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With over fifty golf courses of tremendous diversity, Traverse City, Michigan is the perfect base camp for your golf excursions. Boasting an inherently golf friendly sandy soil, glacially sculpted terrain and proximity to large bodies of fresh water, the region boasts some of the best natural golf conditions you can find anywhere in the world. This in turn has given golf architects the fantastic canvas upon which they created some of the best golf designs in the nation.





The older of the two A-Ga-Ming onsite courses. Definitely the more traditional in design of the two courses but it features more views of Torch Lake. If you had to chose between the two, go with Sundance, but this has its charm as well and is perhaps a bit easier. The Torch sports some fantastic holes especially the par 3 seventh which is all carry over a ravine with Torch Lake as your backdrop. You can feel the potential here but there are just a few too many underwhelming holes that keep this otherwise fine course from being a top tier venue.  The mostly conservative bunkering, and sometime no bunkering at all,  needs an update. Most holes just don't lead you to an exciting conclusion full of challenges and choices, but rather a more workman like finish on a saucer shaped green. There are a few quirky holes one might say, especially the par 4 tenth, where the landing area terminates at the base of a hill into a small pond. Driver is usually not the play.  Fortunately, they are working a hole here and there and the ones they have reworked are clearly superior to the older holes course. This progress is happening at a snails pace, but it is happening, and perhaps in a few years they might really have something here. They sure have the terrain, location and name.

Architect:  Chick Harbert (1986)    Par:  71

Yardage:  6530 6111 5454 5047  

Rating/Slope:  73.2/133 71.5/128 71.1/127 69.2/124

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:   627 A-Ga-Ming Dr., Kewadin, MI 49648

Telephone:   866.998.0656

Web: a-ga-ming.com


Quality Rating: 6/10      Value Rating:  5 /10    


This 2005 Jerry Matthews course is just northwest of Traverse City wedged in between the Grand Traverse Bay and Torch Lake.  Wonderful routing and some great scenery.  Matthews has made a very modern American Links style course here which utilizes the elevations and scenery. Generous fairways are framed by carefully contouring, strategic bunkers and wonderfully contrasting heather.  It is easily the stronger of the two A-Ga-Ming courses. The front nine eases you into the round but still give plenty of challenge. Then the ninth hole, perhaps on of the best par 5s in the Michigan, signals the beginning of a truly outstanding run of ten fantastic holes. Nine is a par 5 that tees off down hill around a slight dogleg with a bog on the inside.  Then it rises to the pinnacle of the course with terraced bunkers to collect short shots. Take plenty club on your approach to this stadium green, a club and half is usually plenty. Balls landing on the front on the green can spin back down into the fairway. The par 3 seventeenth is an absolute beauty with a steep downhill tee shot with the  world famous Torch Lake as your backdrop. The par 4 eighteenth is unexpectedly difficult, especially when the prevailing wind is in your face. You need a big tee shot and you must hit the fairway or you are looking at a perilous shot over 200 to a green surrounded by trouble and water. There is no bailout except short and that will still leave a difficult pitch. It is a great finishing hole where any remaining wagers will certainly need to be earned. Par on 18 is a very good score. Sometimes a great course has a weakness like repetitive par 3s or unimaginative par 5s. Not here, in fact the par 3s and 5s might be the best part of the course but that would detract from all the great par 4s. Nice full practice facility which includes a driving range, putting green and chipping green. If there is such a thing as a "sporty" golf course, this is it.

Architect:  Jerry Matthews (2005)    Par: 72

Yardage:  6935 6505 6252 5871 5172  

Rating/Slope:  72.8 / 132 70.5 / 127 69.5 / 124  67.9 / 120 70.0 / 124    

Practice facility:  full grass range, putting green and short game area  

Address and Map:   627 A-Ga-Ming DR., Kewadin, MI 49648

Telephone:   866.998.0656

Web: a-ga-ming.com




Quality Rating:  9/10      Value Rating:  7/10


Antrim DellsThe course lies about a 45 minute scenic ride up Rt-31 toward Charlevoix, right off the main road. This early Jerry Matthew's design  just begins to show some of his design skills. The course has a more traditional feel with a few straight-away fairways and some saucer shaped greens. The have very nice terrain with a blend of wooded holes and open holes laid over some decent elevations. It is a good course for the driver were most of the time you can let the shaft out to receptive fairways.  The classic bunkering sometimes presents a spectacular challenge to your approaches with big gapping bunkers ready to eat any weak wedges to sucker pins. The course was recently acquired by A-Ga-Ming and we are eager to see what they will do with it, given the potential. It could use a modern facelift.


Architect:  Jerry Matthews (1973)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6606 6198 5493 

Rating/Slope:  72.1/125 70.2/121 71.9/121

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:   12352 Antrim Dr., Ellsworth, Michigan 49729

Telephone:   231.599.2679    

Web:   antrimdellsgolf.com


Quality Rating: 6/10      Value Rating:  6/10  


Arcadia Bluffs Golf ClubThis Warren Henderson design from the Rick Smith design group is considered one of the very best golf courses in the entire United States.  It brings a serious Scottish links course to the Midwest, in the midst of all the "up-north" courses in Michigan. Standing on the veranda of the club house, you can see the spectacle unfold right in front of you. The course flows down hundreds of feet from sandy bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan to the very edge of the lake. Just about everywhere you stand on this course you have a spectacular view.  Every hole is a postcard and if you ever imagined a golf heaven, this could be it. The course has a raw look with all the wild areas, waste areas and wind blowing in off of the lake, but the fairways, greens and bunkers are finely manicured. The first fairway is wide as a railroad yard, but each fairway following seems to get a bit narrower. By the time you get to eighteen, the fairway looks like a winding sidewalks compared to the first hole. Not only do you need to drive the ball well here, you need to work on your lob shot for this course. There are many pedestal greens where the only recovery from missed approaches is a high soft lob. Different approaches to many greens and options to play each hole. The best positions are rewarded with a reasonable shots to the pin or simple run up shot to a long green. Poor positioning leaves dangerous approaches that can require semi-blind lobs over a deep sod-faced pot bunker to a narrow greens. And when you get to the green, the game within the game is revealed at the highest level. You will need to deal with fast, sophisticated, and undulated greens which require shots to the correct pin zones if you hope to score. You might find yours putting ninety degrees away from the hole in order to catch the slope. Other times you might consider taking the undulations out of the green with a deft chip over a big ridge, even from the putting surface itself, although that is perhaps not looked upon favorably. The eighteenth green has the most undulations and zones. Onlookers from the clubhouse often get a kick out of all the four putts here, so take extra care on your approach. The more you play this course, the more interesting it seems to become. At first your senses are overwhelmed with the entire atmosphere. But each round seems to reveal something new, a spot where you can hit a run up shot, a better approach to attack a pin, a backstop on the green that might put your ball in close. Some people just go there to stand on the veranda and have a sandwich and not even play golf.  That might be a good ideas for those that can't break 100 because Arcadia Bluffs can really demoralize a high handicappers. Arcadia is THE golf course in the area, even with all the stiff competition.


Architect:  Warren Henderson (1999)    Par: 72

Yardage:  7300 6702 6244 5107  

Rating/Slope:   75.4/147 72.8/137 70.3/129 70.1/121

Practice facility:  full grass range, putting green and short game area

Address and Map:   14710 Northwood Highway, Arcadia, MI 49613-9716

Telephone:   800.494.8666  

Web:   arcadiabluffs.com



Quality Rating:  10/10      Value Rating:  6/10 



18 championship holes (formerly Leelanau Club) by Gary Pulsipher playing through forest and cherry orchards in the hilly terrain north west of Traverse City, Michigan.  The course gets high points for a uniqueness in appearance and design. It definitely is a course when you can enjoy a round a golf in a fantastic environment and its local favorite reputation is well earned. Spectacular elevations on some tee boxes where you ball drops down to  winding ribbons of fairways leading to semi-pedestal greens. Many great opportunities to play your driver but beware of the few tight driving holes where a go with a driver puts a lot of risk in play. The par 5 fourth is one such hole where a driver can take you right through the fairway on the right and also brings in to play the junk on the left. Even the very accomplished golfer cannot get home in two, so take less club off the tee and stay in the round. Pulsipher really did a commendable job with four excellent and varied par threes. The par four 14th is perhaps the most devious of all holes. The big tree on the right has taken many tee shots.  Steer clear.  There is more room left than you think. Finding the fairway on 18 is a must if you want to stick the very difficult elevated green, it is at least a club and a half more.



