Public Golf Courses in Grand Rapids
The best public golf courses in Grand Rapids offer great golf without the long drive to reach the popular golf resorts of northern Michigan.
Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo are great towns to visit. There’s plenty of nightlife in both. Kalamazoo is a fun college town, home to Western Michigan University, and Grand Rapids’ downtown breweries – The B.O.B. and Founders Brewing Co. – have earned the state’s second-largest city the nickname “Beer City USA”.
On of the best public golf courses in Grand Rapids that’s close to downtown is The Mines Golf Course, a fun Mike DeVries design built upon a unique sandy site. Farther north in Pierson is Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club, the area’s finest offering. The DeVries collaboration has an “up north” feel and another interesting routing as a rare par-73 golf course. And if you can’t get enough of DeVries, there’s always the Diamond Springs Golf Course in Hamilton well south of the city. It gets high marks from users on Golf Advisor who think it’s a great value play. The same thoughts are conveyed about the Cedar Chase Golf Club, a Bruce Mathews III course in Cedar Springs close to Pilgrim’s Run.
The Golf Club at Thornapple Pointe is both blessed and cursed by its location southeast of downtown. The Thornapple River meanders next to several holes, providing a beautiful setting. That land, though, is squeezed into a high-traffic area adjacent to Interstate-96 near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Locals lovingly call Thornapple Pointe “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” since train tracks also divide the property in half. The L.E. Kaufman Golf Course in Wyoming is perhaps one of the best public golf courses in Grand Rapids / West Michigan. Golfers fear its fast greens but love its classic parkland feel. The Meadows wins as the best “tournament” course. The linksy Dr. Michael Hurdzan design – home of Grand Valley State University’s golf teams – has hosted 24 boys and girls high state championships since 2003 and nine NCAA Division II men’s and women’s championships.
Kalamazoo’s golf scene is considerably smaller, although it does have the region’s only true golf resort, Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort in Augusta. The Scott family has been champions of Michigan’s golf industry more than five decades. The East and West courses, dating back to the 1960s, are located next to the spacious golf villas where golf groups gather and stay. In the late 1980s, Gull Lake View owner Charles Scott added Stonehedge South and led the purchase of the respected Bedford Valley Golf Club in nearby Battle Creek. It took two decades after Stonehedge North opened in 1995 to expand again. Stoatin Brae debuted in 2017, a scenic effort designed by Renaissance Golf (minus Tom Doak) on one of the highest points in Kalamazoo County. The other option worth mentioning would be Angels Crossing in Vicksburg, a course known for its big greens designed by Matthews III. Between the two cities, there’s enough golf to last a lifetime.
There are enough public golf courses in Grand Rapids and Southwest Michigan to satisfy every golfer. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the underrated golf scene of the area and locking down a great tee time in Grand Rapids.