Don't Miss These Lesser Known Northern Michigan Golf Courses
Northern Michigan has been one of the top golfing destinations in the country and often referred to as America’s Summer Golf Capital. While the region is most recognized for its award-winning resort destinations, golfers visiting the region should be on the lookout for some of the stand-alone golf courses that often fall under the radar. If you are on a stay and play package or just hanging out on a lake for the weekend, here are five can’t miss golf courses that golfers will certainly appreciate.
Located in Onaway, Black Lake Golf Club is owned by the UAW and part of a 1,000-acre forest retreat, the United Auto Workers' (UAW) Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center. Nationally respected course designer, Rees Jones, handled all design work. Jones was long known as "The U.S. Open doctor" for his restoration of classic layouts selected by the USGA for U.S. Open sites. Jones brought that classic "feel" to Black Lake. Holes mesh seamlessly with the surrounding terrain and dense tree lines. Complementing the championship course is the Little Course, a nine-hole par 3 with holes ranging from 34 yards to 117 yards. Perfect for beginners, women, and young people.
With its crystal clear inland waters, sparkling Lake Michigan beaches, and miles of rolling sand dunes in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Leelanau was the perfect setting for Manitou Passage Golf Club. Designed by golfing legend Arnold Palmer, and recently undergoing renovation work, the course is a treat for golfers of all abilities. One of the most dramatic views in the region comes from the 8thhole, a par 5 featuring views of Lake Michigan, Manitou Passage, the sand dunes and lighthouse.
Long recognized as a must-play experience in northern Michigan, the historic Belvedere Golf Club has turned back the clock thanks to a find that has purists and golf aficionados alike waiting in anticipation for this spring. The course was designed in 1923 by famed William Watson who was famous for classic and major championship designs across America including Olympia Fields in Chicago, Interlachen in Minneapolis, The Olympic Club in San Francisco and others. Home to the Michigan Amateur for 40-years, the course has long been a favorite of many golf greats, including legend Walter Hagen, Gen Sarazen, and Tom Watson to name a few.
Located on one of the highest points in northern Michigan looking out over Little Traverse Bay, the Little Traverse Bay Golf Club is a spectacular setting with scenic golf holes moving up and down the hillside providing breathtaking water views on twelve of the eighteen holes. The course finishes going back up the hill with scenic views of the bay and the clubhouse restaurant and patio, which is the perfect setting for dinner and the sunset.
Once a family fruit farm and tree plantation, Pinecroft has been one of the areas undiscovered and affordable gems for 25 years. The undulating terrain, challenging green complexes, tree-lined fairways, combine with the magnificent views of Crystal Lake making for a very memorable golf experience. The most enjoyable holes on Pinecroft are Nos. 2, 8-12, and 18, all of which take full advantage of the elevation changes and views of the lake. Pinecroft is walkable, with relatively short distances from one green to the next tee. But be prepared for some huffing and puffing, as there are plenty of elevation changes.