Northern Michigan earns honorsas top U.S. golf destination.
Water, woods and terrain add beauty and challenge to Up North's highly rated golf courses. Stunning fairway views, such as those from Bay Harbor Golf Club's Lake Michigan bluffs, rate among the best in the world.
As GolfWeek Magazine says, "Northern Michigan is a diamond in the rough, a rare jewel that needs to be polished at least once a year when making summer vacation plans."
Northern Michigan's varied topography, ranging from dense forests to shifting sand dunes blended with perfect soils and abundant water, make it an ideal location for a portfolio of championship courses that leading publications regard as "America's Summer Golf Capital." These are just a sampling of the region's outstanding courses.
Shoreline bluffs, dunes, rugged rock outcroppings and peaceful woodlands are what you'll encounter at the three nine-hole courses offered at Bay Harbor, just north of Petoskey. Each course possesses a distinct personality.
Renowned golf architect Arthur Hills planned every detail of all three challenging nine-hole courses. In its inaugural season, Bay Harbor Golf Club ranked 8th in the country on "Best Courses You Can Play" list compiled by GOLF Magazine.
Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club
Arcadia Bluffs resembles a seaside links course, with rolling terrain and windswept natural fescues throughout. The Rick Smith-Warren Henderson design, which plays 7,300 yards, sits on a huge coastal dune with bluffs 225 feet above Lake Michigan.
Arcadia Bluffs, in Arcadia north of Manistee, is a daily-fee golf club open to the public seven days a week, from mid-April to mid-November. Guests can enjoy a full practice range and separate short-game facility. GPS-equipped golf cars are available, or you may take advantage of the caddy program.
Forest Dunes This Tom Weiskopf design rolls through the natural sand dunes, pine forests, birch groves and native grasslands of the Huron National Forest near Roscommon. The breathtaking 7,104-yard course is nestled in stillness, a mile past the entrance gate.
The pairing of nature with perfect contours and changes in direction yields a traditional-style course with thoughtful shaping, sand scrapes and rugged, scrubby areas. It was certified as the first Gold Audubon International Signature Sanctuary in Michigan and one of only 21 worldwide. There is a 15-acre practice facility and a two-acre putting course.The Bear Designed by Jack Nicklaus, The Bear is one of the toughest courses in the Midwest with a challenging 7,078 yard layout. The links-style course features Scottish terraced fairways, tiered greens, grassy roughs, and deep bunkers. With the course set amidst ponds, forests, streams, and fruit orchards, there is an array of features that you rarely see on one course where no two holes are similar.
The Bear may be challenging and fun for a low handicap player, but many golfers say it can be brutal for an inexperienced player. Approach shots are the key on this track. The green complexes are heavily guarded with sand and grass bunkers, if not a pond or weeds. The state's top pros play The Bear each June in the Michigan Open.Belvedere Golf Club
Hawk's Eye has been ranked as the 12th best public golf course in Michigan. It is a beautiful semi-private, championship golf course that is the centerpiece of Hawk's Eye Golf Community, located Bellaire. Opened in 2004, the course was voted "4th Best in the State of Michigan" by the readers of Michigan Golf Magazine. Designer John Robinson was recently named to the top 50 golf course architects in the country.
The course meanders along windswept hills and into tree-lined valleys. It features elevated tee shots, rolling, rustic terrain and good conditions tee to green. The beginner will find the huge fairways and greens forgiving and enjoyable and the seasoned player will find the course challenging.A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort is spectacularly situated on high bluffs overlooking Torch Lake, spreading gracefully over 500 acres north of Traverse City. It meanders over hill and dale, through stately pines, mature hardwoods, and across swift-flowing creeks.
A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort offers two distinctive playing opportunities set in what can only be described as some of the best lake views in the state. Torch is a traditional woodlands course cut through mature hardwood, cedar swamps, lots of elevation changes and water in play on eight holes. Sundance is an outstanding links style resort course with 118 bunkers, wide fairways and big greens