Architect:  Gary Pulsipher (1999)    Par: 71

Yardage:  6651 6298 5788 5062 4606

Rating/Slope:  72.2/137 70.8/131 68.5/123 65.4/109 67.7/114

Practice facility:  modest range with mats, putting green and short game area  

Address and Map:  9505 E Otto Rd., Suttons Bay, MI 49682

Telephone:  231.271.2020    

Web:  traversecitygolf.com



Quality Rating:  7/10      Value Rating:  7/1


Just minutes east of Traverse City in the TV tower hills over looking the West Branch of the Grand Traverse Bay. Founder in 1995, it offers two nine hole courses, an executive 9-hole course and a par 3 nine hole course. A great place for a quick round with modern looking holes and a nice practice facility. Lots of elevation changes and you can bring out the driver on a few holes.



Architect:     (1995)    Par:


Rating/Slope:    /     /     /    /     /

Practice facility:  

Address and Map:   5550 Bay Meadows Dr., Traverse City, MI 49684

Telephone:   231.946.7927    

Web:   www.tcbaymeadows.com



Quality Rating:  5/10      Value Rating:  7/10


Bay Harbor Golf Club 27 fantastic holes in Petoskey, about an hour north of Traverse City. Arthur Hills, in collaboration with Stephen Kircher, has laid out one of his most spectacular routings in the Great Lakes region.  Arthur Hills has always been known for great courses but he out did himself here. Completed in 1997, it claimed the top spot in Michigan for a long time. The property is part of  Boyne Resort and is certainly their crown jewel. It does have private members but rotates tee times so that members tee off on one of the three nines while the public will tee off on another. There are three distinct nines, the Links, Quarry and Preserve, and each presents their own distinctive look and feel. The Links nine is the most popular and characterized by having its tall fescue lined holes in close proximity to Lake Michigan. While great views may help your attitude, winds that whip up from the lake, play havoc with your game.  Four of the nine Links holes are treeless and hard against the lake in a splashy Arthur Hills Scottish-like effort. Standing on the edge of the fairway of Links hole 7, you can look straight down 150 feet to the crashing waves of Lake Michigan. The views from the bluffs overlooking Little Traverse Bay are probably worth the heavy greens fee alone. The Quarry nine has the most interesting holes of the three nines where several holes play around, down into and out of a rock-sided quarry. As a bonus, your final two holes on the Quarry play against the lake. The Preserve nine might be the strongest in terms of hole layouts.  It rolls through mature birches and pines and incorporates marshes and even a double green. The entire complex is nicely tied together with mostly wide and forgiving fairways which lead you to good sized greens which are not overly undulated.  Mr. Hills really did an outstanding job with the par 3 on all 27 holes, especially where the greens hang against the lake. The bottom line is that you cannot go wrong with any of the three nines, all are a blast to play. But if someone held a gun to your head, chose the Quarry and the Links.

Architect:  Arthur Hills (1997)    Par:  72

Yardage:                 (Quarry/Links)

Rating/Slope:   72.2/143   /     /    /   (Quarry/Links)

Practice facility:  full grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:   5800 Coastal Ridge Dr., Bay Harbor, Michigan 49770

Telephone:   800.462.6963

Web:   www.bayharborgolf.com



Quality Rating: 10/10      Value Rating:  5/10


Founded in 1925, this traditional masterpiece now allows public play.  Here you will truly  get the sense of the tradition and privilege that this high ground course offers. Its about an hours drive north from Traverse City, just short of Charlevoix. Designed by Scotsman Willie Watson in a day and age where carefully attention was paid to details and position on the golf course had a purpose. The course is fantastically kept and careful nurturing through the ages keeps it a valid test in the modern day against its contemporaries. Occupying some of the highest ground around, it is almost as if the golf course touches the sky in a holy alliance with the ghosts of past champions such as Walter Hagen and Tommy Armour. You want the challenge of old school golf with modern conditions, here it is.  The course offers plenty of chances to play a ball and let it feed to a pin position or run a ball in old school style with a bump and run. Use of the landscape as part of your strategy was how it was designed and how you are expected to play. A bit on the expensive side and not much in the way of public amenities.


Architect: Willie Watson (1925)    Par: 72

Yardage: 6773 6542 6102 5495

Rating/Slope: 72.3 / 126 71/5 / 124 69.3 / 120 71.6 / 122

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map: 5731 Marion Center Rd., Charlevoix, MI 49720

Telephone: 757.409.1358    

Web: belvederegolfclub.com



Quality Rating: 7/10    Value Rating: 4/10 


Master golf course architect Tom Doak's first real masterpiece about an hour west of Traverse City not far from I-75. Thick curtains of hardwoods surround each hole cut into the rolling hills and valleys of big Up North Michigan type golf. No one around for miles and this demanding and rugged tract will test every aspect of your game. Not overly tight,  but most tee shots will need to negotiate a maze of bunkers and perhaps more importantly, some serious undulations in the fairway which encourage an almost putting like mentality on tee shots. Many times you will find shots that if played correctly, will feed to optimal positions. Some of these undulations do not reveal themselves for the first time player so there are lots of surprises out there.  Playing the course more than once is a must if you want to score well. The unique Doak type greens do not feature your tradition undulations, rather, little knobs and hollows need to be negotiated on these immensely perplexing greens. Some call the greens evil or unfair since you rarely have a putt over 4 feet which does not have a serious break or two in it. Even if you can knock your approach within ten feet, you don't seem to have a reasonable shot at birdie. The par 5 eighteenth is one of the best finishing holes you will find anywhere, just stunning in design and demanding to play. The high slope rating is no joke so go enjoy this very unique course and don't take your score so seriously.


Architect: Tom Doak (1992)    Par: 72

Yardage: 7044 6496 6129 5282  4619

Rating/Slope: 74.5 / 145 72.0 / 133 70.0 / 126 69.1  / 119 71.4 / 127

Practice facility:  modest grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:   6500 Nicklaus Dr., Gaylord, MI 49735

Telephone: 866.585.7090    

Web: blackforestgolf.com



Quality Rating: 8/10    Value Rating: 7/10 


Briar at Mesick - North CourseNo review available.





Architect:   Orin Bishop  (1989)    Par: 71

Yardage: 5817 5437 4533

Rating/Slope:   69.4/116 67.7/111 67.3/104

Practice facility:    

Address and Map: 5441 W M 115, Mesick, MI 49668

Telephone: 231.885.1220    

Web: www.thebriaratmesick.com



Quality Rating: n/r    Value Rating: n/r  


A family owned and built golf course that put the finishing touches on this par-71 in 1997.  No review available.




Architect: The Smith Family (1997)    Par: 71  

Yardage: 6149

Rating/Slope: 69.8 / 120

Practice facility:  

Address and Map: 3388 West Eddy School Rd.,  Bellaire, MI 49615-9012

Telephone: 231.533.6886    

Web: www.farm-gc.com


Quality Rating: n/r    Value Rating: n/r   


About a 35 minute drive west of Traverse City near the Crystal Lake resort area. A tough and rugged poor-man's version of Arcadia Bluffs but at less than 1/4 of the price. Deep bunkers, lots of windswept fescue and distant high elevation views of Crystal Lake are featured on this very challenging links-style course. Don't let the price fool you, this is a well designed course with lots of high end golf architect features, just without the price. The rough areas are a bit penal but the fairways and greens are usually in very fine shape. If the wind is blowing in from the lakes on this high elevation course, it plays at least five strokes harder. All the holes flow along the hillsides and up and down valleys and ravines with virtually no housing. Don't let the simple first hole lull you into a sense of security. The holes rapidly get more difficult but always remain fair. The notable 11th is a terribly long and slightly uphill par three were some may find a driver is necessary carry the fronting pot bunkers and reach the green. It looks nice but man is it brutal.  Fine back to back par 5s finish your round and each one will dare the accomplished golfer to try to get home in two.


Architect: Jim Cole and Lee Stone    Par: 72  

Yardage: 6885 6250 5125

Rating/Slope: 71.9 / 121 69.1 / 118 68.7 / 116

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map: 510 N. Marshall Rd., Beulah, MI 49617

Telephone: 231.882.9200.  

