Arcadia Bluffs to Lost Dunes – the best golf courses in Michigan 2024

best golf courses in Michigan
Michigan may not have a coastline but it has plenty of freshwater. Credit: David Mark

Michigan is one of the great golf destinations in the United States of America. 

It’s nestled within the Great Lakes region of the USA but boasts a wonderfully diverse landscape, from those  majestic shorelines, to serene forests and bustling, vibrant cities such as Detroit, and Grand Rapids. Michigan’s four distinct seasons also provide an incredible and varied backdrop for every kind of outdoor enthusiast while its  people pride themselves on  their warmth and hospitality, making a trip to play the best golf courses in Michigan a joy. 

Make no mistake, Michigan is a real golf haven and if you’re itching to make the trip to the Great Lakes State, here’s our list of the 10 best golf courses in Michigan.

Best golf courses in Michigan
Detroit is Michigan’s biggest city. Credit: William Duggan


1. Crystal Downs Country Club

Nestled along the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan, Crystal Downs was designed by the great Dr Alister Mackenzie and deservedly leads the way in our list of the best golf courses in Michigan. MacKenzie turned his attention to Crystal Downs, having just completed iconic Cypress Point in California and before he laid out 18 iconic holes in Augusta, Georgia. The golf course itself occupies a narrow strip of sandy land between the Lake Michigan and inland Crystal Lake. It boasts expansive views and is frequently buffeted by an invigorating breeze. The par-4 5th hole and the par-5 8th are frequently cited among the best golf holes in the United States. Famously private, it isn’t any easy one to access but you must try. 

Best golf courses in Michigan, Crystal Downs
Crystal Downs is one of the best courses in Michigan. Credit: Crystal Downs

2. Oakland Hills, South Course

Founded in 1916, it’s no exaggeration to say Oakland Hills Country Club is one of the most important golf clubs in the United States. The famed South Course at Oakland Hills is unquestionably one of the best golf courses in Michigan, having played host to no fewer than six US Opens, three PGA Championships and the 2004 Ryder Cup. Walter Hagen, PGA Champion on five occasions, was the club’s first head pro while the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Ben Hogan have won on the South Course, which some refer to simply as The Monster. Members of Oakland Hills understandably see themselves a guardians not only of the history of their club but also the wider game of golf in the United States


Oakland Hills South Scorecard
The scorecard for The Monster, Oakland Hills

3. Arcadia Bluffs, Bluffs Course

You can’t fail to be mesmerised by Arcadia Bluffs and the iconic Bluffs Course which comes in at No 3 in our list of the best golf courses in Michigan.  Offering unparalleled views of Lake Michigan, Arcadia Bluffs is home to two stunning links style golf courses which are undulating and open, but The Bluffs Course stands apart. Set in 240 acres, Arcadia Bluffs opened in 1999 with architect Warren Henderson having been handed an extraordinary piece of land on which to put a golf course or two. The Bluffs Course is all wind-swept native grasses and sod-walled bunkers, with vast, open  fairways and sprawling green complexes. And the good news is that the Bluffs Course is open to the public seven days a week from April to the end of November.

Best golf courses in Michigan, Arcadia Bluffs
The Bluffs Course offers unparalleled views of Lake Michigan. Credit: Arcadia Bluffs

4. Kingsley Club

Set among the great pine forests of Northern Michigan the Kingsley Club is a retreat in every sense of the word – a place where the balance between seclusion and beauty brings with it a real sense of harmony. Coming in at No 4 on our list of the best golf courses in Michigan, Kingsley Club sits on land shaped by glaciers and is widely viewed as one of the best modern course designs in the United States, thanks to the creativity and originality of architect Mike DeVries. DeVries applied the lightest possible touch in designing the Kingsley Club, using the natural contours and characteristics to make the most of this incredible setting. 


Kingsley Club Scorecard

5. Forest Dunes Golf Club

Set in the stunning Huron National Forest, Forest Dunes is certainly one of the best golf courses in Michigan and one of America’s most peaceful and serene golf experiences. Designed by former Open champion Tom Weiskopf, Forest Dunes is full of  risk/reward holes, with the front 9 slicing through corridors of red and jack pines and the back 9 dominated by rugged native sand areas and scruffy underbrush, prompting memories of Pine Valley. The par-3 16th, which measures more than 200 yards and demands a carry over dunes is a memorable short hole but each of the finishing stretch are excellent. 


