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Northern Michigan Vacations: Northern Michigan has become a golfer's paradise with pristine fairways cutting through thick forests, amazing lake views, and challenging hilltop greens. Breath in the northern air and relish in the peace and quiet at these top-rated courses only a short drive from downtown Traverse.
Grand Traverse Resort
Three signature courses, each designed by golf legends, cover the rolling terrain surrounding Grand Traverse Resort. The courses have all scored accolades by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, and the Jack Nicklaus–designed course, The Bear, hosted Michigan’s best golfers in the Michigan Open for decades. 100 GRAND TRAVERSE VILLAGE BLVD., ACME, 231.236.1577, GRANDTRAVERSERESORT.COM.
Crown Golf Club
An option for serious golfers, offering an 18-hole championship layout course that’s packed with challenging shots and great views. Try the front nine if you’re still in early-season form; low handicappers can contend with some serious hills, hazards and dog legs on the back. Finish up with dinner at the laid-back Mulligan’s Pub and Grill, located on site. Crown offers some decent discounts late spring and early fall, so look out for those to keep your budget a little under par. 231.946.2975, GOLFTHECROWN.COM.
The best choice for beginners and casual golfers, Bay Meadows offers two nine-hole courses—one, an exclusively par-3 course; the other, a slightly longer executive course that has a few par 4’s and 5’s thrown in. If you’re a true beginner, or need to brush up on your skills, Bay Meadows also offers a driving range, practice putting greens and private instruction. Rates as low as $12 for nine holes walking. 231.946.7927, TCBAYMEADOWS.COM.
A full USGA, par-72, 18-hole course that has the distinction of being one of the region’s oldest—and most beautiful—public courses. The high, rolling hills afford some breathtaking views of Grand Traverse Bay (the panoramic view at the sixth hole is spectacular), and a full clubhouse with dining, beverages and snacks round out the experience at day’s end. Rates are reasonable at just $15 a round if you’re walking, or $29 with a cart. 231.946.9180, ELMBROOKGOLF.COM.
If you’ve always wanted to get close to the sport’s roots, Lochenheath offers one of the few Scottish links-style courses in Northern Michigan. Set on a scenic bluff that was once home to a cherry orchard, this consistently top-rated public course can be quite challenging—so beginners and hackers, take note. But with a well-stocked pro shop, outstanding restaurant and attentive staff, this is a perfect place to be if your idea of vacation is spending as much time on the course as possible. 231.938.9800, LOCHENHEATH.COM.
Interlochen Golf Club
If your past golf outings in TC have kept you in or around town, you may consider changing things up with a trip to Interlochen. This 18-hole course cuts through a mature Northern Michigan woods, offering an enchanting mix of sun and shade, views of local wildlife and plenty of serenity—even if your game isn’t cooperating. Other perks include a practice green, driving range, pro-shop and clubhouse with full dining room. Voted one of the 100 best golf values in America. 231.275.7311, INTERLOCHENGOLF.COM.