Web: championhill.com


Quality Rating: 6/10    Value Rating: 9/10  


Just minutes north of Charlevoix and about an hour north of Traverse City, this once all private course began allowing public play in 2009.  The terrain is somewhat flattish for Michigan, but Jerry Matthews did a fine job of creating enough undulation, flow and mounding to make the smartly designed course pleasing to look at and enjoyable to play. The style is almost links-like but there are still a decent amount of tree line hole. The main strategic element seems to be the many marshes and water hazards that need to be avoided of carried.  Many greens are a little elevated from the fairway so a little extra club is not bad advice. This modern Matthews design retains a country club like feel with some tight holes where local knowledge can be a big advantage. The big money hole is the par 5 ninth. From the tee you can't quite gauge where to hit. There is a big bunker on the right that you might be tempted to carry but there is plenty fairway to the left. A solid tee shot gives you an outside chance to get home in two but you will have to carry a lake for its entire length.  A safer option is out to the right of the green just short of the bunkers and then attack the pin with a wedge.



Architect:  Jerry Matthews (1994)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6520 6071 5643 5084  

Rating/Slope:  71.4/133 69.3/127 67.6/116 70.0/127

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:   9600 Club House DR., Charlevoix, MI 49720

Telephone:   231.547.1922    

Web:   www.chxcountryclub.com




Quality Rating: 7/10      Value Rating: 5/10


Charlevoix Golf Club A nine hole course within the city limits of Charlevoix. Not to be confused with the Charlevoix Country Club. No review available.





Architect:  Willie Watson (1896)    Par:  36

Yardage:  3008 2775 2278 1319  

Rating/Slope:  / / / /

Practice facility:    

Address and Map:   400 Fairway Dr, Charlevoix, MI 49720

Telephone:   231.547.3268    

Web:   http://www.cityofcharlevoix.org/city-departments/golf-course.html



Quality Rating: n/r      Value Rating:  n/r


Chestnut Hills Golf CourseAbout 55 minutes East of Traverse City near the coastal town or Arcadia. No review available. 








Architect:  Doug Carter (1993)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6372 5892 4845  

Rating/Slope:  71.5/124 69.1/120 68.5/113

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green    

Address and Map:   7700 Glovers Lake Rd.,   Arcadia, Michigan 49614

Telephone:   231.864.2458    

Web:   www.chestnutgolf.com



Quality Rating: n/r      Value Rating:  n/r 


Opened in 2000 and located in Bellaire, between Traverse City and Gaylord. Cut mostly through wooded terrain and the high ground of Bellaire, Canadian John Robinson designed a very unique layout with plenty of Michigan "Up North" feel. Robinson gives you room off the tee, only to tighten up the approach with pedestalled greens and sparse chipping areas. Other times you need to be precise off the tee as well as your approach. There are few grip it and rip it holes here since much of the course is tight and tough for just about any golfer. It does play much longer than the yardage on the card. The first hole is the entire course in a nutshell. You've got to plan your line or you are in trouble. There is a constant presence of tall lumber lining the left side of the fairway and the opposite falls away into a ravine. The tree-lined side rises from the fairway with heavy rough and tall grasses which sometimes deflect balls back down to the short stuff but more often than not, the heavy grasses and uneven lies torment those intent on aggressive recovery shots. Now if your unlucky enough to miss a savior bunker on the right and end up in the ravine, take your stroke and distance. The approach is no picnic either since the green sits below your uneven lie defended with bunkers, ravines, and grassy hollows ready to rob you of par or bogie should your stray from your target even a little. The greens are receptive but expect a fast pace on the roll. This theme pretty much repeats itself for much of the course with twists in the story line. This is not your typical course where you can just bang it out there, direction and distance are key. There is almost always something to avoid. If you normally do not find many fairways you are going to find it a long round unless you take less club and register a fairway. The short par 4 fourth hole is almost like two par 3s in one. Your downhill tee shot most not only be accurate in terms of direction, you must also hit it the correct distance. If you do not manage that, you will be short of the corner or through the fairway, and either may turn your approach shot into a disappointing lay up. Hole 10 and 11 are absolute round killers so be forewarned. This course is tough, the combination of nature and Robinson's design makes this course stunning to the eye but somewhat lacking in the playability department. Regardless of your score. If your looking for something different and engulfed by nature, here it is. Just don't expect something it is not.


Architect:  John Robinson (2000)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6600 6151 5505 4738  

Rating/Slope:  72.6 / 145 70.8 / 139 70.4 / 132 66.4 / 119

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  5085 Shanty Creek Rd, Bellaire, MI 49615

Telephone:   800.968.0129    

Web:   www.golfthechief.com


Quality Rating:  5/10      Value Rating:  5/10


Crooked TreeNo review available.





Architect:  Harry Bowers      (1995)    Par:  71

Yardage:  6712 6384 5993 5400   4525

Rating/Slope:  72.8/136 71.1/133 69.9/125 66.5/120  67.0/114

Practice facility:    

Address and Map:  600 Crooked Tree Dr., Petoskey, MI 49770

Telephone:   800.462.6963

Web:   www.boyne.com/Golf/Eight Courses/Crooked Tree




Quality Rating:  n / r      Value Rating:  n / r  


Gary Pulsipher rehabbed the original nine and added another nine routed through the forest hills behind the course. A modern style course just minutes from Traverse City and fun to play. The course only gets better as you move through the 18 culminating in some spectacular holes on the backside. You can tell the front side was the original nine with a sort of underwhelming start and a few holes in between a condominium development. But they jazzed up the front as best as they could and quickly the course picks up steam. They permitted Pulsipher to build holes from scratch on the back and there his real architectural prowess is demonstrated. Hole eleven is a very tough par 4 wrapping a hillside around to the left, culminating in a very elevated green. This is perhaps the toughest tee shot since you do not want a long iron into this green. You need to direct your tee shot left of the fairway, carry the rough and it should feed down to the right side of the fairway. Leaving the ball up in the hillside is death and not hitting it high enough on the hill will cause the ball to feed into the rough on the right. The par 5 fourteenth is both beauty and beast.  A semi-blind tee shot does not reveal the trouble awaiting for you in the landing area. Tee shots must be kept to the left or you may find the massive ravine. Laying up off the tee makes it harder to clear the ravine and set up your approach. Lots of confusion and complaints are heard about the short par 4 fifteenth when you play it for the first time. Just keep in mind that all you need to do is get it up on the fairway plateau with a mid hybrid or long iron, then attack the green with a wedge or short iron. Any other approach is folly. It is actually a great birdie hole once you get past the optical misdirection. The fantastic final three holes will certainly make you forget the tame opening three holes.



Architect:  Ron Green / Gary Pulsipher   (1998)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6666 6180 5395 4837  

Rating/Slope:  72.2 / 136 69.6 / 125 65.9 / 115 68.9 / 118

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  2430 W Crown Dr, Traverse City, MI 49684

Telephone:   231.946.2975

Web:   www.golfthecrown.com



Quality Rating:  7/10      Value Rating:  8/10 


A major renovation of the entire course wrapped up in 2010 bringing new holes and redesigned old ones. Its a nice piece of property with some distance views of Crystal Lake.  They have taken this course into the 21st century with a major lengthening and improved bunkering. The major update was needed to keep pace with all the fantastic course in the area. The solid layout is mark by unexpectedly difficult greens that require a deft touch on and around the serious undulations. While not lightning fast, the tacos, backstops, and swales, combined with the tilted fairways that always seem to break toward Crystal Lake, make the greens the main defense of the course. The front is more open and the back winds through mature trees utilizing a valleys for several holes. You may get used to the wide fairways and pleasant course but the two closing holes force precision off the tee and require renewed focus or you risk ruining your round. The par four 17th requires an accurate fairway wood or hybrid to keep out of the heavily wooded slopes, driver is not the play.  There are options, short of the fairway downslope takes the trees out of play and gives you a level but longer approach. If you can get to the downslope with a draw, you can pick up an extra thirty to fifty yards leaving a wedge in to an elevated but receptive green. Eighteen is a longish and difficult par four gently fading out of sight into the trees. A good drive will leave a mid-iron in but it requires a well struck fade. Too much fade and your lost in the woods, not enough and your through the fairway into the rough blocked by trees. Par-par is a great finish.



