best golf courses in michigan

Exploring the Fairways: The Best Golf Courses in Michigan

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Michigan, known as the “Great Lakes State,” is home to over 650 public and private golf courses. With its diverse landscape of forests, lakes, and rolling hills, the state offers a picturesque setting for golf enthusiasts. Recognized as a top Michigan golf destination by Golf Digest, Michigan boasts some of the best courses in the country. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there is a course in Michigan for every level of golfer.

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Conclusiones clave:

  • Discover the stunning natural beauty of Michigan while playing golf at courses like Arcadia Bluffs and Forest Dunes.
  • Experience challenging and well-designed courses like Bay Harbor and Tullymore, perfect for both experienced and novice golfers.
  • Don’t miss out on other notable courses, such as The Bear and The Jewel, for a truly unforgettable golfing experience in Michigan.

What Makes A Golf Course Great?

What sets the best golf courses in Michigan apart from the rest? Is it the stunning scenery, the expertly crafted course design, or the challenge that it presents to golfers? In this section, we will take a closer look at the key elements that make a golf course truly great. From the picturesque landscapes to the strategic layout and level of difficulty, we will explore what makes a golf course stand out and why it’s worth adding to your must-play list.

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1. Scenery And Aesthetics

The scenery and aesthetics of a golf course play a crucial role in enhancing the overall golfing experience. When considering golf courses in Michigan, keep the following factors in mind:

  • 1. Natural Beauty: Look for courses with stunning landscapes, such as Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club, which offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
  • 2. Course Maintenance: Well-maintained fairways, manicured greens, and beautiful landscaping, like at Forest Dunes Golf Club, contribute to a visually appealing course.
  • 3. Architectural Design: Courses like Bay Harbor Golf Club, known for its impressive and unique architecture, provide a visually captivating experience.
  • 4. Surrounding Features: Consider courses like Tullymore Golf Resort, which are situated amidst picturesque forests, lakes, or rolling hills.
  • 5. Attention to Detail: El Orchards Golf Club stands out with its meticulous attention to detail, ensuring a visually pleasing atmosphere.

2. Course Design And Layout

When it comes to designing and laying out a golf course, there are several key factors to consider. Here is a list of steps to help you understand what makes a golf course great:

  1. Consider the overall flow and routing of the course, ensuring that it provides a variety of challenging and interesting holes.
  2. Look for strategic design elements such as well-placed hazards, bunkers, and water features that require careful shot placement.
  3. Evaluate the greens for their size, contouring, and speed, as these factors can greatly impact the difficulty and enjoyment of the course.
  4. Take note of the tee options available, as a well-designed course will offer a range of tee boxes to accommodate players of different skill levels.
  5. Consider the integration of the course with its natural surroundings, including the use of trees, vegetation, and landscaping to enhance the aesthetics and create a harmonious environment.

Pro-tip: When evaluating course design and layout, prioritize the aspects that align with your playing style and preferences to ensure an enjoyable golfing experience.

3. Difficulty And Challenge

Choosing a golf course that offers the right level of difficulty and challenge is crucial for an enjoyable game. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the level of difficulty:

  1. Course length: Look for longer courses with challenging par 4 and par 5 holes.
  2. Hazards: Consider the presence of water bodies, bunkers, and dense rough that add complexity to shots.
  3. Elevation changes: Courses with undulating terrain and elevated greens provide a tougher playing experience.
  4. Course rating and slope: These ratings indicate the difficulty of a course for players of different skill levels, with the course rating being more relevant for scratch golfers and the slope rating for average players.
  5. Greens: Fast and undulating greens demand precision and skill in putting.

Pro-tip: If you’re looking for a challenging round, choose a course with a higher course rating and slope, and be prepared to tackle difficult hazards and greens.

These golf courses in Michigan are so good, you’ll forget about the cold weather and endless lakes.

Top Golf Courses In Michigan

For golf enthusiasts, Michigan is a hidden gem, boasting some of the best courses in the country. In this section, we will highlight the top golf courses in Michigan, each offering a unique and challenging experience for players of all levels.

From the rugged cliffs of Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club to the pristine fairways of Bay Harbor Golf Club, we’ll take a closer look at the top five courses that every golfer should add to their bucket list. So, let’s tee off and discover the best golf courses in Michigan.

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1. Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club

Overview: Perched on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, Arcadia Bluffs offers one of the most scenic golfing experiences in the Midwest. The course is known for its rugged natural beauty, with rolling fairways, deep bunkers, and grassy dunes that mimic the Scottish links.


  • Offers stunning views of Lake Michigan from almost every hole.
  • The wind plays a significant factor, adding to the challenge.
  • The Bluffs Course and the South Course offer varied play styles.

Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club is a renowned golf destination in Michigan, offering a memorable experience for golf enthusiasts. Here are the key steps to enjoy your visit to this highly sought-after course:

  1. Book a Tee Time: Reserve your tee time in advance to secure your spot at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club.
  2. Prepare your Gear: Make sure to have all necessary golf equipment, including clubs, balls, and appropriate attire.
  3. Arrive Early: Plan to arrive early to familiarize yourself with the course layout and warm up before your round.
  4. Take in the Scenic Views: Marvel at the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan while navigating the course.
  5. Challenge Yourself: Test your skills on the challenging holes that Arcadia Bluffs is known for.

For a truly unforgettable experience, consider booking a stay at the on-site Lodge and indulging in a delicious meal at the restaurant. Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club is a must-visit destination for golfers seeking a world-class golfing experience in Michigan.

2. Forest Dunes Golf Club

Overview: Set amidst the Huron National Forest, Forest Dunes is celebrated for its contrasting natures – the front nine winds through woodland while the back nine opens up in a links-style layout. The course is a masterpiece of strategic design, requiring thoughtful shot selection.


  • Features the unique Loop Course, with reversible 18-hole layouts.
  • Pristine conditioning and fast, undulating greens.
  • A perfect blend of playability and aesthetic appeal.

Forest Dunes Golf Club is a renowned golf course in Michigan, renowned for its exceptional features and design. Its beautiful scenery and aesthetic appeal make it a picturesque setting for golf enthusiasts. The layout and design of the course are carefully crafted to offer a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all levels. Forest Dunes Golf Club takes pride in its difficulty and challenges, making it a top choice among avid golfers. Visitors to Michigan should not miss the chance to play at this top-rated golf course.

3. Bay Harbor Golf Club

Overview: Bay Harbor is a luxury golf resort offering three distinct 9-hole courses: The Links, The Preserve, and The Quarry. Each course offers a unique golfing experience, from cliffside fairways to holes that meander through natural preserves.


  • Spectacular views of Lake Michigan and lush landscapes.
  • The Quarry course features holes carved out of a limestone quarry.
  • Impeccable course maintenance and first-class amenities.

Bay Harbor Golf Club in Michigan is a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts. Its stunning coastal location and meticulously designed courses offer an unforgettable experience. The club boasts three championship courses that cater to players of all skill levels. Among them, the Links/Quarry course stands out for its dramatic views and challenging layout. With strategic bunkering and undulating greens, it truly tests a golfer’s skill. My personal experience at Bay Harbor Golf Club was unforgettable. The breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and impeccable course design left me in awe. The Links/Quarry course in particular provided a memorable challenge that I will always remember.

Teeing off at Tullymore Golf Resort is like playing a game of cat and mouse with nature, except in this case, the mouse is a tiny white ball and the cat is a challenging, beautifully designed course.

4. Tullymore Golf Resort

Overview: Tullymore is a relatively newer addition to Michigan’s golf scene but has quickly garnered acclaim for its innovative design and natural beauty. The course flows seamlessly through wetlands, hardwood forests, and rolling meadows.


  • Award-winning design by Jim Engh.
  • Offers a mix of risk-reward holes that cater to all skill levels.
  • Known for its serene setting and outstanding course conditions.

Nestled in the scenic beauty of Michigan, Tullymore Golf Resort stands out as one of the top golf destinations. With its stunning course design and layout, it offers a challenging and enjoyable experience for golf enthusiasts. The resort boasts a rich history, dating back to its establishment in 2001. Tullymore Golf Resort has gained recognition for its exceptional service, top-notch facilities, and breathtaking views. Golfers can test their skills on the meticulously maintained fairways and greens, surrounded by picturesque landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner looking for an unforgettable experience, Tullymore Golf Resort should be at the top of your list of must-visit destinations.

The Orchards Golf Club, where even the trees are in awe of your shots.

