By: Tom Lang
When a state like Michigan has more than 700 golf courses, picking the best one can be like choosing a favorite child.
What’s wonderful about Michigan is the wide variety of golfing options, ranging from phenomenal, majestic shorelines of the Great Lakes to nationally-renowned “up north” golf – to an in-land gem carved from a former sod farm.
In alpha order, here are some ideas for southern travelers planning a future trip north for great golf and cool summer breezes:
Frequently the top-ranked public course in Michigan by numerous golf publications, Arcadia Bluffs and its newer and distinctively different South Course, are often on players’ bucket lists. Perched at about 200 feet above the shoreline of Lake Michigan, much like its Scottish-link design roots, Arcadia Bluffs simply has some of the most gorgeous shoreline views in the Great Lakes. The new South Course, located one mile away and slightly in-land, is a 180-degree flip in style from the Bluffs, featuring an incredibly unique layout using geometric shaping and design elements to treat the eye and test anyone’s game. www.arcadiabluffs.com.
Boyne Resorts has 3 locations and 10 outstanding golf courses to choose from all within a 30-minute radius of beautiful Petoskey, Michigan – where Boyne Highlands developed the first combination of northern Michigan golf and snow skiing (in the 1960s) to lead the revolution of what became America’s Summer Golf Capital. Bay Harbor and Boyne Mt. round out the trio of resorts that offers a range of accommodations from very high-end, to other options that gave Boyne the distinction of No. 1 ‘best golf value’ and No. 2 ‘best buddy trips’ in GOLF Magazine.
Eagle Eye Golf Course:
Eagle Eye is one of the top examples anywhere of what man-made earthmoving can accomplish. It’s one of the best treats we have in the state that is not an ‘Up North’ course. Pete Dye disciple Chris Lutzke carved and shaped Eagle Eye from flat farmland outside Michigan’s capital city, and will host the NCAA Regionals in 2020. Tall mounding and heather-lined fairways keep golfers on their toes, before reaching the formidable island green at the par-3 17th – an exact replica of Dye’s TPC Sawgrass. www.eagleeyegolfclub.com.
Stoatin Brae Golf Club:
Stoatin Brae is the newest of six full-length courses at Gull Lake View Resort – in of all places, Augusta, Mich. – and is perched on the highest point in that county with 360-degree panoramic views of the rolling countryside. Stoatin Brae is playable, very affordable, fun and challenging all rolled into one – and the wonderful views will distract any poor golf shots. www.gulllakeview.com.
The Loop at Forest Dunes:
Tom Weiskopf’s original Forest Dunes is a national destination, that became one x two when Tom Doak added The Loop, one of the few fully-reversable, 18 green golf courses in the world (think St. Andrews). Named the nation’s best new course by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine a few years ago, The Loop is playable in either clockwise “Black” or counterclockwise “Red” directions. The fun of playing it is the sheer genius of how well the reversible design works. Fantastic, one-of-a-kind golf course well worth checking out. www.forestdunesgolf.com.