Architect:  Bruce Matthews/Jerry Mathews   (1970)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6531 6114 5712 4974  

Rating/Slope:  71.6/129 70.3/123 68.6/118 69.6/118

Practice facility:  

Address and Map:   8493 Fairway Dr., Beulah, MI 49617

Telephone:  231.882.4061   

Web:   www.clgolfclub.com




Quality Rating:  6/10      Value Rating:  8/10  


Considered the more up-scale of the two resort courses at Crystal Mountain, this William Newcomb layout features some nice elevation changes and beautiful vista from the top of the ski resort mountain. No, you don't play down the ski slopes and the lift towers are not on the fairways. They have plenty of land here for both golf and skiing. The course feels just bigger and bad-er  than the Betsie Valley course, with big shouldered fairways hemmed in by mature forests of pine and hard woods with plenty bunkering. It seems to play a good bit tougher too, partly due to the added length.  Ironically, there is not that much "mountain ridge" about the course except for the cart ride to the first tee and the last three holes. A lot of tee shots are slightly downhill but most fairways are relatively level for a "mountain ridge" course. The greens are  of medium sized and run at a conservative resort pace.  Of course you will find some spectacular holes here, particularly the great stretch of holes from seven to ten. The two par fives on the back, holes 14 and 18 are truly excellent holes with providing ample options for the golfer. The front of the 18th green is actually  sloped toward the middle making the front pin very difficult. The only complaint might be that there are just a few to many par 4s featuring the same theme. Not that there are any bad or weak holes here, just a few seem to blend together.


Architect:  William Newcomb (1992)  Par:  72

Yardage:  7007 6258 5700 4956  

Rating/Slope:  73.5 / 135 69.8 / 129 67.6 / 122 69.4 / 123

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  12500 Crystal Mountain Dr., Thompsonville, MI 49683

Telephone:  800.968.7686

Web:   www.crystalmountain.com




Quality Rating:  6/10      Value Rating:  5/10


Even though the Mountain Ridge course at Crystal Mountain Resort gets the accolades, they put a lot of work into the Betsie Valley course recently and it has slowly and steadily improved into a very pleasant course with lots of varied holes. Playing in part of the flood plain of the Betsie River this older and more traditional style course features classic holes and smallish greens. All throughout your round, you see the peaks of the mountain resort but never quite get to those slope like you do on the Mountain Ridge Course. Occasionally, you will glimpse a beautiful house hidden in the forest, but they are never in play. Watch out for these greens, even with a toned down resort stimpmeter, the greens feature more tilt and slope than its big sister making them perplexing. There are not nearly as many bunkers here as you will find on the Mountain Ridge course, but they don't need them. Good routing utilizing little valleys, water features and dense forests  gives you enough to deal with.  From holes twelve to the conclusion, you get the sense that this is the direction they want the course to go with a slightly updated classic course that fits nicely and seamlessly into the original design. The par 4 sixth hole is perhaps our favorite. You need to shape a tee shot into the beautifully framed fairway protected by a bunker and trees on the right and a water hazard running all down the left side.  The approach on 18 should feature the left side of the green since everything kicks right and right of the green will surely lead to a bogey.


Architect:  Robert Meyer (1977)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6567 5914 5064 

Rating/Slope:  72.0 / 132 68.4 / 121   69.2 / 121

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  12500 Crystal Mountain Dr., Thompsonville, MI 49683

Telephone:  800.968.7686    

Web:   www.crystalmountain.com




Quality Rating: 6/10      Value Rating:  7/10  


Located about thirty minutes west of Traverse City toward the Sleepy Bear Dunes. Front nine completed in 1982and the back nine was added in 1991. No review available.




Architect:     (1982/1991)    Par:  72

Yardage:   5370 4945  

Rating/Slope:  67.3/112 68.1/114

Practice facility:  Range and putting green

Address and Map:  6464 W. Empire Hwy, Empire, MI 49630 

Telephone:   231.326.5390    

Web:   www.dunesgolf.com



Quality Rating:  n / r      Value Rating:  n / r  


This par 72 expansive gem is laid over 842 acres just north of Charlevoix in the heart of summer golf capital land. Its sheer size and scope is breathtaking. Course designers Larry Mancour and Dean Refram's design first opened in 1992 but despite its beauty, it was allege to be too tough to play with sprawling and excessive bunkering. Since 1995, the course has been softened with the removal of many penal bunkers making way for more forgiving lines of play.  But don't think the course is now a push over, it remains a stiff test, even for accomplished golfers, just a bit more enjoyable. There are more than plenty bunkers remaining, but they may have softened hole 18 a little to much by the removal of the bunkers guarding the left hand side of the fairway. This blend of northern Michigan and Scottish style golf provides a golf experience unlike almost any other. The underwhelming clubhouse and paltry entrance to the course might lead you just drive by, but don't. This beauty is hidden away in the dune hills, wooded valleys and expansive meadows. Not until you arrive at the first tee can you begin to appreciate the golfing wonder you are about to embark on. The vistas, the serenity, the pure nature, the fascinating holes, all combine to reward your senses. The course doesn't bother to slowly introducing itself. On the very first elevated tee box, wow, a dangerous but stunning looking tee shot down into a valley where the river like fairway flows slightly uphill to a protected green. There are many more famous golfing courses and resorts in northern Michigan, but this under-appreciated  golf experience can carry its own weight and then some.


Architect:  Larry Mancour and Dean Refram (1992)    Par: 72 men / 73 women

Yardage:  6901 6493 6104 5392 5175  

Rating/Slope:   75/135 71/131 70/126 69.8/123 69.8/123

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green

Address and Map:  09031 Boyne City Rd., Charlevoix, MI 49720

Telephone:   231.547.4653    

Web:   www.dunmaglas.com



Quality Rating: 8/10      Value Rating:  7/10



Located right off of and actually visible from US-131, outside of Cadillac, Michigan, an hour south of Traverse City. This 1996 design from Mat Meyer is refreshingly different from your run of the mill cookie cutter courses. Clever routing through plentiful marshes and tree covered hills. Besides the double green shared by holes 9 and 18, the course is famous for the classic Eldorados in the clubhouse. With a solid layout and usually fine conditions, Eldorado can hold its own  against the other high end resort courses in Northern Michigan. It provides a natural, relaxing environment, with a delightful and fair design, all at a reasonable price. Right from the first hole, you encounter the primary feature of the course, a dissecting marsh fronting the green. These marsh hazards pop up all over the course and you will need to be constantly aware of them. The par 4 eighteenth is a fine finishing hole and a great example of the course's philosophy. You see a lot of scary marsh from the tee box. It borders all down the right side and then pinches in on the fairway, cutting short part of your landing areas.  You need a long and well positioned tee shot, preferably to the left side of the fairway, otherwise your approach will have to carry 160 to 200 yards of a marshy lake. Eldorado is a bit unheralded and as such, it is an unexpected pleasure sure to encourage you to return. 



Architect: Bob Meyer (1996)    Par:  72  

Yardage:  6836 6387 5880 5232 4923  

Rating/Slope:  72.8 / 137 70.2 / 128 68.2 / 117 70.6 / 127  68.4 / 115

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  7639 46 1/2 Mile Rd., Cadillac, MI 49601

Telephone:   231.779.9977

Web:   www.golfeldorado.com



Quality Rating:  7/10      Value Rating:  9/10  


Located in scenic Elk Rapids about twenty-five minutes north of Traverse City. This nine hole 1923 Donald Ross design is an absolute delight to play with fantastic views of Elk Lake with holes right up against the lapping waves.  It is all old style, but with views like this, who cares. Don't expect a big Donald Ross production here or lots of modern made contouring. The course is rather simple but there are still ample hand-cut nuances from an era long past that can be appreciated. The small saucer shaped greens have some sneaky break. Easy to walk.


Architect: Donald Ross (1923)    Par: 36

Yardage:   3075             

Rating/Slope:    33.9 / 111   /     /  

Practice facility:  putting green   

Address and Map:  724 Ames Sr., Elk Rapids, MI 49629

Telephone:   231.264.8891  

Web:   www.golfelkrapids.com


Quality Rating: 4/10      Value Rating:  8/10  


Just minutes from Traverse City located just south of the airport. A wonderful course that has always been popular with the locals. The underlying terrain was good enough that very little effort was needed to craft a course here other than to just lay it out over the wonderful sandy hills. At only 6100 yards, it is a bit short for a par 72 but the convenience and atmosphere will leave you with a good feeling. It does play tougher than the yardage even with only about a dozen bunkers. The fairways are a tad narrower than your resort style course and many run through the valleys and hollows over the topography. Hence, you often find yourself with an awkward lie if your miss the fairway by just inches. If you hit the fairway, ball tends to filter back to the middle. There are a few elevated and pedestalled greens so this too adds to the golf course's defense. If you can keep it in play, you will likely build your confidence quickly, especially with the quality greens here. They roll pretty true for old style saucer shaped greens even though the speeds are medium. The signature hole is certainly the par 4 seventh where from the elevated tees you look north across the hillside over the golf course to the clearly visibly Traverse Bay. Then you launch your tee shot down the nicely framed fairway which leads to another very elevated green. You can carry the ridge on the right near the green where the landing area opens a bit for the long hitters. The back nine continues the experience but perhaps at a slightly higher level. While tees and greens have a close proximately to each for walking, the many and significant elevation changes make it a tough walk for most.