5. The Orchards Golf Club

The Orchards Golf Club is a top golf destination in Michigan, offering a unique experience for golf enthusiasts. To fully enjoy your visit to The Orchards Golf Club, follow these steps:

  1. Book your tee time in advance to secure your desired playing slot at The Orchards Golf Club.
  2. Arrive early to warm up and familiarize yourself with the course’s layout.
  3. Take in the beautiful surroundings and appreciate the well-maintained fairways and greens at The Orchards Golf Club.
  4. Challenge yourself on the strategic design of the course, which combines open and tree-lined holes at The Orchards Golf Club.
  5. Enjoy the variety of holes at The Orchards Golf Club, including challenging par 3s and demanding par 5s.
  6. Take advantage of the clubhouse amenities, such as the pro shop and dining options, at The Orchards Golf Club to enhance your overall experience.

Other Notable Golf Courses In Michigan

In addition to the top-rated golf courses in Michigan, there are many other notable courses that offer spectacular golfing experiences. These courses showcase the natural beauty of the state and provide challenging yet enjoyable rounds for golf enthusiasts. Some of these courses include The Legend at Shanty Creek Resort, Boyne Highlands Resort, The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, The Mines Golf Course, and The Jewel at Grand Hotel. Each of these courses offers a unique and memorable golfing experience that should not be missed.

1. The Legend At Shanty Creek Resort

  • The Legend at Shanty Creek Resort is a renowned golf course located in Michigan.
  • Step 1: Begin your golfing experience by booking a tee time at The Legend at Shanty Creek Resort.
  • Step 2: Upon arrival at the resort, check in at the golf course clubhouse.
  • Step 3: Warm up by utilizing the practice facilities, including the driving range and putting greens.
  • Step 4: Take in the course’s beautiful scenery and aesthetics, with stunning views of the surrounding lakes and forests.
  • Step 5: Appreciate the well-designed layout of the course, which offers a challenging yet enjoyable golfing experience.
  • Step 6: Test your skills on the various holes, which offer different levels of difficulty and challenges.
  • Step 7: Indulge in the amenities and services provided by the resort, such as dining options and a pro shop.
  • Step 8: Complete your round of golf and reflect on your experience at The Legend at Shanty Creek Resort.

2. Boyne Highlands Resort

Boyne Highlands Resort is a premier golf destination in Michigan, renowned for its exceptional courses and amenities. With its stunning scenery and well-designed layouts, it offers golfers an unforgettable experience.

The resort features four courses, each with its own unique level of difficulty and challenge:

  1. The Moor
  2. Arthur Hills
  3. Donald Ross Memorial
  4. The Heather courses

For golf enthusiasts, Boyne Highlands Resort is a must-visit, providing top-notch facilities and a beautiful natural setting. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced golfer, this resort promises an unforgettable golfing experience.

Beware of the Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa – it’ll leave you feeling grizzly but satisfied with a challenging round of golf.

3. The Bear At Grand Traverse Resort And Spa

The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts in Michigan. This top golf course offers a challenging and scenic experience for players of all skill levels. Its beautifully designed layout and surroundings make for a thrilling round of golf. With strategically placed hazards and a variety of shot options, The Bear is both difficult and rewarding. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner looking to improve your skills, The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is the perfect course for you.

No need to worry about losing your ball here, it’s probably already in one of the abandoned mines.

4. The Mines Golf Course

The Mines Golf Course in Michigan is a renowned golf destination that promises a one-of-a-kind and challenging experience. As the name suggests, this course is situated on an old gypsum mine, providing a unique and stunning landscape for golfers. With its rolling fairways, well-placed bunkers, and speedy greens, The Mines Golf Course offers a true test of precision and skill.

Golfers can anticipate navigating through the remnants of the mine, adding an element of excitement to their round. For those seeking a golf course that seamlessly combines natural beauty with an unforgettable golfing experience, The Mines Golf Course is a must-visit.

5. The Jewel At Grand Hotel

The Jewel at Grand Hotel is a renowned golf course in Michigan that offers an exceptional playing experience. To make the most of your visit, consider the following steps:

  1. Book in advance: Secure your tee time at The Jewel at Grand Hotel well in advance to ensure availability.
  2. Prepare for breathtaking views: Enjoy the picturesque scenery as The Jewel boasts stunning views of the water and the hotel.
  3. Experience challenging holes: Test your skills on the challenging holes at The Jewel that require strategic play.
  4. Enjoy top-notch amenities: Take advantage of the excellent facilities, including a pro shop and snack bar, at The Jewel at Grand Hotel.
  5. Indulge in post-game relaxation: After your round at The Jewel, unwind at the Grand Hotel with its luxurious accommodations and dining options.

