By Brandon Tucker,
Michigan's southwest coast along Lake Michigan is a popular vacation spot for those just across the lake in Chicago. It's easy to see why Chicagoans flock here: less traffic, noise and plenty more value than Chicagoland. It's tough to find a Southwest Michigan golf course that asks more than $50-$60 per round.
The land here isn't as severely undulating as it is in Northern Michigan, where golf resorts double as ski hubs in the winter. But the real draw is all the charming little beach towns like Saugatuck, Grand Haven and Holland.
Just about 20 miles east of Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids is Michigan's second largest city and, despite all the doom-and-gloom of Michigan's auto industry, is thriving thanks in part to new medical research facilities. There's an abundance of golf, including Rees Jones' Thousand Oaks Golf Club and local favorite Pilgrim's Run Golf Club.
The Southwest hosted the very prestigious Western Amateur from 1971-2008 at Point 'O Woods C.C. near Benton Harbor, where the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Justin Leonard have all won.
Considered the "art coast" of Michigan, Saugatuck and Douglas are home to a handful of worthy courses like Arnold Palmer's Ravines Golf Club and Clearbrook Golf Club. Also check out West Shore Golf Club, one of the 10 oldest golf courses in Michigan, dating back to 1916.
Grand Haven is a popular beach town for its history, art galleries and shopping. Grand Haven Golf Club, set on rolling, sandy soil, boasts the moniker of "Michigan's Pine Valley."
Classically designed golf courses abound around Southwest Michigan, but some new courses are turning heads, including Angel's Crossing Golf Club, Island Hills Golf Clubnear Kalamazoo and Diamond Springs.
If you're willing to head just a little north, you'll encounter Tullymore Golf Club at the St. Ives Resort, which is stuck somewhere between the northern Michigan courses and the southwestern collection.
Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids is your closest major airport and flies as far as New York City, Atlanta and Houston. The southwest coast is also a two to three-hour drive from Chicago and Detroit.
July 22, 2009
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.