A Guide to Beautiful Michigan Golf Courses Across the State
Over the past three decades, Michigan has become one of the leading golf destinations in the country and the premier place for golf during the summer months.
Golf courses in Michigan feature a wide range of designs, styles and experiences for every type of golfer. Nowhere else in the country can you find so many top public golf courses and world class golf resorts within such close proximity. No matter where your travels take you across the Great Lakes State, you will be close to great golf courses in Michigan.
1. Stoatin Brae at Gull Lake View Resort - Augusta
After building five golf courses between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, the Scott family decided to venture outside and have their first course designed by someone else. They called upon Renaissance Golf Design, owned by Tom Doak, who created a completely new style of golf course with Stoatin Brae. The open links style golf course, with rescue fairways, plays firm, fast, and FUN with great views of the Kalamazoo River Valley.
Harbor Shores Golf Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is a spectacular design that is three unique styles in one, links, parkland, and woodlands, which meanders around the Paw Paw River. The highlight of the course is standing up on the 7th green looking out over the dunes to Lake Michigan. The course, which has been part of a community reclamation project in Benton Harbor, hosted its 4th Senior PGA Championship in 2018.
Grand Rapids has become known as “Beer City USA”, but it also has its share of top golf courses to pair with those great micro-breweries. Thousand Oaks, designed by Rees Jones, features a big-time golf experience that flows up and down hills and ridges providing a similar experience to northern Michigan golf.
One of the top “family fun” golf experiences in Michigan is located just north of Muskegon in Montague. Set along the shores and bluffs of Lake Michigan, Old Channel Trail has been a long-time institution for golf. The course features 27-holes and three generations of golf courses. The Woods-nine was designed back in the 1920’s and features a link style fell with Scottish bunkering. The Meadows features an open style parkland design, and the Valley course features more of a wooded parkland course.
Shepherd's Hollow, a 27-hole Arthur Hills design located on one of the highest points 40 miles north of Detroit, has grown to become one of Detroit’s top public golf facilities. The course flows through thick spruce and pine trees, oaks, maples, cedars and white pines with four ponds coming into play.
Michigan’s only Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, located in Washington Township, has played host to the Michigan Open two times. The 18-hole classic parkland features 93 bunkers and challenging green complexes with open approaches allowing golfers to play the ground game and bump and run the ball up on the greens making it fun.
A variety of golf in one location is rare, but Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center in Plymouth has done it. Fox Hills is a 63-hole public golf complex that caters to every golfing demographic and players of varying skill levels. The Classic Fox, Golden Fox, and Strategic Fox courses, each with a separate clubhouse and banquet facilities have made Fox Hills a genuine gathering place. Strategic Fox was developed primarily as a way to grow the game of golf and make it fun for beginners.
1. Tom Fazio Premier, Treetops Resort - Gaylord
Treetops Resort is an award-winning complex long known for exciting and memorable golf. It is perched high above the Pigeon River Valley and offers majestic views of Northern Michigan as you play 81 holes of golf. The Tom Fazio Premier, Michigan’s only Fazio designed course, features wide and friendly fairways with massive fun greens to putt.
Garland Resort in Lewiston is an oasis of luxury, style and beauty carved out of 5,000 acres of parkland forest and featuring the largest log lodge east of the Mississippi. The Fountains course is fun and challenging layout featuring a unique combination of 6 par 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s that weave through acres of the state’s most scenic forests, lakes and streams.
Black Lake Golf Club, located in Onaway, Mich., is part of a 1,000-acre forest retreat, the United Auto Workers' Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center. It's owned and operated by the UAW, but this beauty is fully open to the public. Rees Jones, who handled the design, utilized all of the property's features -- from cranberry bogs to a small sand quarry -- to produce what is one of his most charming designs yet.
4. The Loop at Forest Dunes - Roscommon
Playing the same course forwards and backward on a golf package – really? The Loop, designed by Tom Doak of Renaissance Golf Design, is the first golf course of its kind in the World, utilizing 18-greens and fairway complexes to create a revolutionary reversible design. Golfers will play one-direction one day and then reverse it going in the other direction the next day playing a completely different golf course. The course was recognized as the Best New Public Course by Golf Digest, and the Best New U.S. Course You Can Play by GOLF Magazine.
Golfers making a trip to Gaylord or Treetops Resort should make sure and experience Threetops, the No. 1 Par 3 Course in America. A fun 9-hole golf adventure featuring one-shotters over ridges, valleys, and water, with the highlight being the 3rd hole with a 40-mile view and 180-foot drop to the green.
1. The Heather Course at Boyne Highlands - Harbor Springs
The Heather Course, designed by Hall of Fame course designer Robert Trent Jones Sr., was the first major public course in northern Michigan back in 1966. The course is a classic parkland design flowing in and around wetland areas with large greens, massive bunker complexes, and one of the most spectacular finishing holes in golf.
Golf aficionados and big game hunters always want to experience Arcadia Bluffs. The links style layout set along the bluffs of Lake Michigan features spectacular and challenging holes with an overseas Irish feel with tall fescue grasses, sod faced bunkers, and firm fast fairways. All 18-holes overlook Lake Michigan. Be on the look-out for the new South Course at Arcadia Bluffs coming online in 2018.
3. The Legend Course at Shanty Creek Resort - Bellaire
Designed by “The King” Arnold Palmer first left his course design mark in Michigan at Shanty Creek Resort. The fun and challenging course is routed up and down hills, ridges, and provides spectacular views of Lake Bellaire and northern Michigan.
Jerry Matthews made his mark as the God-Father of golf course design in Michigan with over 400 designs to his name. One of his best is the Sundance Course at A-Ga-Ming, which sets overlooking beautiful Torch Lake. The course features wide fairways and large greens that flow through the open valleys and hardwoods.
Crystal Mountain Resort is one of the premier family resort destinations and golf takes a center stage with its 36-holes. Mountain Ridge is its premier course, but thanks to recent renovations, the Betsie Valley has become a fun and family friendly golf experience with fun holes that meander along the mountain through the hardwoods and around ponds, with forward tees for all levels of players.
The Upper Peninsula is quickly becoming a golf destination and leading that charge has been the Island Resort & Casino with its popular Sweetgrass course designed by Paul Albanese. Sweetgrass features an open parkland design with a variety of great holes with large green complexes including a unique Redan style green and an Island green for some fun challenge. In 2018, a new course, Sage Run by Paul Albanese, will open and create a popular 36-hole experience.
2. Greywalls Course at Marquette Golf Club - Marquette
One of the most popular and fun courses designed in recent years, by Mike DeVries (Kingsley Club). Greywalls features spectacular views of Lake Superior and big classic designed holes that tumble up and down ridges and along rock walls providing a visual thrill ride unique to the region.
3. Timberstone - Iron Mountain
Designed by Jerry Matthews, Timberstone is cut through the beautiful forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near Iron Mountain. Holes flow naturally among nature through the hardwoods and around beautiful wetland areas with one of the best finishes found anywhere with holes 17 and 18 playing downhill to great green sites.
4. Wild Bluff - Brimley
Wild Bluff over looks Lake Superior’s Waishkey Bay and compliments the Bay Mills Resorts and Casinos just outside of Sault Ste. Marie. The holes meander in and around wetland and rock outcroppings with strategic bunkering and fun green complexes. The 18th tee is one of the prettiest spots in the Upper Peninsula.
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