With nearly 700 golf courses, the state of Michigan is ranked among the top 10 states in the United States for the sheer number of courses.
But part of that ranking also is due to the fact that even the state’s public golf courses are noted by experts as among the best places to play a round or three.
As a popular summertime vacation destination, there is no shortage of golfers looking to spend time in Michigan working on their driving, their short game, or whatever, amid the lakes, trees and natural beauty of the state.
Read on for a look at some of the best golf courses in Michigan.
Best golf courses in northern Michigan
1. Crystal Downs Country Club
Every list of the best golf courses in Michigan should include Crystal Downs Country Club, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in Frankfort.
If you get the opportunity to play Crystal Downs, you’ll know immediately that you’re playing at one of the best courses not only in Michigan, but in the entire world.
Designed by Alister MacKenzie, whose other feats include designing Augusta National, home of the storied Masters golf tournament, Crystal Downs is regularly featured in lists of the world’s top courses.
In particular, Crystal Downs’ par-four fifth hole and its par-five eighth hole are viewed by aficionados as being among the greatest golf holes in the world.
2. Michawye Pines
Northern Michigan also has a number of more accessible golf courses available for play, including the Michawye Pines Golf Course, unquestionably among the best golf courses in Michigan.
Located in Gaylord, in the heart of the northern end of the state just a short distance off of Interstate 75, The Pines features six sets of tees. That means The Pines plays at distances from 5,000 yards to more than 7,000 yards, offering challenges for all kinds of golfers.
3. Bay Harbor Golf Club
The town of Petoskey, nestled along the northeastern shores of Lake Michigan, hosts the Bay Harbor Golf Club, an Arthur Hills-designed facility of 27 holes that work as three individual courses, each designed to test golfers in a different way.
A common feature of the courses, though, is the presence of Lake Michigan, which is part of many other of the best golf courses in Michigan.
Winds coming off the lake can influence play in a variety of unpredictable ways, adding to the challenge of whatever course you’re playing at a facility that has earned the name “Pebble Beach of the Midwest.”
4. Cheboygan Golf & Country Club
Open now for a century, which certainly qualifies it as one of the best golf courses in Michigan, Cheboygan Golf & Country Club in Cheboygan is open to the public with 18 holes of championship golf.
In effect, though, the club offers two courses in one, with the first nine holes offering an experience similar to a Scottish golf course, featuring lots of rolling mounds to negotiate but just a few trees with which to contend.
The back nine holes, on the other hand, are laid out among pine and hardwood forests.
All around the course, golfers are challenged to hit small greens, where they can work on their short games.
Best golf courses in central Michigan
5. Pleasant Hills Golf Club
Located in Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Hills Golf Club is situated among rolling hills, with an 18-hole course featuring top-quality greens. The philosophy at Pleasant Hills Golf Club, one reason that it is among the best golf courses in Michigan, is to provide a challenge to golfers, but in a relaxing setting and atmosphere.
It’s a goal that the club meets with style, according to reviews from golfers who have played the course. Those reviews note the budget-friendly rates for playing the course, a friendly and helpful staff, and welcome challenges like greens with lots of slope.
6. Eagle Glen
Head to Farwell, Michigan and you’ll find Eagle Glen, located conveniently close to U.S. Highway 27, U.S. Highway 10 and Michigan Highway 115.
Known throughout the state for its stunning appearance, clearly a reson that it ranks among the best golf courses in Michigan, Eagle Glen features bent grass tees and fairways, along with 73 bunkers, all nestled among environmentally protected wetland areas.
Reviews of the course have included one golfer who noted that it provides challenges, but can also be enjoyed by the more casual golfer.
7. Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club
Just like the golf courses that string the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts of the United States, Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club offers a seaside golf course experience on not one, but two, courses, cementing its reputation as one of the best golf courses in Michigan.
Located along the shores of Lake Michigan in Arcadia, northwest of Grand Rapids on Michigan Highway 31, Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club is open to the public seven days a week from April through November.
The club comprises the Bluff Course and the South Course. Both are designed to provide a pleasantly challenging day for golfers of all abilities.
The Bluffs Course, an undulating links-style layout on 240 acres, plays at 5,024 yards from its red tees and 7,300 yards from its championship tees.
The course features wide fairways and wind-swept native grasses, framed by amazing views of Lake Michigan. The Bluffs Course is further noted for the mental challenges that each of its holes presents to the golfers who tour its impressive expanse.
The South Course, on 311 acres, is remarkable for its large greens, averaging more than 9,000 square feet. Wide fairways offer many options for the journey from tee to green, and fast greens provide a chance for improving your ground game.
8. Eagle Eye
Located in Bath, Eagle Eye Golf & Banquet Center has been ranked among the best golf courses in Michigan, not to mention the rest of the country.
Eagle Eye is particularly famous for its 17th hole, a direct imitation of the same par-3 hole at the renowned TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Reviewers have seen the course as a tough, but fair, test of their skill at the game of golf, with lots of bunkers and water to challenge them.
Best golf courses in southern Michigan
9. Lake Forest Golf Club
Located in Ann Arbor, Lake Forest Golf Club is billed as the community’s neighborhood golf course. Located just minutes from downtown Ann Arbor via Exit 175 from Interstate 94, the par-72 course is laid out across 170 acres.
Beyond the course itself, Lake Forest Golf Club includes a five-acre practice area featuring, among other things, a putting green and an area for short-game practice that includes bunkers as a challenge.
10. Harbor Shores Resort
A destination of choice for golfers throughout the middle section of the country, Harbor Shores hugs the shore of Lake Michigan within easy distance of Chicago and South Bend.
The 18-hole public Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course offers a variety of terrain on which to play, including woodlands, dunes and a river area bordering the Paw Paw River, Ox Creek and their associated wetlands.
Reviews of the course, which clearly has earned a place among the best golf courses in Michigan, praise its greens, its challenging layout, and, not least, the spectacular views along Lake Michigan.
11. Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club
Another of the Michigan golf courses along the shores of Lake Michigan that is consistently noted as being among the best golf courses in Michigan is Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor.
The private championship course is carved among 200 acres of maple, pine and oak trees. Point O’ Woods was designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to offer a premiere golf experience in the southwest corner of the state.
Throughout its length, Point O’ Woods is a vibrant testament to Jones’ frequently expressed belief that a good golf hole is one that is difficult to par, but easy to bogey.
12. Diamond Lake Golf Course
Located in Cassopolis, Diamond Lake Golf Course is a nine-hole public course that shares a happy reputation as one of the friendliest golf courses you’re likely to find.
Evidence of the friendly atmosphere at Diamond Lake Golf Course can be found in its providing free rental clubs, giveaways of clubs to new golfers, and selling junior clubs to new young golfers only to buy them back when they outgrow them.
Diamond Lake Golf Course also is home to the free eight-minute golf lesson on Friday evenings, a program invented at the course.
Something for everyone
Certainly, the list offered here barely scratches the surface of the hundreds of golf experiences available in every corner of the state, all of them worthy of ranking among the best golf courses in Michigan.
But even this list shows that golf courses in Michigan have something to offer to everyone pursuing the pastime, from the golfer looking for an economical way to enjoy a round, to the more serious golfer looking for a championship challenge, and even the golfer who just enjoys being outside and enjoying the view.
Expand your Michigan vacation even further by finding fun things to do in Warren City, Michigan. Happy travels!