Destination Ann Arbor: Big House, Big Golf
Guest writer Tom Lang, publisher and managing editor of MI Golf Journal, takes a tour through the Ann Arbor area’s fantastic golfing opportunities.
The ‘Big House’ at the University of Michigan defines Ann Arbor as much as any iconic landmark.
Yet the city, and the overall Washtenaw County, is well known for big golf events too – from the pro tours to state amateur championships. I know for certain that many golfers like playing courses that host top golf tournaments around the state and from around the country – and the Ann Arbor area has more than its share of them. Additionally, three of the area courses made the Detroit Free Press top 10 metro Detroit courses in its 2022 review.
The University of Michigan Golf Course, located right across the street from Michigan Stadium, is one of the few national designs of Dr. Alister MacKenzie, the artist of Augusta National Golf Club and home of The Masters.
Like the U-M golf course, Eagle Crest Resort in Ypsilanti hosts events from NCAA events to national junior tournaments and is home base to the Eastern Michigan University college teams. Eagle Crest is settled on the beautiful shores of massive Ford Lake, and a tree removal program opened up even more stunning elevated views of the water.
The Washtenaw Golf Club is the 1890s gem people rave about statewide for a feeling of stepping back in time to play a classic. It’s been renovating a few holes each year to return to 1920s squared-off corner greens and removal of invasive trees, while expanding greens and adding forward tees.
Lake Forest Golf Club has been the site for many Golf Association of Michigan tournaments as well, including the 2019 and 2021 U.S. Girls Amateur qualifier, supporting a long-rooted tradition of hosting top level women's golf. World Golf Hall of Famer Lorena Ochoa won her first professional tournament at Lake Forest when she started her professional career on the now Epson Tour.
The city of Ann Arbor runs and maintains two courses – Leslie Park and Huron Hills. The latter, a historic Tom Bendelow design, opened over 100 years ago in 1922 on very scenic property along the Huron River, and is loaded with charm and strategy without being overly long. Leslie Park opened in the 1960s and has hosted events from qualifiers for U.S. Girls Junior Amateur to the LPGA Tour. In 2010, Golf Digest voted Leslie Park Golf Course the “Best Municipal Golf Course in the State of Michigan,” placing Leslie Park on a short list of courses from all 50 States, including Bethpage Black, Torrey Pines and The Vineyards.
To learn more about any of the nearly two dozen golf amenities in the Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County region, visit annarbor.org/things-to-do/recreation-outdoors/golf.
Ann Arbor is often named the #1 best place to live in Michigan for many reasons, with a walkable downtown, world-class museums, Michigan craft beers, an annual film festival, the Ann Arbor Art Fair and numerous sports entertainment options at the University of Michigan. Discover more to do in Ann Arbor by visiting annarbor.org
About the Author: Tom Lang is a 30-year veteran sports contributor to the Detroit Free Press, during which he has covered the golf scene and more in Michigan. Since 2018, Lang has produced the monthly MI Golf Journal, Michigan's No. 1 voted golf media outlet and is free online at migolfjournal.com.