Architect:     (1964)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6021 5674 4938 2932  

Rating/Slope:  68.8 / 116 67.0 / 114 68.6 / 119 n / r

Practice facility: iron only range and putting green

Address and Map:  1750 Townline Rd., Traverse City, MI 49696-4867

Telephone:   231.946.9180    

Web: www.elmbrookgolf.com


Quality Rating:  6/10      Value Rating:  9/10  


Located in Manton just 35 minutes south of Traverse City right off the US-131. This is perhaps the biggest secret in our area due to its sort of middle of nowhere location.  This fantastic course by Bruce Matthews has all the bells and whistles of big destination courses but without the price. It is owned by the good people of Manton themselves and they don't advertise much. Right from the first hole you know you bought into a very nice tee time. One is not the best hole here, but the gentle left to right par 4 could be a signature hole at many middle tier courses. The course features a mix of tree-lined and prairie type hole across rolling hills with a few lakes and excellent bunkering surround sophisticated greens complexes. The "barn hole" tenth features a dramatic downhill tee shot where the old barn is a good target line and gives the hole its character. A big tee shot is required since the hole is relatively long and the well protected green is elevated a good bit. In fact, the whole back nine seems to step up a bit in detail with holes weaving in and out of dense pine forests which demand more precision from the tee. A tough finish awaits all golfers with a 200 yard plus downhill par three followed by the beastly par 4 eighteenth. It is long with a lake on the right and the wind always seems to play a factor. Driver-long iron or fairway metal will likely be your play, so hit the fairway and make a solid second shot, the green complex is more receptive than it looks. The odds are that after your round, you will compare this course, dollar for dollar, against your favorites back home and find there is no comparison. You will be back.


Architect:  Bruce Matthews III (1998)    Par:  72

Yardage:   6800 6474 6030 5277  

Rating/Slope:   72.6/130 70.5/124 68.3/122 70.0/122

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  6867 East 16 Road  Manton, MI 49663

Telephone:   231.824.3631    

Web: www.emeraldvale.com


Quality Rating: 8/10      Value Rating: 10/10  


Forest Dunes Golf Club18 unique holes by Tom Weiskopf, about 15 minutes southwest of Grayling, Michigan. Close to 80 minutes from Traverse City, but its one of those course you might consider on the way up or down. This expansive course has many great golf holes routed in natural sand dunes and an Audubon Signature Sanctuary forest of pines and ferns. Much of the course play through the solitude of the forest while others twist through the dunes in a sort of links like fashion. Weiskopf masterfully routed the holes to seamlessly fit into the environment. Much of the course has a bit of a rugged and wild feel which features dunes fashioned into waste areas surrounded and punctuated by wild grasses. Additional definition comes from the splashy, numerous and deep bunkers which are everywhere. While the terrain sports mild elevations, the utilization of every inch of elevation change coupled with natural contouring of tees, fairways and greens, makes the course feel more rolling than the underlying terrain. The par 3 ninth is completely over open water with little protection from the wind and usually features a small audience up at the clubhouse. If you fail to take enough club, you might opt for a stiff drink at the turn. The tenth hole contains a split fairway that at first glance might not appear so. Study your yardage book well. Sixteen is called "hell's acre," a brutal 231 yard par 3 over scrub brush and dunes. There is about twenty yards of an apron in front of the green but anything short of that, you can forget about par and perhaps bogie. Don't ruin your round here. Seventeen offers a great chance for birdie with a short par 4 if you can stay our of the bunkers. Eighteen presents a perfect ending with a gorgeous and exciting par 5. Even though there is water behind the green, going for it in two is a good play for the long hitter because behind the green and before the water is a bunker and about ten yards of a collection area you might not be aware of. They are very proud of their greens here and rightfully so. They are large, undulated, always guarded and lightning fast and smooth. A first class full practice facility and clubhouse are at your disposal, so take advantage of it. They have a great par three 19th hole to settle bets.  It is over water to an extremely undulated green with a bunker set right in the middle, par usually will win the bets.  Four sets of tees and occasionally a fifth tee for juniors. Pricey and bring some bug spray during bug season.


Architect:  Tom Weiskopf   (2002)    Par:  72

Yardage:  7141 6579 5920 5032  

Rating/Slope:   74.8/142 72.3/137 69.4/125 69.8/128

Practice facility:  full grass range, grass short game area and putting green  

Address and Map:   6376 Forest Dunes Dr., Roscommon, MI 48653

Telephone:   989.275.0700

Web:  forestdunesgolf.com


Quality Rating: 9/10      Value Rating: 5/10 


Located just outside of Traverse City and one of Jack Nicklaus's most difficult tests. Menacing pot bunkers, terraced fairways and tucked away smallish elevated greens means you better bring your A-game. This is the flagship course of the three at the Grand Travese Resort and is often the host of big tournaments. It looks linksy-like with open holes framed by mounding and lots of tall grasses. But the heavily guarded greens are protect by perpendicular hazards and bogey inducing hollows which mostly eliminates the ground games. Nicklaus designed this course when he was going through his "make it really hard" golf architecture faze. Most courses play easier than they look. Well, this one really plays harder than it looks. It has a very high slope rating and has been the undoing of many fine golfers. Nevertheless, if you keep that in mind, you can really enjoy this unique course. There are a lot of fantastic holes here framed by deep pot bunkers and gnarly hollows. The Bear is given credit for beginning the golf course craze in upper Michigan and soon after its construction, other premium designs began to show up. Despite its age, it is every bit the destination course it has always been.


Architect:  Jack Nicklaus (1985)    Par: 72

Yardage:  7078 6618  6129 5281  

Rating/Slope:   76.3/148 73.2/144 71.2/140 73.4/139

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  4400 Grand Traverse Resort Blvd., Williamsburg, MI 49690

Telephone:   231.534.6000  

Web:   www.grandtraverseresort.com


Quality Rating:  9/10      Value Rating:  5/10 


The first designed by William Newcomb. Not quite as polished as the sister courses at Grand Traverse, but it has plenty of great holes with the same conditioning as the other big ticket tracks at a cheaper rate and easier to get on. Over the years, they have done a great job of raising the level of play at this course to keep up with the bigger named Bear and Wolverine. Spruce Run features slightly tighter driving holes with wonderful yet conservative greens complexes. The modest mounding and contouring give it a very natural and traditional look. Most the hole were found in the terrain, as opposed to the Bear and Wolverine, which imposed their holes on the terrain. Except for three or four less than stellar holes, Spruce Run could be one of the top tracks in town.  And even though it is not the destination course that the sister course are, it can certainly keep a golfer's feet to the fire and is a fair test for any tournament.


Architect:  William Newcomb (1979)      Par:  70

Yardage:  6304 5696  4726  

Rating/Slope:   71.1/134 68.0/127 67.4/121

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  4400 Grand Traverse Resort Blvd., Williamsburg, MI 49690

Telephone:  231.534.6000  

Web:   www.grandtraverseresort.com


Quality Rating:  7/10      Value Rating: 7/10 


Gary Player crafted a very fun resort style course here at the Grand Traverse Resort. The Turtle Creek Casino is also located just down the street.  Wide fairways and large undulated greens in a nice mix of marsh holes and hilly wooded holes. Definitely a couple strokes easier than the Bear and a blast to play, but not easy by any stretch. The ample bunkering framed with wild grasses gives the place a bit of a wild look. Conditions are always good but the greens are a little resort-style slower than you would expect. Gary Player must have wanted your round to end in a flourish and it does in spectacular fashion at 17 and 18. The par five 18th is easily the most sophisticated on the course. It plays down hill from the tee which seems easy enough,  but there is OB and high grass on the right, a bunker on the top of the landing area and a road down the left. There are two big bunkers dead ahead, but their distance is an illusion.  99% of golfers cannot reach them from the appropriate tees and they are really designed to challenge your second shot if you tee shot falls short. The Resort's gleaming signature hotel is the backdrop of your approach.



Architect:  Gary Player (1999)      Par:  72

Yardage:  7043 6487  5888 4941  

Rating/Slope:   74.5/138 71.7/135 68.8/129 68.8/125

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  4400 Grand Traverse Resort Blvd., Willaimsburg, MI 49690

Telephone:  231.534.6000   

Web:   www.grandtraverseresort.com


Quality Rating:  8/10      Value Rating:  6/10 


A very scenic course about 35 minutes east of Traverse City outside of Kalkaska. The layout is more in the traditional vein  with lots of elevation changes.