Oakland Hills Country Club (Bloomfield Hills)

Overview: A historic venue that has hosted numerous major championships, Oakland Hills is synonymous with golfing excellence. Its South Course, also known as “The Monster,” offers a stern test to even the most skilled golfers.


  • Championship pedigree, having hosted U.S. Opens and PGA Championships.
  • Demanding layout with strategic bunkering and challenging greens.
  • Exclusive club atmosphere with a rich golfing heritage.

Harbor Shores Resort (Benton Harbor)

Overview: Harbor Shores, located in Benton Harbor, is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design course that has quickly risen in the ranks to become one of Michigan’s premier golf destinations. Known for hosting the Senior PGA Championship, this course blends challenge with beauty, offering views of Lake Michigan and traversing four distinct ecosystems.


  • Features diverse landscapes including wetlands, woodlands, rivers, and rolling hills.
  • Signature holes with dramatic elevation changes and stunning lake views.
  • A commitment to environmental stewardship and community development.

Greywalls Course at Marquette Golf Club (Marquette)

Overview: Nestled along the rugged terrain near Lake Superior, the Greywalls Course is a testament to the raw beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Designed by Mike DeVries, this course is characterized by its dramatic elevation changes, rocky outcroppings, and breathtaking views of Lake Superior.


  • Offers one of the most visually stunning golf experiences in the Midwest.
  • Natural, undisturbed terrain creates a unique and challenging round.
  • Known for its “wild” feel, integrating seamlessly with the native landscape.

Franklin Hills Country Club (Franklin)

Overview: Franklin Hills Country Club, with its rich history and tradition, stands as one of Michigan’s classic golf courses. The course, designed by Donald Ross, is renowned for its strategic layout, impeccable conditioning, and elegant beauty.


  • A classic Donald Ross design that emphasizes strategy over brute force.
  • Features undulating greens, strategic bunkering, and tree-lined fairways.
  • A private club atmosphere that offers a serene and exclusive golfing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Are Some Of The Top Golf Courses In Michigan’s Northwest Region?

Northern Michigan, from Arcadia to Harbor Springs, offers some of the best golf courses in the state. These include public courses like Arcadia Bluffs, Boyne Highlands, Bay Harbor, Belvedere, and Forest Dunes.

2. Are There Any Private Courses Worth Mentioning In Michigan?

Michigan also boasts top private courses like Crystal Downs, Kingsley Club, and True North. These courses are highly sought after by golfers, but public access options are also available, offering a wide variety of options for golf enthusiasts.

3. Which Courses Made It To The Top 3 Spots In The 2023-’24 Ranking Of The Best Golf Courses In Michigan?

The top 3 spots in the 2023-’24 ranking of the Best Golf Courses in Michigan are taken by Crystal Downs Country Club, Oakland Hills Country Club South Course, and Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club (Bluffs Course).

4. What Makes The Bluffs Course At Arcadia Bluffs Stand Out?

The Bluffs Course at Arcadia Bluffs may be overshadowed by other courses, but it is still a top public course with natural sand dunes. It also offers incredible bonus photography and drone footage, giving golfers an up-close look at its stunning location along Lake Michigan.

5. Can You Tell Us More About The Kingsley Club And Its Unique Hole Designs?

The Kingsley Club is known for its expertly routed course, split fairways, and challenging greens. One of its most unique features is the par-3 second hole, which has a tiny green surrounded by deep pot bunkers. The par-4 sixth hole also has a lateral ridge that changes the direction of the fairway, providing a challenging and strategic playing experience.

6. Are There Any Other Notable Golf Courses In Michigan Worth Mentioning?

Yes, there are many other top courses in Michigan, such as Lost Dunes designed by Tom Doak, American Dunes designed by Jack Nicklaus, and Point O’ Woods designed by Robert Trent Jones. These courses offer a wide variety of challenges and designs, making Michigan one of America’s great golf destinations.

Exploring the Fairways: The Best Golf Courses in Michigan
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Exploring the Fairways: The Best Golf Courses in Michigan
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