Forest Dunes Scorecard

6. Lost Dunes Golf Club

Nestled in the bustling town of Bridgman, Michigan, Lost Dunes brings with it a unique sense of escape, a release from the pressures of modern life. The great Tom Doak has surpassed himself in Michigan, designing 18 distinctive holes on a reclaimed sand quarry. Located at the south-eastern tip of Lake Michigan, this is a rollicking adventure of a golf course with panoramic views, elevated tees and huge undulating greens. It is certainly one of the best golf courses in Michigan. 

Lost Dunes Course Map
A course map for Tom Doak’s Lost Dunes. Credit: Renaissance Golf Design

7. True North Golf Club

True North Golf Club comes in at No 7 on our list of the best golf courses in Michigan and having been carved into woods of the northern part of the state. Designed by architect Jim Engh. From the tips, True North, measures more than 7,000 yards and prides itself on offering a unique golf experience. 

Best golf courses in Michigan, True North
True North Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in Michigan. Credit: True North

8. Arcadia Bluffs, South Course

We have already explained what makes Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club one of the premier golf experiences in Michigan, but although it sits somewhat in the shadows of the Bluffs Course, the South Course also deserves a mention. Sitting a mile to the south of the Bluffs Course, this 311 acre site is all sandy soils, native grasses and firm, fast conditions.  for firm and fast conditioning, The South Course has two distinct nine hole loops and the distinct lack of trees and presence of a stiff breeze not only afford incredible views but the feel of links golf too. The greens are vast –  averaging  9,400 square feet – and are often square, while the bunkering is bold. The South Course at Arcadia Bluffs is golf from a bygone era , rugged, wild and wonderful. It certainly deserves its place among the best golf courses in Michigan. 

Best golf courses in Michigan, Arcadia Bluffs
Many of the greens on the South Course are square. Credit: Arcadia Bluffs

9. Forest Dunes, Loop Black Course

Acclaimed architect Tom Doak is not afraid to take the road less travelled and in northern Michigan, he has laid out a reversible golf course. Paying tribute to the origins of our game in St Andrews, where The Old Course can be played forwards and backwards, golfers can play The Loop, following the Black Course one day and the Red, the next. It’s not only great fun, but it’s also one of the best golf courses in Michigan. 


Point O Woods Scorecard
The scorecard for Point O’ Woods

10. Point O’ Woods Country Club

Closing our list of the best golf courses in Michigan, is Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club, which is located in the stunning south-west of the state. Laid out through 200 acres of oak, maple and pine trees, this Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design is traditional in every sense of the word with the architect describing it as “my best American course.” Always immaculately presented, Point O’Woods  offers a blend of classic design elements and modern challenges. It stands as a testament to the timeless allure of our game and the best of Michigan.


As you can see from our list of the best golf courses in Michigan, the Great Lakes state has some stupendous golf destinations and some incredible variety from north to south. From breathtaking landscapes to challenging designs, the best golf courses in Michigan have more than enough to test even the best golfers in the world but also make those who fall someway short of that level feel very much at home.


Which are the best public golf courses in Michigan?

Michigan is home to some outstanding public golf courses, including Arcadia Bluffs , Forest Dunes Golf Club, True North Golf Club – all of which are mentioned above. As well as those, Treetops Resort, Greywalls at Marquette Golf Club and Bay Harbor Golf Club are all excellent too. 

How many golf courses are there in Michigan?

Michigan is home to more than 800 golf courses, designed by the likes of Donald Ross, Tom Fazio, and Jack Nicklaus.

When is the best time of the year to play golf in Michigan?

Michigan’s golf season typically runs from April to October, with peak times in the summer months. The state’s diverse landscape provides stunning backdrops for golfing, from scenic lakeside courses to lush woodland settings.

Are there any famous golf tournaments held in Michigan?

As we have said above, Michigan has played host to US Opens, The PGA and the 2004 Ryder Cup but it is also an annual stop on the PGA Tour, with the Rocket Mortgage Classic taking place at the Detroit Golf Club.


Michigan Golf Courses Map

CRYSTAL DOWNS SCORECARDCrystal Downs Golf Club Scorecard

Claire's career as a journalist has seen her regularly write about some of the best restaurants, hotels and destinations in the world. She has also interviewed the past three Prime Ministers and has been a Digital Editor overseeing a number of newspaper titles. She is the founder of the content marketing company Smiths & Sons.

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