Architect:  Bob Grim/Ron Green  (1992)      Par:  72

Yardage:   6628 6274 4964  

Rating/Slope:    72.2/133 70.6/129 68.4/122

Practice facility:  

Address and Map:  3003 Hagni Rd NE, Kalkaska, MI 49646

Telephone:   231.258.3244

Web:   www.grandviewgolf.net


Quality Rating:  5/10      Value Rating:  6/10  


This 2004 John Robinson design is the sister and neighbor course of the Chief and is slightly more popular with a little different flavor. Hawk's Eye dramatically captures the essence of the "up north" feeling this part of Michigan is famous for.  Located in the City of Bellaire, half way between Traverse City and Gaylord, it occupies some of the highest and most beautiful terrain in the area with many scenic views from high atop the hills and down in the valleys. The holes are framed by tall grassy slopes and ridges full with nature and heavy pines which, at times, can help keep your ball in play but at other times, forces awkward shots from hanging lies. More importantly, the ridges and slopes providing great isolation from other holes lending a sense of privacy in your own golf world. While more forgiving off the tee than the Chief with wide fairways, there remains plenty of trouble out there with gnarly grassy hollows, deep grass sided bunkers and gorges to punish poorly struck shots. Elevation is a constant element and one always seems to be teeing off down hill or approaching a elevated green. While the fairways have their fair share of undulation, they give you a decent level lie, relative to the terrain, to approach the large greens.  There is some housing on the course and they are trying to sell more wooded lots. But the sparse housing is nicely set back far from the course and the homes that are built are pleasing to look at.



Architect:  John Robinson (2004)    Par:  72

Yardage:  7011 6341 5655 4655  

Rating/Slope:  74.6 / 140 71.6 / 138 67.7 / 125 69.3 / 126

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  5820 Shanty Creek Rd., Bellaire, MI 49615-9634

Telephone:   231.533.4295

Web:  www.golfhawkseye.com


Quality Rating:  7/10      Value Rating:  7/10


Heathlands Golf CourseReview not available.




Architect:  Jeff Gorney (1997)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6569 6030 5336 4437  

Rating/Slope:  72.3/139 69.1/128 65.1/120 66.4/112

Practice facility:    

Address and Map:  6444 Farr Road, Onekama,  Michigan  49675

Telephone:   231.889.5644

Web:   www.heathlands.com


Quality Rating:  n/r      Value Rating:  n/r  


CURRENTLY CLOSED AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL OPEN AGAIN SOMEDAY. A early and unique course by Tom Doak, just west of Traverse City.  What is unusual about this fine course is that the front side plays like a links style course with a fair assortment of pot bunkers, tall grasses over  a good bit of elevation changes. The back maintains the elevations but cuts through a thick wooded forest of pine.  All the holes are smartly designed with a fair mix of let it rip holes to ones requiring careful placement. Lots of people say it's like two courses in one and that may turn some off.  The skinny is that the design is seamless in the flow of fairways, contouring and greens complexes, tying the whole thing together nicely. Several greens have large undulation requiring approach shots to the right section of the green to avoid three jacks. The par 5 eighteenth is the most unique hole on the property and is a great way to end the round. It is a 3 shot hole for sure and divided by a small lake. Your tee shot must not only be accurate in terms of distance off the tee but must also steer clear for the marsh on the left and woods on the right, all to just set up you next shot over the lake. And how much of the lake should you cut off?  The more the better because the green sits on a cape snug against the same lake. While conditions are not as pristine as perhaps other high end north Michigan layouts, it's still quality with a certain rugged charm. Besides, linksy courses are supposed to be a bit raw.


Architect:  Tom Doak (1989)    Par:  72


Rating/Slope:    /     /     /    /     /

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  5555 Arnold Rd., Williamsburg, MI 49690






Quality Rating:  n / r      Value Rating:  n / r




Once the stomping grounds for Walter Hagen. No review available.




Architect:  Hubert Morris    (1965)    Par: 70

Yardage:  6445 5936  5158  

Rating/Slope:   70.2/130 68.7/126 69.2/117

Practice facility:  

Address and Map:  10586 U.S. 31 South, Interlochen, MI 49643

Telephone:    231.275.7311

Web:   www.interlochengolf.com


Quality Rating: n  / r      Value Rating:  n /  r  


Back nine designed by William Newcomb.  No review available. 




Architect:     (1968)    Par:

Yardage:  7000 6500 5500  

Rating/Slope:   72/130 72/125 74/123

Practice facility:  

Address and Map:  8151 Pineview Dr., Mancelona, MI 49659

Telephone:   231.585.6800

Web:   www.lakesofthenorth.com




Quality Rating:  n / r      Value Rating:  n / r    




1Now called Bahle Farms.




Little Traverse Bay Golf ClubNo review available.




Architect:  Jeff Gorney (1992)    Par: 72

Yardage:  6895 6413 5890 5061  

Rating/Slope:   72.8/138 70.3/130 68/123 69.5/120

Practice facility:    

Address and Map:  995 Hideaway Valley Dr., Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Telephone:    231.526.6200

Web:  www.ltbaygolf.com



Quality Rating: n/r      Value Rating:  n/r    


Lochenheath is perhaps one of the most eye popping course in all of North Michigan, located just minutes from downtown Traverse City. Originally designed to be part of a private massive development of high end homes that ran into financial and environmental problems years ago, thankfully, all is good now. The new ownership group separated the golf from the development and brought back the fine conditions and glory. The Steve Smyers design featured dramatic and complicated holes on the bluffs overlooking  the stunning East Branch of the Grand Traverse Bay. Plenty of elevations, wind swept fescue, strategic bunkering and eye-popping scenery. The vast majority of holes are nothing short of spectacular, and right from the first tee you see why the course opened to such fanfare. But a few holes are sort of  funky and could use some revision. Even before the development failed in 2008, holes 13 and 14 were abandoned due to their great distance from the club house. Apparently they planned to build homes around those holes but never got around to it. Their outline is still visible on the satellite image. New holes were put in to replace the abandoned holes closer to the clubhouse but the new holes don't posses the design qualities displayed elsewhere and upset the flow of the course a bit. Then there is the par 4 sixteenth. The tee shot landing area falls off steeply to the right  and a portion of the green has an unusually large false front, making the hole particularly nasty and unfair. If you let those minor transgression pass, holes 17 and 18 will provide a fantastic finish with serpentine fairways, hemmed in by wooded slopes, all leading to sophisticated greens complexes. Lochenheath has a premier location with naturally terrific terrain overlooking a big, beautiful body of water. We might be nit-picking a bit, but the course is so close to perfect, everyone just wants it to reach its potential. Fixing a few minor human errors will go a long way to allowing nature to shine through at its fullest. Unfortunately, Lochenheath has some of the highest greens fees around and very limited twilight or discount rates.



Architect:  Steve Smyers (2001)    Par: 72

Yardage:  7239 6770  6024 5219  

Rating/Slope:   76.6/147 74.4/144  70.0/137 72.0/134

Practice facility:  full grass range, putting green and expansive short game area  

Address and Map:  7951 Turnberry Cir., Williamsburg, MI 49690

Telephone: 231.938.9800

Web: www.lochenheath.com



Quality Rating: 8/10      Value Rating:  7/10



No review available.




Architect:  Gary Pulsipher (1994)    Par:  71

Yardage:  6517 6127 4836  

Rating/Slope:   72.1/132 69.9/127 69.6/124

Practice facility:    

Address and Map:   4797 Grant Hwy., Manistee, MI 49660-9545

Telephone:    231.398.0123

Web:   www.manisteenational.com



Quality Rating:  n/r      Value Rating:  n/r 



No review available.




Architect:  Jerry Matthews (2000)    Par:  71

Yardage: 6654 6321 5806 4571  

Rating/Slope: 73.0/147 71.6/144 69.0/128 68.5/114

Practice facility:    

Address and Map:  4797 Grant Hwy., Manistee, MI 49660-9545

Telephone:  231.398.0123

Web:  www.manisteenational.com



Quality Rating:  n/r      Value Rating:  n/r 




(231.228.6000) Formerly "King's Challenge." In 2009 and 2010 this Arnold Palmer signature course underwent a serious makeover with a new ownership group. Many new and improved tees were added improving the playability and angles that plagued the course previously. More bunkers and collection areas were added to the updated greens. The course has all the signatures of a Palmer course, splashy bunkers, wetlands, risk reward holes and a good number of holes where a draw can come in handy. A portion of the course borders an old ski resort yielding some spectacular elevation changes but there are also plenty of holes where Palmer's hole routing finds the flatter terrain. The flatter holes seem to possess more bunkering and strategic hazards to make up for the lack of elevation change. The par 5 eighth hole is the signature hole where you can actually see the shipping channel that runs between the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou Islands. A big drive, I mean a real big drive, might find the fairway bonus, leaving your ball at the bottom of the hill in position to go for the green in two. They are still working on the course a bit and the new changes will take some time to grow in. No question, the course is better than it has even been, even it in its peak heydays as the "King's Challenge."



