Midwest Golf Trips


Those in the Midwest - where is your go-to spot for a golf trip within driving distance (say anywhere from 2 hours from your location to 7ish hours)? Do you head to Michigan, drive down to the STL area, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc.? Trying to come up with some good spots for trips in the next couple of years and I wasn’t sure if people had preferences based on their past experiences.

For now - we’d be traveling on a slight budget, so places that aren’t $150-$200 every round are preferable.


If you want to go very budget friendly you can do Gull Lake View which is just outside Kalamazoo, we do a trip there every year with a large group and a large handicap spread and everyone has a good time. Also, there are some good courses around Grand Rapids (also very fun city), Pilgrims Run, Thornapple Pointe, St. Ives, Tullymore.


I’m from SE Michigan, so I’m either going to Grand Rapids (short weekend, 1.5 hour drive) or Northern Michigan (long weekend, 4 hour drive). It depends how many people you travel with and the time of year, but you can get some great deals at the following places in N. Michigan-

Treetops in Gaylord, MI - Masterpiece, Signature, Tradition, Premier, and Threetops are all on property

Boyne Highlands - Donald Ross, The Moor, The Monument, Crooked Tree
+Arthur Hills, The Heather (+22.26/golfer per round)
Bay Harbor and Petoskey (+surcharge $26 ~ $90) <-- more expensive

A-Ga-Ming Resort- Kewadin, MI - Sundance, Torch, Antrim Dells


I’ve heard awesome things about GR. Those are the courses you would recommend in that area?


In addition to the ones SirPatrick_1 recommended above (Pilgrims, Thornapple, Tullymore), I like the following in Grand Rapids area. Listed in order of shortest to longest drive from downtown GR:

The Mines
Diamond Springs
Hawkshead Links

One clarification: I’ve only played GR courses during a single overnight stay. I’ve never tried to do a “stay & play” deal if that’s something you’re interested in.


Yes, those are the ones that I’ve played in GR. Tullymore & St. Ives are probably an hour north, you could stay there and play those two courses though. Pilgrims run is closer to GR and Thornapple & the Mines that @JRfore8 mentioned are even closer to downtown GR. I haven’t done any trips to northern Michigan yet so I can’t speak to those but I’ve heard great things.


Grand Rapids area is awesomely underrated. great little city with a really solid nightlife

i did a “DeVries Trip” last May. Played Kingsley Club (they are willing to accommodate you if you make a friendly phone call), stayed in Traverse City. headed down next morning and hit up Pilgrims Run. then stayed two nights in downtown Grand Rapids. then played Diamond Springs and The Mines in GR area

it was an awesome trip.


Can you obtain access or do you want recommendations for public / resort golf only?


Lake of the Ozarks area courses in mid-Missouri are very playable and affordable. The Cove (RTJ design), The Ridge, Old Kinderhook, Osage National (Palmer design) are all under $100


I joined a group last year that goes to Glade Springs in West Virginia every year. You stay onsite where they have a lodge with 2 courses. There is a 3rd course that you have to drive to but we only made the trip off the main property once for a “practice round”. The courses are solid, especially the Cobb Course and they let you bring your own booze onto the course (huge money saver) even though they have a cart girl selling beer on the course.

The onsite accommodations consist of “manor houses”. I think each house has two floors and you essentially rent them out by the floor. Each floor has about four rooms with 2 beds each and they open up to a shared living area that has a big living room and full kitchen.

Hard to beat it for the money.


From Chicago, routinely go north to Wisconsin up I41/43. Play a range of quality courses. Thunderhawk, Brown Deer, Fire Ridge, The Bog, Washington County, The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, Whistling Straits (Irish and Straits), Blackwolf Run. All within 4 hours. Venture a little west and play Links of Lawsonia as well.

Also go from Chicago to lake Geneva all the way to Wisconsin Dells and play Geneva National, Grand Geneva, Hawks View, The Oaks, University Ridge, Legends at Bergamont, Trappers Turn, Wild Rock, all the way to Sand Valley and Sentry World a little further north in Stevens Point.


If you’re looking in Chicagoland, Prairie Landing in West Chicago, Arrowhead and Cantigny in Wheaton, and Skokie are all great clubs that aren’t $150 per round. Plus you can play Cog Hill among others. If you’re really looking for a trip out to Iowa from the east, I recommend TPC Deere Run in Silva, IL; Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City, IA; and Harvester Golf Club in Rhodes, IA. Des Moines is neat, cheap, small city and is plenty of fun in the summer.

  1. Harvester near DSM (#1 public in iowa)
  2. arbor links in nebraska city (on site cottages & very tough course)
  3. ironhorse (troon course in KC)


Last year we did a guys trip to Michigan. Sunday @ Arcadia Bluffs, 36 at Forest Dunes on Monday, and Tullymore on the way back to Chicago on Tuesday. If i could do it over again I would have tried to play the Loop @ FD both ways, but otherwise it was a great trip.

This year we have a trip to Wisconsin planned for August. Sunday @ SentryWorld, 36 at Sand Valley on Monday, and we finish up with the short course at Sand Valley/Lawsonia Links on Tuesday. Can’t wait.


Giants Ridge in Biwabik, MN is phenomenal. The two courses there, The Legend and The Quarry, are always ranked inside the top 10 courses in the state (and rightfully so). The Quarry is built on an old sand/gravel mining operation and the architect did a great job sculpting the course from the land. Rates to play there aren’t too bad either; last summer our group played both courses in the same day and paid $150, lunch was also included. Not too far from there is another top 10 MN course, The Wilderness. All worthy of a weekend getaway.

The drive up from Mpls/St. Paul is about 3 hours, but well worth it. Giants Ridge has cabins to rent for the weekend that can accommodate larger groups (8-12) and the views of the landscape are breathtaking. I highly recommend these courses if you’re on a budget and want to play some premier Minnesota tracks!


I am in STL and we have made the trek down for the RTJ trail, there are some decent public courses in STL that are worth playing but not sure it warrants a trip down. If you can somehow manage to get onto some of the private courses around here it could be a damn fun trip. Fox Run is tough, long, and frustrating, but I love it.


When’s it playable? I’d consider going up there the right time of year.


Wisconsin/Chicago courses usually open as soon as the snow clears. But anywhere from May to November are the best times with June/July being the best before the August/September humidity. Also June and July you can take advantage of summer solstice.


I am planning a trip to this area in June. Kingsley and Arcadia Bluffs are on the agenda and we were hoping to get on Crystal Downs, but hear that is basically impossible. Tullymore is a possibility, and have a connection to Crystal Mountain resort. We are coming up from Ohio, so we are trying to get on Inverness in Toledo on the way up too, fingers crossed. Any other suggestions or thoughts on the courses/area?


Battle Creek CC is probably out of your way but worth checking out. Belvedere GC in Charlevoix is one of my favorites.