Home » Feature Story

Discover Golf Digest's highest ranked public courses in Michigan

Jason Scott DeeganBy Jason Scott Deegan,
Senior Staff Writer
Forest Dunes golf course - No. 9
View large image
| More photos
Golf Digest ranks Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon fourth in the state of Michigan. (Brandon Tucker/TravelGolf)

ROSCOMMON, Mich. -- Michigan can claim to be the epicenter of public golf in America. There's somewhere north of 800 courses open to the public, more than any other state.

And many of the pick of the litter are world-class clubs. Of the top 25 golf courses in Michigan ranked by Golf Digest, 13 are public. Five of the best -- no. 4 Forest Dunes Golf Club, no. 9 Tullymore Golf Club, no. 10 the Greywalls Golf Course at Marquette Golf & Country Club, no. 13 Black Lake Golf Club and no. 15 Eagle Eye Golf Club -- offer tee times at GolfNow.com, making them more accessible and affordable than ever.

Forest Dunes Golf Club: With Forest Dunes G.C., architect Tom Weiskopf wove a magical risk-reward routing through a unique sandy setting in remote Roscommon on the cusp of a national forest.

There are no cookie-cutter holes, just a grand mix of long and short par 4s lost in the trees. The par-3 ninth and par-3 19th hole (yes, an extra hole!) finish in the shadow of one of the state's best clubhouses.

A new owner is expanding this Adirondack-style lodge into a boutique hotel to accommodate overnight guests.

Tullymore Golf Club: Located in Stanwood, west of Midland, Tullymore follows a similar storyline as Forest Dunes: It's a great layout in an elegant natural setting, sculpted by an underrated national designer, with a massive, modern clubhouse to boot.

The 13,500-square-foot clubhouse cost $7 million to build, money well spent to complement such a strong design. Jim Engh's 7,148-yard course, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season, crisscrosses 13 different wetlands and the Shinglebolt Creek with seven bridges.

The course goes out in a beatable par-35 sequence, home to three par 3s in four holes and two short par 4s at no. 3 and no. 9. It comes home in par 37, with three strenuous par 5s in the final six holes.

Greywalls Golf Course at Marquette: Greywalls looks more Canadian Rockies than Midwest.

This dynamic Mike DeVries design slides over and around piles of exposed granite just minutes from downtown Marquette in the Upper Peninsula overlooking Lake Superior. After two treacherous starting holes, Greywalls settles into a dangerously delightful rhythm, where no two holes are the same, and every shot must be calculated correctly.

The two finishing holes are a bit controversial -- I've heard the short par-3 17th called a throwaway hole and the easy, par-5 18th out of character with the rest of the course -- but those who criticize are only nitpicking at one of the best.

Black Lake Golf Club: Architect Rees Jones did a masterful job designing the 7,046-yard Black Lake Golf Club across 300 acres of pristine forest north of Gaylord in the spring of 2000.

When researching green fees of the top 100 courses, Golf Digest tabbed Black Lake in the top 10 -- no. 9 nationally -- for best bang for your buck. The par-3 14th, the "Sahara hole," is probably the most recognizable with its massive bunker stretching more than 170 yards from the tees to the green.

"The holes were here; we just had to find them," Jones said. "We strive for holes blending with the natural terrain. There is nothing artificial or contrived at Black Lake. We were trying to build an old-style course. You'll notice we don't have mounds or moguls. We just have sweeps and natural grades."

Eagle Eye Golf Club: Located in Bath, near Lansing, Eagle Eye Golf Club looks and plays like a Pete Dye design for a reason.

Dye protege, Chris Lutzke, borrowed from his diabolical master in almost every way, right down to the island green at no. 17, a replica of the famous par-3 17th hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

The bookend par 5s at no. 9 and no. 18 require sharp shot-making around the pond that separates them. This is a brawny test good enough to host the annual Michigan PGA Championship.

Click here for Golf Digest's complete Michigan rankings.

More photos

Eagle Eye golf course - 17th teeThe Greywalls course at Marquette Golf Club

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.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment