great escape trips, and there are many choices for families who want their children to experience that first family golf vacation.

Read more on family golfing and some interesting courses to try via guest blogger Kevin Frisch.

I remember when I was first introduced to the game as a young teenager and my dad coming in and saying: “We are going to take a family golf vacation.” I wasn’t sure exactly what that was, but my brother and I were very excited.

Michigan's more than 650 public courses allow golfers to start at a young age

Michigan’s more than 650 public courses, with varying skill levels, allow golfers to start at a young age

We packed up the car with suit cases and golf clubs, mom included, and we made our way north to Crystal Mountain Resort. At the time Crystal Mountain was a larger-than-life ski resort, but it also had the Betsie Valley golf course, which was a fun old school parkland design that was easy for me and my brother to play, and fun for my mom and dad. It was a week that would change my life. I fell in love with the game of golf and created some long-lasting family memories.

Crystal Mountain is one of many pristine courses in Michigan

Crystal Mountain is one of many pristine courses in Michigan

Today, Crystal Mountain Resort has become one of the top golf and four-season resort destinations for families, and is still a perfect place to take the family and kids on that family golf vacation. The Betsie Valley is still that same fun golf course for the family, and now they have added the Mountain Ridge course and a Youth Golf Academy. Kids 17-under play for free when accompanied by an adult, and Wednesdays and Sundays feature Family Golf Events.

Add in the Water’s Edge Water Park, Edge Adventure Course, Alpine Slide, the Crystal Spa and many other family activities, and it is clear Crystal Mountain is a perfect family golf destination.

Boyne Resorts is also a leading four-season destination with its Boyne Mountain Resort being another perfect family golf destination. The Alpine course, which overlooks Deer Lake, is a fun parkland design, a fun course for the kids who can play the forward tees easily, as well as a challenge for dad from the back tees. The Monument course also offers a challenging experience with great views, elevation changes, and its popular 18th hole with the island green. Make sure to check out the Family Funday Sundays on the Monument course. The Mountain also offers a variety of junior programs, camps, and instruction for kids to learn the game, while mom and dad can enjoy some alone time.

Boyne Mountain offers many unique challengers for both beginners and experts

Boyne Mountain offers many unique challengers for both beginners and experts

In addition to golf, the highlight at Boyne Mountain for a family golf getaway will be Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark where kids can escape. In addition, the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa offers a variety of other activities including chairlift rides, zip-lining, spa, and the beautiful Deer Lake with kayaking, a sandy beach, and lawn games.

There are a few golf resorts around Michigan that might not offer as many non-golf activities, but offer some fun golf for the family and kids. Gull Lake View near Battle Creek with its playable East and West courses are very family friendly. Lakewood Shores Resort features its Serradella course and its Wee Links course right behind the condos is fun for all ages, and in Cadillac, Evergreen Golf Resort offers 27 fun and playable holes for the family.

A family golf vacation to one of Michigan’s golf resort areas can change the life of a youngster while creating lifelong memories.

Kevin Frisch

Where is your favorite place to hit the links in Pure Michigan?

Kevin Frisch is the owner and CEO of Fusion Media Strategies, a Michigan based marketing and public relations company specializing in the golf industry serving golf clients nationwide.