Architect:  Arnold Palmer  (1997/renovations 2010)    Par:  71

Yardage:  6668 6257  5824 5214 4701  

Rating/Slope:   72.0 / 133  69.8 / 129  67.7 / 123 65.7 / 109   68.0 / 112

Practice facility:  putting green and hitting cages  

Address and Map:  4600 Club Dr., Cedar, MI 49621

Telephone:  231.228.6000    

Web:   www.manitoupassagegolfclub.com


Quality Rating:  7/10      Value Rating:  7/10


30 minutes west of Traverse City, this 27 hole complex is golf and nothing else but golf.  An expansive course laid out over tons of acres. The first 18, White/Blue was designed by Jerry Matthews in 1993 and Ray Hearn added the third nine. Perhaps the best combination is Blue/Red, but its all good and they fit together very nicely. Each nine offers something a little different. All offer a wonderful mix of  wooded holes and prairie type holes playing over hills and through marshes and woods. The usually have some of the best and fastest greens around. The par 4 seventh hole on the White nine is perhaps the most difficult hole in all of Traverse City and many consider it unfair. Unless you are at your absolute peak, play it as a par 5. Decent price for northern Michigan and usually not very crowded. It can provide a very nice sense of serenity under the clear blue sky.



Architect:  Jerry Matthews / Ray Hearn (1993)    Par: 72

Yardage:  6695 6372 5870 5070 (white/blue)

Rating/Slope:  72.4 / 130 71.0 / 126 68.7 / 118 69.6 / 120 (white/blue)

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map: 7568 Ole White Drive, Lake Ann, Michigan 49650

Telephone:  231.275.5500

Web:   www.mistwoodgolf.com


Quality Rating:  7/10      Value Rating:  8/10  


The sister course of Champion Hill but with a totally different style. Pinecroft is more of a classic course but it features stunning views of Crystal Lake which alone are worth the price of admission. The course just seems to get better and better as you go along and especially as the course winds its way uphill to the finale where the views are the best. A tad on the short side, but lots of fun to play. The whole property seems to lie across elevated western slopes that face Crystal Lake which is why you have so many great views here. With lots of downhill tee shots and tee shots to narrow sloping landing areas, accuracy is at a premium especially with not many really long holes. The smallish greens sometimes have nasty undulations so nothing is as easy as it might look. It might not be your premium fare resort type course with big fairways and giant greens,  but with good conditions and fantastic views, they get lots of play.  Plus the design has a lot of uniqueness about it with holes you can't quiet compare to somewhere else.  

Architect:  Stone/Norman/Cole/Carlson      (1992)      Par:  72

Yardage:  6447 5939 4975  

Rating/Slope:  70.9/124 68.7/121 68.5/118

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:  8260 Henry Rd., Beulah, MI 49617

Telephone: 231.882.9100    

Web:   www.pinecroftgolf.com



Quality Rating:  6/10      Value Rating:  9/10


A very fine course located in the Houghton Lake region, over and hour from Traverse City. Built in 1994, this PGA Professional Ken Green design brings fun to a sophisticated layout without being to penal. Very good conditions plus unique holes equals a worthy stopover when in North Michigan.  The Quest has nice elevations changes punctuated by mature tree lined fairways. Throw in some interesting bunkering and a splash of marsh hazards and you have about all the elements you need.



Architect:  Ken Green  (1994)      Par:  72

Yardage:  6788 6546 6059 5708 5020  

Rating/Slope:   72.9/136 71.7/130 69.9/122 73.5/126 69.4/117

Practice facility:  grass range, putting green and short game area

Address and Map:  119 Questview Dr., Houghton Lake, MI 48629

Telephone:    888.422.4516

Web:  www.questgolfcourse.com




Quality Rating:  8/10      Value Rating:  9/10  



The highest regarded course of the four golf courses at the Shanty Creek resort and one of the top tracks in Northern Michigan. Filed with boundless nature and upscale signature Tom Weiskopf treatment.  This course has it all, the views, the design features and the nuances.  Expansive greens and sophisticated green complexes. One of the most notable feature is that the tee shot selected landing areas tend to reward or feed your ball to a better position. Sometimes the best line you see from the tee is not necessarily the best line. Local knowledge and repeat play are really needed to benefit from very nice feature. The best stretch of holes is 12,13 and 14. The par four 12th is a scenic downhill tee shot to a green tucked away behind a grove of trees to the left.  The par four 13th is the most unique hole on the course with many options to play.  You can lay up short to the left avoid all the trouble but the most exciting option is the carry the bunkers and ridge to the right of the sentinel tree and your ball will gently roll down to the green. The par three 14th is an Irish style hole where your view is partial obstructed by tall grasses and hillside knobs. There is more room than it seems. 18 is a marvelous par 5 where three solid shots are needed to score on this par 5. Your tee shot should favor the right side as the fairway kicks your ball back to a great center fairway position.  A tee shot that is even a hint left of the fairway brings the hidden gorge into play which dissects the fairway.  Your second shot is blind up over a ridge.  Be cautious of your distance because a pond begins to encroach upon the fairway about 100 yards out. 

Architect:  Tom Weiskopf (1999)     Par:  72

Yardage:  6989 6528 5963 5315  

Rating/Slope:   73.6/144 71.2/136 69.3/126 74.8/145 70.5/128

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map: 5820 Shanty Creek Rd., Bellaire, MI 49615

Telephone:   800.678.4111   

Web:   www.shantycreek.com



Quality Rating: 9/10      Value Rating:  6/10




About equal distance from Traverse City, Petoskey and Gaylord Michigan. Arnold Palmer put together a strong test of mountain golf in the big Northern Michigan resort of Shanty Creek. Shanty Creek boast 4 courses. This course plays through very dense forests with challenging elevation changes.  Many holes are expertly cut into the valleys between hillsides, lending to a wonderful sense of privacy. Right from the git-go you have a fantastic downhill par five. It is easily reachable in two, but you have to hit the left side of the fairway in order to go for green which is protected from the right by trees and bunkers.  Even though many tee boxes are elevated, you often find yourself playing a second shot to an elevated green which tends to make the course longer and harder than you think. Outstanding par 3s and par 5s.  The are some beautiful homes tucked way up in the wooded hillsides and there are some great lake views on the front side. The eighteenth is a great Palmer go for broke hole, beware of the semi-false front.


Architect: Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay (1985 )    Par:  72  

Yardage:  6764 6269 5801 4953  

Rating/Slope:   73.6/137 71.4/130 69.4/121 69.6/124

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green  

Address and Map:   5820 Shanty Creek Rd., Bellaire, MI 49615

Telephone:   800.678.4111   

Web:   www.shantycreek.com



Quality Rating: 8/10      Value Rating:   6/10  


Shanty Creeks second effort that was designed to compliment and out-do the Summit course. For the most part, the course is favored over the Summit course with the natural seclusion of most holes but it is still third of the four courses. A few truly outstanding holes once propelled this course to the top of the Michigan must play list, but times have changed. For a "Mountain" course, they sure have a lot of flat holes. And there are just to many sharp dog legs holding the course back. Careful calibration is needed on some tees or you will find your drive going straight through the fairway into the woods. Most would agree that the course really takes off on the back nine. No one will dispute that the par five 11th "Z" hole is awesome, from the tee shot all the way to the crescendo approach to the most sophisticated green at Schuss Mountain.  Like the rest of the Shanty Creek courses, conditions are usually very good and the greens are great.



