Few golfing moments are more rewarding than standing on an elevated tee box in a long-sleeves breeze, filling your chest with crisp Northern Michigan air, and looking out over an explosion of reds, yellows and oranges crowding around the lush geometry of greens and fairways.
We who are lucky enough to live in a place where nature resets the scenery every few months know the sublime pleasure of golf in the fall. It’s like a bottle of port from the chef’s collection, shared with a few special diners just before closing time.
Getting away from the sprawling flatness of Chicago to enjoy it is step one, of course. And while options abound to the north, west and even south, those of us who know their way to the northwest corner of Michigan will tell you that the six-hour drive — or a short flight into Traverse City — is a small price to pay for the great rounds that await.
Quick disclaimer: Any discussion of Northern Michigan golf in the fall must acknowledge the weather. If you’re there when the leaves are at their brightest, you’re also there when the weather has begun its slide into winter. That means 60 degrees and sunny one day might be 35 and cloudy the next. Bring warm clothes. And be prepared to go with the flow. (I’ve always found that the best “flow” on a cold day can be found in any of the cozy taverns scattered through these parts, but a warm fire and a good book also work.)
That being said, when the fall…