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Before it gets cold, soak up some colorful fall golf in Michigan

Jason Scott DeeganBy Jason Scott Deegan,
Senior Staff Writer
Treetops Resort - fall colors
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The fall colors are wonderful at Treetops Resort in the Gaylord Golf Mecca. (Courtesy of Gaylord Golf Mecca)

Summer golf is grand in Michigan, but fall might be the best time to tee it up. The courses are more affordable with fall rates kicking in.

You can play some Top 100-type courses for half the price you'd pay in summer. The golf courses are less crowded, too. And the weather can be downright balmy, at times.

If you time it right, the courses will explode to life with fall colors right before your eyes. The views are especially stunning standing on one of the dozens of elevated tee boxes up north. On a sunny day, the scenery can stretch for miles with shades of orange, yellow, brown, green and red only Mother Nature can paint.

As long as you call ahead to confirm the greens haven't been aerified yet, or they've recovered from the punching, fall golf in Michigan remains a delightful way to celebrate autumn's charms.

Northern Michigan

The playing window narrows quickly in northern Michigan, but there are still plenty of afternoons where it warms up nicely after a brisk morning.

The bad news is there are too many choices to consider. The good news is you actually can't go wrong with most of the region's major resorts.

Trees line the fairways of Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa in Thompsonville, Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire, the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Acme, Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor Golf Club at the Inn at Bay Harbor in Petoskey and Garland Resort in Lewiston.

Anywhere in the Gaylord Golf Mecca -- but especially Treetops Resort -- is a prime place. The best advice is to actually play the most expensive layouts -- Treetops, Bay Harbor Golf Club, Black Lake Golf Club and True North Golf Club -- while they're more affordable.

Grand Rapids and beyond

Within an hour north or south of Grand Rapids, there are plenty of fall favorites.

The best of the bunch has to be Pilgrim's Run Golf Club in Pierson and Tullymore Golf Club in Stanwood. They're kept in top condition all season, and their layouts are memorable and fun.

Thornapple Pointe Golf Course and Thousand Oaks Golf Club are surprisingly natural considering how close they are to the heart of Michigan's second largest city.

Just a bit further in mid-Michigan, Bucks Run Golf Club in Mount Pleasant is always a beauty along the Chippewa River and Fisher Lake, but it's even better with all the colors.

Metro Detroit

Getting away from the concrete jungle of Detroit leads to the pristine forests of Oakland and Livingston counties.

Oakland's brightest stars in fall are two 27-hole facilities, Shepherd's Hollow Golf Club in Clarkston and Copper Hills Golf & Country Club in Oxford. The Majestic at Lake Walden near Hartland in Livingston County qualifies as another versatile 27-hole property worth a fall tour.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Blink, and you might miss the fall season in the Upper Peninsula.

It's worth noting, though, that the Greywalls Course at Marquette Golf Club, TimberStone Golf Course at Pine Mountain Resort and Wild Bluff Golf Course at Bay Mills Resort and Casino in Brimley are as good as anywhere in the Midwest.

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Garland Lodge - Swampfire golf course - 1st

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

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