Michigan is an absolutely beautiful state and has some of the most majestic golf courses in the upper midwest, many of which are located on the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. The varied landscape and lush green grass make this state a golfer’s haven. There is something in Michigan for golfers of all skill levels, and with more than 400 courses to choose from, you could spend your life golfing in Michigan and never get bored.
To get started, here are five Michigan golf courses you need to play.
Best Private Course: Crystal Downs (Frankfort)
Crystal Downs in Frankfort, MI is one of the highest ranked courses in the U.S. and has even been mentioned by some as one of the top 20 courses in the world. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the stiff breeze off the lake is an ever present challenge and the uniquely shaped greens are at once unforgettable yet unbelievably challenging.
The course is always kept in pristine condition and is a legend not only in the state but in the golfing world. Majestic views of the lake are coupled with undulating greens and fairways. While the course isn’t all that long at around 6500 yards from the tips, it is challenging and is a par 70.
Crystal Downs is a private country club and very exclusive. Your only chance to play this mesmerizing track is if you know a member.
Best Public Course: Forest Dunes Golf Club (Rosscommon)
The best public golf course in Michigan has to be the heavily wooded Forest Dunes. The course offers a unique mixture of mature trees and desolate expanses that make every shot count.
The front nine begins with the 400 yard par 4 and showcases four tiers of tees built within a giant sand trap-like area. The challenge continues on 2 where a narrow tee shot requires precision and at 451 yards distances cannot be sacrificed.
On the back nine, hole 10 starts with two fairways surrounding three bunkers—one being extremely long—and features a kidney shaped, undulating green that could require a chip shot if you’re on the wrong side. The rest of the back nine includes more desolate areas, sand traps, and mixes in a decent amount of water, including on the finish.18 has a green dangling over a water hazard and anything too long means you will be dropping.
The course plays around 7100 yards from the blacks and is a regulation par 72.
In the summer months the price for 18 walking at Forest Dunes peaks at $160 but there are cheaper rates earlier in the season or after 4 pm.
Most Scenic Golf Course: Arcadia Bluffs (Arcadia)
Located in Arcadia, the Bluffs Course is by far the most scenic course in Michigan. The course has a distinctly links feel to it, though it is not without trees either. It also offers steep elevation changes and greens that slope decidedly toward the lake.
The front nine starts off with a relatively easy par five that has forgiving fairways. Things get more fun quickly, though, as the par three 2 is lined with bunkers from tee to green. The par five 5th, however, steals the show as it plays toward the lake and provides some of the most stunning views you will ever see on a golf course. The hole also has a unique layout as a giant sand trap guards the lay up area and makes your approach remarkably difficult.
Rolling, narrow fairways kick off the back nine and the lake comes into play near the green on 11. The round finishes with the picturesque par 3 17th and sand filled 18th.
This beautiful course is 7300 yards from the championship tees and is a par 72. It also has a gnarly slope rating of 146.
You won’t get these views and great round of golf for nothing, however. A round at Arcadia Bluffs is $215 for 18 walking in the summer, though cheaper rates can be had at different times of the year and after 4 pm.
Most Challenging: Marquette Greywalls (Marquette)
Another beautiful course, and one that offers a serious challenge, is Marquette (Greywalls) Golf Course. Located in Michigan’s upper peninsula on the southern shores of Lake Superior, the course is nicknamed greywalls for the jagged walls of granite found on the course.
Throughout your round those granite walls come into play several times as you approach the green. The course also features breathtaking views of the lake and elevation changes that require much skill to navigate successfully.
With all of its slopes, undulation, rugged terrain, and unique shots, Marquette Greywalls Golf Course is a must play. Though it will be a challenge.
The course is around 6200 yards from the tips and is a par 71, a testament to the fact that a course doesn’t have to be long to be hard.
In the summer months, Greywalls isn’t cheap. A round of 18 walking runs $145.
Best Value Course in Michigan: Gull Lake View—Stoatin Brae (Augusta)
Stoatin Brae is one of six courses at Gull Lake View Resort and is one of the best deals in the entire state. Stoatin Brae is an elevated track and features spectacular views of the surrounding terrain. It also offers championship level golf at a discount. A round of 18 walking can be played for $50.
The course is wide and forgiving yet challenging. It is a top 100 course in the country and has a links feel to it. The fairways roll and twist and turn and are surrounded by tall grass. It is well kept and offers golfer a premium golf experience.
A round at Stoatin Brae is well worth the fifty bucks it takes to play this spectacular track.
Like its neighboring midwestern states, Michigan offers a thriving, robust golfing scene built on great courses that feature the area’s rugged, wind-swept terrain and proximity to the Great Lakes. Use these courses as a starting point as you plan your Michigan golfing trip, but rest assured there are many more courses you can play in Michigan, each offering a fantastic round. Happy golfing.