Architect:  Warner Bowen/William Newcomb (1972)    Par:  72

Yardage:  6922 6394 5383         

Rating/Slope:    73.4/127 70.9/122 71.2/126

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green

Address and Map:   5820 Shanty Creek Rd., Bellaire, MI 49615 

Telephone:   800.678.4111   

Web:   www.shantycreek.com



Quality Rating:  6/10       Value Rating:      7/10


Certainly the best value of the four Shanty Creek Resort courses and also a very underrated course for the area. Professional design does not go out of style and this is a fair example. The Summit course occupies some of the finest terrain they have and it shows. Lots of wonderfully rolling elevations with classically designed holes fit into the landscape. While lacking in any really awesome holes by today's standards, it none-the-less has a very solid mix of holes. There a few blind tee shots so be sure to scale the observation platforms to get the right lines. Of the four Shanty Creek course, the Summit is the one that favors beginners and juniors. But even an accomplished golfer can find an enjoyable round, unless he finds himself behind those very beginners and juniors. But with sparse crowds on non-holidays, you can easily get a round in under four hours. 6260 from the tips is a tad on the short side, but with sneaky greens and some tricky elevations, everyone can find a challenge. It does not matter if this is the bottom of the Shanty barrel, it is maintained as well as the rest of the Shanty Creek courses and the greens are excellent, so go have a blast and save some money.



Architect:  William Diddel  (1965)      Par:  71

Yardage:   6260 5910 4679  

Rating/Slope:   70.3/125 69.0/122 67.5/113

Practice facility:  grass range and putting green

Address and Map:   5820 Shanty Creek Rd., Bellaire, MI 49615 

Telephone:   800.678.4111   

Web:   www.shantycreek.com



Quality Rating:   5/10      Value Rating:  8/10  


Sugar Loaf Golf CourseOne of the best values in the Traverse City region, hands down. Only 35 minutes from downtown Traverse City, this classic course from C.D. Wagstaff remains in its original 1966 forms and for good reason. The design is so solid there really isn't any reason to change it. Driving by the course you see the two holes bordering the road which are sort of flat and a small airport runway catches your eye.  You might consider continuing on your way, especially with all the other options in the region. Don't. Those holes occupy the flattest part of the course but actually give a nice reprieve from the ample elevations facing the golfers. Sugar Loaf has apparently survived its failed ski resort  efforts and its chairlift remnants can be seen in the distance around the golf course. Now they can focus on maintaining the golf course. The course makes you work your tee shot left and right to avoid strategic bunkers or to fit the tree lined corridors of the holes. But the signature feature of the course has to be the sensational greens complexes which hearken back to Ross or McKinzie. There are a few seriously pedestal greens that were favored in the 1930 and you could be hitting a an 80 yard shot fifty feet in the air. Besides the thoughtful routing and protection of greens, the putting surfaces themselves have some of the most bulge and roll you will find in northern Michigan which allows for some cool backboard shots that feed the ball back to the pin. I am not sure the back tees were part of the original design but they sure make the course plenty tough and long for even the longest hitters. The proximity to Lake Michgan ensures that wind will often be a factor and temperatures will be a few degrees lower than more inland locations. Watch out for holes 14 and 15, they are tight as can be and making par is pretty impressive. Sure there are a few rough spots on Sugar Loaf, but for the price, they can easily be forgiven.

Architect: C.D. Wagstaff (1966)    Par:  72 mens /74 womens

Yardage:  6813 6124 5134  

Rating/Slope:   73.6/130 70.7/129 70.3/120

Practice facility:  grass range, shot game area and putting green  

Address and Map:  4512 S Townline Rd., Cedar, MI 49621

Telephone:  231.228.2040    

Web:   www.sugarloaftheoldcourse.com


Quality Rating: 6/10     Value Rating:  10/10


The design skills of Bruce Matthews bring you a modern hidden gem in the quiet hills of Kalkaska. Ample nature with a lot of elevations and some unique holes. Don't be fooled by the less than modest club house, there is a real good course back there with good routing, modern greens and contouring that can really challenge your game. Timberwolf won't be mentioned in the same sentence with the expensive resort type courses around, but for the price your pay and lack of crowds, it is one of the best bargains around. The greens are usually medium paced but in good condition. Accuracy is a must on the signature holes at the par 3 eleventh, where a long iron or hybrid is the play to the elevated green hard against a hill, and the beautiful but tight uphill par 4 twelfth.   The sixteenth hole is a par 3 that looks and play like a par 4. At over 250 yards, a driver or 3 wood is what most will play if you hope to reach the green. Fortunately, you are hitting from high above the green. You can lay up short to the fairway but then you will need to pitch over the massive bunker which surrounds the green. In recent years they have put a lot of effort to upgrade the course, especially its length. It was a tad on the short side originally, but the new length is very noticeable and definitely longer than the listed yardages. Some of the newer tees need to grow in a little or they need to let more air around them by removing some trees. Even their website is as under whelming as their clubhouse.

Architect: Bruce Matthews III (1997)    Par:  71

Yardage:  6477 5548 4862  

Rating/Slope:   72.3/134 67.5/119 68.4/123

Practice facility:  putting green  

Address and Map:  5646 M 72 SE, Kalkaska, MI 49646

Telephone:   231.258.5685    

Web:   www.timberwolfgolfclub.com



Quality Rating: 6/10      Value Rating:  9/10


Located in the Otsego Resort immediately east of I-75 in Gaylord, about 75 minutes from Traverse City.  It takes almost five minutes by cart to get to the first tee. That is because this place is laid out over the hills east of Gaylord and you need to cross part of a ski resort to just get to the tee. The first two holes are very solid and you might think to yourself that this seems like a pretty nice place to golf. Then it starts on the par 4 third holes and from there on out, you are in a golfing world apart. The Sturgeon River Valley provides a breathtaking canvas upon which this course is presented. Gorgeous holes are laid out over all sort of elevations, utilizing the terrain expertly. Everywhere you are surround by wilderness and the dense lush forests of the Sturgeon River Valley.  At times you get glimpses from the high peaks providing a nearly thirty mile view across Michigan. Beyond the incredible terrain and isolation of each hole, the actual golf architecture does not disappoint. Robbins and Koch pulled off a near golf miracle which combined natural wonder with inspiration design. There is not a single weak hole here and perhaps not even a "good" hole, just great hole after hole.   Almost every hole  could a be their signature hole with expertly contoured fairways flowing to  fantastic greens complexes and smart bunkering. As tough as the terrain is, the fairways are ample enough to give even the average golfer a pleasant experience. Yet there is plenty of interesting features to challenge the accomplished golfer on each hole. One thought kept popping up in our minds as we worked our way around the course was how are they going to top the hole we just played? Amazingly, they seem to do that all day and just when we figured it can't get any better, they top it all with astonishing holes 16 and 18. Tough holes, fun holes, incredible holes.  It is all here.


Architect: Rick Robbins/Gary Koch ( 2002)    Par:  72

Yardage:  7347 6733 6305 5085  

Rating/Slope:  74.1/134 71.9/130 70.0/125 69.0/115

Practice facility: range and  putting green  

Address and Map:  696 E Main St # M32, Gaylord, MI 49735    

Telephone:   800.752.5510

Web:      www.otsegoclub.com



Quality Rating: 9/10      Value Rating:  5/10


True North Perhaps one of the most eye popping courses in the area, this once all private, then public, and now private again course unfortunately does not allows public play since 2012. But we will leave it up for a while anyway. Jim Engh's unique architectural stylings were a smash hit at the mid-Michigan Tullymore golf course. He brought his talents north, way north. It is a good 90 minutes drive from Traverse City and defines the northern edge of our map.  Like Tullymore, the plentiful signature clam shell bunkers give the course its unique look and help define the strategic design. Unlike Tullymore, which is a relatively flat course, True North has ample elevations. The complex occupies some of the same highland terrain the Harbor Springs ski resorts occupy. Fortunately, reasonably wide fairways and lots of downhill tee shots help soften the course and allow you to enjoy the pristine forests and clear skies. The unique par 5 eighteenth hole provides a short cut to the green.  But you will need a big drive to the left landing area and a solid hybrid or three wood to get home in two.  Going right is far safer from the tee but you virtually lock yourself into a tension filled three shot hole, no bargain either.



Architect:  Jim Engh   ( 2003)    Par:  72

Yardage:   7027 6350 5597 4834 

Rating/Slope:   74.5/148 71.6/135 67.7/121  69.4/120

Practice facility: grass range and  putting green  

Address and Map:  2500 True North Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740    

Telephone:   231.526.3300

Web:   www.truenorthgolf.com



Quality Rating: 9/10      Value Rating:  5/10 


Located just east of Kalkaska, about 30 minutes from Traverse City. No review available.





Architect:  Joe Roeski (1974)    Par:  71

Yardage:  6285 6027 4751  

Rating/Slope:   71.5/125 70.5/122 68.3/119

Practice facility:  putting green  

Address and Map:  1030 County Road 612 NE, Kalkaska, MI 49646

Telephone:   231.258.9691

Web:   www.twinbirchgolf.com



Quality Rating: n/r      Value Rating:  n/r




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