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Golf Courses in Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula: Challenging and Beautiful

The Best Golf Courses Up North in Michigan

Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula is home to some of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses in the world. From top-ranked resorts to pristine private courses, there are golfers’ paradises here for all skill levels.

Designed by Mike DeVries, this course has the classic “Up North feel.” Every hole is secluded in the Michigan Pines and the sloping makes it a true challenge for golfers.

Pilgrim’s Run Golf Course

Golf Advisor recently published a list of the top-ten “value driven” courses, and Pilgrim’s Run was number one in the nation. The Pierson course is part of a Mike DeVries trifecta that includes The Mines and Diamond Springs, all of which offer architecturally intriguing golf for budget-conscious players.

Located about 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids in Pierson, the course is built on a large tract of land and opened for play in 1997. It has a private club feel from the start, with arch-shaped stone walls flanking the entrance and an ornate starter ‘shack’.

Most holes are framed by majestic trees, and the fairways are generous and well-groomed. The par-3 18th is a classic risk/reward finishing hole that invites players to bomb drives over a pond toward an elevated green. The entire layout is a treat to the eye, and the course’s maintenance crew takes great care in preparing it for play. Golfers can enjoy the pristine playing conditions for under $50 per round.

Chestnut Hills Golf Course

If you’re a golfer, then you’ve probably heard of the Chestnut Hills Golf Course. This nine-hole course is owned and operated by the Philadelphia Cricket Club. It has received national attention, including a top-two finish in a Golfweek list of America’s Best Short Courses. The fact that the course even exists, given the intense demand for developable land in northwest Philadelphia, is a testament to the generosity of its owners and their commitment to public service.

Tucked into the slopes of the mountain on which it is situated, this semi-private 18 hole golf course offers a true mountain golfing experience. Players can enjoy a daily connection with nature, whether it’s the sounds of croaking frogs or spotted fawns with their mothers. There are also pristine ponds and reflecting ponds throughout the course that make for a relaxing atmosphere.

The Mines Golf Course

This unique course sits above old gypsum mines, five minutes from downtown Grand Rapids. Its rolling terrain features mature hardwoods, and its sandy soils create a challenging playing environment.

Throughout the course, golfers will find a wide variety of shot values that ask them to consider their ability to work the ball around the green or get close with a wedge. This course is a great way to test your skills without breaking the bank.

The Mines is one of three Mike DeVries designs in the area, along with Pilgrim’s Run up the road and Diamond Springs a bit farther north. They are all excellent options for a round of golf and a tasty beer or two!

A new restaurant and event center are scheduled to open at the Mines this spring. It will be called the Gypsum Event Center, a reference to the old gypsum mines that the course sits on. The new facility will also offer a menu that includes sandwiches, pizza and burgers.

The Bear Golf Course

The Bear is a golf course that is not for the faint of heart. It measures 7,078 yards from the tips and has a course rating of 76.3 with a slope of 148 making it one of the hardest courses in Michigan. The Bear was designed by Jack Nicklaus who is a legend both as a player and course designer.

The course is surrounded by wild nature with a chain of lakes, wetlands, hardwood forests and fruit orchards. It features Scottish terraced fairways and tiered greens with a variety of grasses and moguls.

Its dramatic landscape of fescue-edged bunkers, expansive ponds and larger greens makes The Bear a challenging yet fun course for all players. It is a course that reveals its intricacies and craftsmanship the more you play it.

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