It is no surprise that Michigan is one of the best golf states in the country. With the most public golf courses in the nation, it would be difficult to believe otherwise. What might surprise you is where you can find some of the best courses in what natives call the “Mitten.” While most look at Northern Michigan for top-tier golf, Jackson County in Southern Michigan is drawing in crowds from across the Midwest for its abundance of stellar greens and unbeatable rates.
Home to over 20 different courses, Jackson County has the second highest number of golf courses per capita in the entire country, making it the ideal destination for a great getaway weekend. Jackson is home to several PGA pros which include legendary Mike and Dave Hill, and current PGA pro Brian Stuard. Even Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Greg Norman have played golf in Jackson County. Courses vary in difficulty, providing a fun and challenging experience for any skill level. Champion level play at an everyday value is what the area is known for, making it the ideal travel destination for any golf advocate.
Advantages of this destination come in many different packages. Located on the crossroads of I-94 and US-127, Jackson County can be easily accessed from every direction. Whatever course you decide to tee up on, you will never be far from the charm of Jackson’s local restaurants and breweries.
For those tagging along in hopes of finding good food and brews, Grand River Brewery in downtown Jackson has you covered. This remodeled 85-year-old building provides a picture-perfect atmosphere to reminisce on your day on the greens. Its award-winning Monkey Mouth IPA is reason enough to pay this establishment a visit.
FOUR MUST-PLAY COURSES
The Grande Golf Club is one of Jackson’s top courses. Offering 18 holes of spectacular play, this course will challenge golfers of any skill level. A fairly new club, this Raymond Hearn design does not disappoint for a second. Expect lush forest backdrops while driving down these challenging greens. Features of this club include an award-winning practice facility and driving range, pristine course conditions, and beautiful scenery.
Arbor Hills has been challenging its visitors for almost a century. Designed by Arthur Hamm in 1925, Arbor Hills was once a private club but is now a full-serviced public course. Each of its 18 holes present a different challenge, highlighted by #12, a daunting Par 5 which was once deemed the hardest hole in the county. Arbor Hills comes complete with a 10-acre driving range, putting and chipping practice areas and a fully stocked golf shop.
The Cascades Golf Course has a lot of history behind it, opening all the way back in 1929. Often presented as one of Michigan’s best public clubs. The Cascades features long fairways and difficult water traps, designed to make the player strategize before every stroke. Golf Digest awarded the greens four stars! After hitting The Cascades, take a short drive to the Ironbark Brewery. This unique destination puts the focus on beer. With over 40 brews to choose from, including nine favorites on tap, it’s safe to say your thirst will be quenched. Food can also be ordered and will be brought next door from Kibby Cobb Deli. You and your friends will feel right at home in its relaxed atmosphere.
Hankerd Hills Golf Course brings a Northern Michigan aesthetic to the northeast corner of Jackson. This family owned-and-operated course promises country club caliber play. Its 27 holes are littered with narrow-driving fairways, water hazards and pesky bunkers. Its full-service clubhouse will prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner, making it a perfect visit any time of the day. Take advantage of Hankerd Hill’s affordable rates to enjoy a day on the greens without breaking the bank.
Before your next round, take in some of Jackson’s rich history. The area is a treasure-trove of both Michigan and American history that can be seen in a variety of ways. The Republican party drew its first breath within city limits, and you can stand right where it happened. Self-guided walking tours through an Underground Railroad route straight through the city is also available. If you’re still itching for more knowledge before your next round, check out one of the numerous museums in Jackson’s Museum Corridor.
If you’re looking to add a more relaxing round to your day, stop by Ella Sharp Golf Course. This course features 562 acres of relatively flat to rolling and hilly terrains. Don’t let its straightforward course design fool you, Ella Sharp is still host to two of Jackson’s most difficult holes. The course has some incredibly affordable green fees, and provides a great place to warm up for your day of golf.
Jackson County is only a short drive north from Michigan’s southern border and easily accessible from anywhere in the state, making it the ideal location for a golf getaway. Experiencing some of the best golf Michigan has to offer while taking in the vibrant personality of Jackson awaits you. Visit here to learn more about the courses and trip itineraries available in Jackson.