Golf Digest has recognized these public venues to be among the best golf courses in Michigan. The publication’s biennial review of America’s top public courses uses over 1,100 members of its Course Ranking Panel to submit ballots based on seven criteria including shot values, resistance to scoring, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, conditioning, and ambience.
Arcadia Bluffs sits on 265 acres of windswept bluffs 180 feet above Lake Michigan. The scenic course resembles a seaside links course, with rolling terrain and windswept natural fescues throughout. Players will be reminded of their favorite holes at Lahinch and Ballybunion, while enjoying breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from all points on the majestic layout.
Nestled on 1,300 acres of heavily wooded land within the Huron National Forest, Forest Dunes has become one of the country’s premier golf experiences. In this pristine setting, 1973 Open Champion Tom Weiskopf designed one of his top layouts featuring rugged native dunes, scruffy sand areas and water features.
3. The Loop at Forest Dunes Golf Club – Roscommon
Playing the same course forwards and backwards – really? Innovation and passion leadthe way with The Loop, designed by Tom Doak of Renaissance Golf Design. The Loop, with its revolutionary reversible design, is a walking-only experience featuring two different layouts playing from the same fairways to the same green complexes, which alternate directions on a daily basis.The course was recognized as the Best New Public Course by Golf Digest, and the Best New U.S. Course You Can Play by GOLF Magazine.
4. Greywalls at Marquette Golf Club – Marquette
The Greywalls course opened to rave reviews in 2005. Designed by Mike DeVries, the entire course is a natural wonder and a testament to the rugged beauty of the Marquette area. The course takes players through a wild ride and over a diverse but flowing variety of terrain: tumbling fairways, boldly contoured slopes, dramatic elevation changes, rolling and bunkered links land, and breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Superior.
LochenHeath is of Scottish origin. “Loch” is translated as lake and “Heath” is a native grass. The property, a scenic bluff overlooking East Grand Traverse Bay near Traverse City, was once a cherry orchard owned and operated for over 75 years by the Maitland family. The course hugs the shore of Grand Traverse Bay, offering sweeping views of its crystal blue waters. The course features rolling terrain, wide-open fairways, and deep, well-placed bunkers.
Tullymore, designed by nationally known architect, Jim Engh, was inspired by a village in Ireland, and the course inspires great golf. It features generous movements of the fairways with clearly visible approaches, and has five sets of tees for golfers of all levels to enjoy. The resort facilities include luxuriously appointed accommodations and premium amenities such as a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, and two comfortable clubhouses.
7. Bay Harbor Golf Club (Links/Quarry) – Bay Harbor
Bay Harbor Golf Club features 27-holes designed by Arthur Hills, which plays as three different course combinations (Links/Quarry, Quarry/Preserve, Preserve/Links). The Links/Quarry course combines holes along a plateau overlooking Lake Michigan with rugged golf holes that meander in and out of an old limestone quarry finishing right along the shoreline.
A signature design of golf great Jack Nicklaus, The Bear is best-known for being one of the toughest courses in America as described by Golf Digest. The beautiful par 72, links-style course features Scottish terraced fairways, tiered greens, deep grassy roughs, moguls, mounds, and deep pot bunkers. Lakes, ponds, hardwood forests, streams, and fruit orchards are also home to a variety of wildlife.
Chris Lutzke, in collaboration with Pete Dye, designed this rolling “links” style championship golf course featuring magnificent shot values on every hole. Like typical Pete Dye courses, Lutzke created a challenging layout right out of the gate with tough par 4’s, scenic par 5’s and spectacular par 3’s including the signature “Island Green” No. 17 and replica to the famed TPC Sawgrass No. 17.
Belvedere Golf Club has been part of the fabric of northern Michigan since 1925. It was designed in 1925 by famed architect, William Watson, who is best known for classic and major championship designs across America including Olympia Fields in Chicago, Interlachen in Minneapolis, The Olympic Club in San Francisco and others. The historic club has turned back the clock and restored the popular course bringing back many of the strategies that Watson originally intended. Belvedere is a place where you can walk the same footsteps and experience the same course where historic legends like Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, and Tom Watson to name few, gathered.