Michigan Freeways and Fairways: Add a Golf Course to Your Next Road Trip

Michigan has several dozen golf courses found right along our freeways that are sometimes overlooked due to plans at another location. Guest writer Tom Lang shares his top golf courses that are well worth making a stop to play along the route of your next Pure Michigan road trip.

A golf course at sunset at Calderone Golf Club
Calderone Golf Club | Photo Courtesy of Tom Lang

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One of my favorite courses to stop for a game of golf is Calderone Golf Club near Grass Lake along I-94 between Ann Arbor and Jackson. At least five holes on the front nine’s links design have sections visible to highway passers-by, yet Calderone does not reflect what you’d expect of a golf course built on mid-Michigan farmland. There are no giant elevation drop-offs like our land up north, but there’s more than enough severely-rolling terrain, slippery side-hill holes and multi-tiered greens to entertain any golfer with a unique half day on the course – one that lacks a single pancake flat hole.

The back nine runs over the hills and vales on property well hidden from the freeway – with many tree-lined holes. The extra quiet found on the back nine adds a lot of peace and tranquility to any round.

General Manager Brian Roberts began as the course superintendent and has led the team to make constant improvements to the course for several years – upgrades which include my favorite 3-hole stretch.

No. 14 is a dogleg right par 4 that’s protected by a couple “crater-shaped,” catcher’s mitt grass bunkers – along the way to a green guarded by a sand trap in front.

No. 15 is a par 3 that goes slightly downhill to an attractive green complex of traps and greenside run offs.

No. 16, my vote for signature hole, is a shorter par 4 that heads straight, then turns sharply to the right and downhill to a green built against the hill that backs up the 5th green. Two huge, mature trees block the right elbow, yet still keenly tempt many long hitters to try going over them to the green found 281 yards from the white tee box.

Not only is Calderone an amazing stop for a game of golf along the way, with its great rates your wallet will still be full at your end destination.

Find more information at calderonegolfclub.com.  

Other wonderful Michigan golf courses found along major freeways include: 

A hole near a pond at Eldorado Golf Course
Eldorado Golf Course | Photo Courtesy of Tom Lang

Pierce LakeChelsea  

A municipal course in the picturesque town of Chelsea, also found west of Ann Arbor on I-94, at the M52 exit.

Eldorado Golf CourseCadillac

In Cadillac’s north country, found on US-131 at the M115 exit.

Lake Michigan Hills Golf CourseBenton Harbor 

Along I-196, north of Benton Harbor which often served as a qualifying site for the historic Western Amateur.

The MajesticHartland

A 27-hole course along US-23 in metro Detroit.

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.