Michigan is known as the beer-brewery mecca of the United States, and any great Michigan golf trip includes a visit to at least a couple of the state’s most distinguished breweries.
The city of Grand Rapids
Beer enthusiasts should make a beeline to Grand Rapids, aka “Beer City USA,” to explore its dynamic craft beer scene. Not only does the town have a selection of upscale golf courses (see below), it also has more than 80 craft (micro, nano, you name it) breweries within an hour of downtown. Think of the whole city as your ultimate 19th hole. To orient yourself, go to experiencegr.com and download the Beer City Ale Trail map; the site also provides info on hotels that offer beer packages (lodging and tours) and more.
The best way to delve into the city’s advanced beer culture is to take a guided mini-van tour with tastings and behind the scenes peek of the brewing process. Popular stops are Founders (foundersbrewing.com), known for its in-your-face ales that have cracked the top 100 beers of the world list, and Grand Rapids Brewing Company (grbrewingcompany.com) with a heady selection of stouts and IPAs (not to mention a retro game room for grownups). For a do-it-yourself outing, check out the city’s hop-on hop-off beer trolley that makes stops at nine downtown breweries (grbeertrolley.com). Grand Rapids Beer Tours (grbeertours.com) and Beer City Runner (beercityrunner.com) are two established outfitters that offer group and private tours. If you can’t make it to Grand Rapids, visit mibeer.com for a comprehensive list of breweries and beer tour operators.
Where to play golf in and around Grand Rapids
Among courses to consider are Thousand Oaks Golf Club, and upscale daily fee designed by Rees Jones; closer to Grand Rapids is The Highlands, a Donald Ross classic, and The Mines Golf Course, a Mike DeVries design just minutes from downtown. Tullymore Golf Resort, an hour to the north, has two courses—St. Ives and Tullymore—which have been ranked as high as No. 15 on the Golf Digest list of top 100 courses you can play.
Going beyond beer and golf, spend a few hours visiting the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, a well-laid-out collection documenting the life and presidency of the 38th President (and 40th VP) of the United States and Grand Rapids native (fordlibrarymuseum.gov).
5 Great Michigan 19th hole experiences not in Grand Rapids
You don’t have to be in Grand Rapids to celebrate Michigan craft beer after a round of golf—you’re likely to find a few on tap at most (if not all) golf courses around the state. Here are a few exceptional 19th holes with great beer and a nice setting.
The Sports Bar at Treetops Resort has 100 different beers on tap, a spacious outdoor deck, a beer club, a beer festival and every Thursday in the summer on “Beat the Pro Night” beer talks and tastings with brew masters from Michigan’s craft breweries.
The Clubhouse at Forest Dunes Resort offers a rustic, Northwoodsy flavor. Its expansive patio provides scenic views of the Forest Dunes course and a roaring fire pit.
The Jockey Club at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is steps from the of The Jewel, the Grand Hotel’s 18-hole golf course. Grab an outdoor table on the covered patio overlooking the first tee, order the parmesan-crusted whitefish and a cold one.
Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course allows you to have drinks on the lawn watching the golfers finish the incredible 18th hole and looking at the beautiful Lake Michigan. After the sun sets and the bagpiper has played, move inside to the new Lakeview Room.
Topgolf Swing Suite at the MGM Grand Detroit offers a private lounge with a swing simulator and a whole host of craft beers from the Tap Room menu.