Best Golf Courses Near the Great Lakes

By Jordan Fuller.

The Great Lakes region is an exciting and outdoor-mad one, with watersports and fishing being abundant. But did you know that you can also play a top-notch round of golf at one of the many Great Lakes’ golf courses? 

We’ve chosen 5 top golf courses with spectacular views over the Great Lakes. After all, the expansive water views are one of the best things about the Great Lakes, so if you’re due for a vacation, pack your best travel bag and head off! 

Wisconsin: Whistling Straits, Straits Golf Course 

The Straits Course at Whistling Straits Golf Club is a top-quality golf course that has hosted multiple international tournaments. It’s located at Destination Kohler, a luxurious golf resort. 

It’s an expensive course, but the views and gameplay are worth it. 7 of the holes look directly over Lake Michigan, but be careful of the wind blowing off the water, which can throw your shots off-course. 

The signature 17th hole is a tricky par-3, named Pinched Nerve. The green is backed by a treacherous sand trap and the lake, so precision is key. 

But even more challenging is the 8th, “On the Rocks”, as you’ll need complete accuracy to avoid landing in one of the over 100 bunkers scattered across this hole. 

Michigan: The Links/Quarry 18 at Bay Harbor Golf Club 

If you’re on the Michigan side of the Great Lakes, the Links/Quarry at Bay Harbor is a must-play. This 18-hole round is made of the Links 9 and the Quarry 9 of this 27-hole club.

From the start, you’re right on the lake, teeing off next to Lake Michigan. Seven of these 18 holes run alongside the water, making the view every bit as amazing as the golfing experience. 

The renowned 7th hole is laid out atop a cliff, with Lake Michigan right below. Don’t be deceived by the view from the tee box. There’s plenty of room to the right if you hit your drive straight and true. Too far to the left and you’ll find yourself stuck in the rough or a sand trap. 

On the Quarry nine, the par-3 8th will have you fighting the wind to land your shot accurately on the peninsula green. 

Ohio: Geneva-on-the-Lake Golf Course 

If you’re on the Ohio side, we recommend playing a round at Geneva-on-the-Lake golf course. Located right on the shore of Lake Erie, it’s got great golf and amazing views. 

The par-72, 6,569-yard course is set out in a stunning wooded landscape which provides rolling fairways, an abundance of trees lining each hole, and sparse but strategically-placed sand traps and water hazards.  

Holes 4 and 6 will provide some challenge, as they both involve a carry over a water hazard and a strategic approach to greens that are well-protected by sand traps. 

Illinois: Exmoor Country Club 

Situated in Highland Park, this private country club’s golf course will test your skills, especially your accuracy and distance control. The greens are fast and some of them feature slopes that pitch from back to front or right to left. 

Golfers may find hole 2 a challenge, thanks to its narrow entrance to the green, which is closely guarded by sand traps. The 8th is their signature hole, a 211-yard par-3, which is lined narrowly by trees and requires navigation around a deep bunker before you get to the sloping green. 

Minnesota: Lakeview National Golf Course 

With 14 holes overlooking the magnificent Lake Superior, Lakeview Golf Course is a must if you’re in Minnesota. 

Golfers will find this particular course a nice challenge, with some long par-4s, fast greens, and slight elevation changes. 

This is also one of the most affordable courses you’ll find for the quality of golf, so it’s well worth a round if you’ve got some hours to spare. 

Jordan Fuller has traveled the country playing golf at a huge variety of different courses. He’s currently a coach and mentor, and also shares top-quality golfing information and reviews on his website, Golf Influence.