Golf Digest says golfers can find more "fun" playing Michigan golf courses
Thank you, Golf Digest.
You have validated what I’ve told people for years.
California and Michigan are the two best golf destinations in the USA, especially when it comes to the fun-o-meter.
In its latest feature, the magazine rated the 50 most fun public and private courses in the country (along with 20 in the British Isles). California – with all that diverse land, all those people and all that great weather – was the obvious choice for No. 1, placing 13 courses in the feature. Michigan came in well … um … tied for second with New York with nine courses apiece. But when you digest the numbers, eight of New York’s fun courses are private, very private. You and I will never step inside their pearly gates.
Michigan, on the other hand, had the most public offerings on the list with seven. They are the Threetops Course at Treetops Resort in Gaylord (No. 9), Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club (No. 17), Forest Dunes Golf Club (No. 26), The Gailes at Lakewood Shores Resort in Oscoda (No. 29), The University of Michigan Golf Course in Ann Arbor (No. 38), Timberstone at Pine Mountain in the Upper Peninsula (No. 44) and Elk Ridge Golf Club in Atlanta (No. 48). For the most part, I applaud these selections.
Threetops gets high marks for how fast you can play it and how beautiful it is. Forest Dunes (see photo above) just feels magical with its mix of trees, lakes and sand. The Gailes is a personal favorite. Did I mention I have my only hole-in-one there? U-M’s course plays short, but Alister MacKenzie’s green are dazzling and perplexing at the same time. Elk Ridge remains surprisingly affordable and off-the-radar, considering how good it is. Most golfers I know love Pine Mountain but I know one national writer who despises its finish as all that’s wrong with golf course architecture.
Arcadia Bluffs is the only questionable entry in my mind. I’m guessing Golf Digest loves its scenery along Lake Michigan and its linksy feel – notice almost every other links-like course makes the list, a la Bandon Dunes and the Nebraska and North Dakota courses (although the difficult duo at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin are noticeably absent). However, I know people who don’t care for Arcadia Bluff’s difficult greens. Me? I haven’t played it enough to formulate an opinion yet.
The only other knock on Michigan’s rankings are its two private courses, The Dunes Club in New Buffalo (No. 6) and Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfurt (No. 33), are very private as well.
In another post, I’ll chime in about other “fun” courses I’ve played on the Golf Digest lists (link to the Golf Digest feature here).
In my opinion, this list is much more important than any “best of” ranking Golf Digest has ever done. These courses epitomize what this game should be about, not hosting tournaments, being incredibly hard or having a stuffy, high-brow membership.
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