Top 5 Golf Courses In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Over a century ago, back room dealings gave the State of Michigan possession of the Upper Peninsula which is not contiguous with the rest of the state.  At the time, most residents of Michigan viewed this new territory as backwoods wilderness with no value whatsoever.  Times have greatly changed, and the Upper Peninsula is now emerging as a premiere travel destination.  This is especially salient within the realm of golf.

Golfers are now discovering that the Upper Peninsula contains some of America’s most stunning courses — without the prices associated with other national treasures like Pebble Beach.  Due to the area’s northern geography, during summertime there is sufficient light for golfing from 5:45am all the way to 11:00pm.  This part of Michigan is being further developed with each new summer season, and for 2010 there are now five courses within the Upper Peninsula which are now within the top courses to be found anywhere in the country.


TimberStone is a semi-private course which takes full advantage of the area’s natural rock formations.  The site has over 300 feet of vertical rise, and renowned designer Jerry Matthews took full advantage of the surrounding beauty when mapping out this course.  TimberStone is a difficult course, but it is not overly cumbersome even when taking into consideration the uphill portions.  There are four water holes on the course adjacent to two man-made lakes.  The highlight is the par-3 17th hole which features a jaw-dropping 110 foot vertical drop from the tips.  TimberStone was once named the third best upscale public course in America by Golf Digest, yet it still remains relatively undiscovered.

Wild Bluff

Wild Bluff is situated on a spectacular site, and it rivals the best courses down in Michigan proper including Arcadia Bluffs and Bay Harbor.  The course is also adjacent to the Bay Mills Casino which allows for exciting nightlife after a long day on the links.  The course starts off with a rush with an uber-scenic first hole which has an amazing descending view of Lake Superior’s Waishkey Bay.  Water views can be had on 11 holes at Wild Bluff with the most picturesque vantage point being from the 18th hole.  The course was designed by Mike Husby, and it remains on-site as its Director of Golf.  Although elevation drops in excess of a hundred feet are common, Husby managed to avoid the course becoming laborious.  Husby further boasts that Wild Bluff represents the best $50 round to be had in the United States.

Hessel Ridge

Hessel Ridge was built upon former hunting grounds, and it is conveniently located adjacent to a small general aviation airport.  This course is friendly to amateurs, and it features wide fairways and gentle inclines.  Holes were chiseled out of the land as it originally existed allowing for maximum enjoyment of the area’s natural beauty.  Hessel Ridge is also one of the most affordable golfing options in the U.P with $42 weekend fees and $32 weekday rates which include the cart.

Chocolay Downs

Chocolay Downs is home to the world’s largest putting green which encompasses an incredible 29,000 square feet.  Two-putting on this green is actually quite an achievement.  The course is adding to their list of records with the 8th hole which is a part of their recent expansion.  This whole is a rare par 6 and plays 1007 yards making it the longest hole in the world.  The closest competitor in the United States is a 841 yard hole in Locust Grove, VA, and in Japan there is a hole which measures 964 yards.  At a time it was feared the Japanese were going to lengthen this hole in pursuit of this record, but it became apparent they were fighting a losing battle seeing the 8th at Chocolay Downs has another 400 vacant yards to expand into if necessary.  This course is also unique in that all fairways are isolated and none are cookie-cutter parallel as seen in most all other courses.

Red Fox Run

Red Fox Run is a relatively mild course featuring two varied nine hole courses playing 6000 yards.  Although being player-friendly, the course is deceptively difficult leaving players desiring to take another shot at it.  Red Fox Run has several nice water views, and it boasts the same level of nice scenery as experienced at other top level U.P courses.  It is also reasonably priced.

The next time you are planning a golf outing, keep the U.P. of Michigan in mind.  You will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.



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