The best courses you can play in Michigan
One of the great debates in golf is where you'd move—if money was no obstacle—to be able to play golf all your life. The Monterey Peninsula, the Hamptons or Southern Pines, N.C. are common answers. Scottsdale, Palm Springs, and take your pick of anywhere in Florida, are tough to argue against. Northern Michigan is usually not included in that conversation, but it absolutely deserves to be.
Michigan is one the most underrated golf destinations in North America. For public golfers, particularly, it is as good as it gets. In the summer, you can tee off at 6 a.m. and play until 10 at night if you wish, or combine 18 or 36 another summer activity like hiking, fly-fishing or brewery-hopping. The startling elevation changes make for stunning scenery—and for great buddies trip destinations that won't break the bank, a picturesque destination in the Lower Peninsula like Traverse City or the Upper Peninsula is should be at the top of your list. The quantity of really good public courses can probably only be matched by the Pinehurst area.
Here's the best of the best of public golf in Michigan, according to Golf Digest's course-ranking panelists.
From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: The Tom Weiskopf-designed Forest Dunes in Michigan is a terrific layout on a terrific piece of property, with sand dunes deposited by the nearby Au Sable River and covered with mature pines. But it's not a unique piece of property. When I first played it, I was struck by how much Forest Dunes resembles a Texas course designed by Weiskopf's former partner, Jay Morrish. That course, Pine Dunes in Frankston, Texas, is built on much the same terrain, sand dunes covered in pines. Though they were working at the same time on their respective projects (Forest Dunes was completed in 2000 but didn't open until 2002; Pine Dunes opened in 2001), I don't think Weiskopf or Morrish had any idea that they were working on such similar courses, and I don't think they stole each other's ideas. But it's uncanny how they created kissing-cousin courses.