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Five great midwest golf courses that are even better in the fall

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

It’s a summer game, of course. But golf was really made for the fall. Gone are the muddy fairways of April and the withering heat of August. It’s the time to step out onto an elevated tee box in air as crisp as the colors below and the sky above, then watch your tee shot soar over the oranges and reds — though hopefully not among them.

Almost any golf course is nice in autumn. But here are a few that might take your breath away.

Crystal Mountain

Thompsonville, Mich.

The Mountain Ridge course winds up and down the wooded terrain, sometimes nestled down among the tress, other times perched above them. Traversing the long and winding cart paths through the woods is part of the fun. And there’s a full-service resort and spa for companions not interested in teeing it up. Bring a camera to the tee box on five.

French Lick Resort

French Lick and West Baden, Ind.

The Pete Dye course is probably the big draw here. But layouts by the legendary Donald Ross as well as Tom Bendelow round out a trio of enticing options at this revived resort in the beautiful rolling hills of southern Indiana. There are full service hotels and spas, as well as a casino.

Eagle Ridge

Galena, Ill.

The flat terrain that makes up much of Illinois isn’t a great recipe for scenic fall golf. But the hills that bunch up along the mighty Mississippi do the trick nicely. The Andy North-designed General is the signature track. But the North and South courses don’t disappoint. And it’s tough to beat quaint Galena in the fall.

Whistling Straits

Kohler, Wis.

The Straits, perched along the shores of Lake Michigan, is the most famous of the Kohler courses. With views that will take the sting out of any errant shots, it’s one of the country’s most beautiful places to play the game. And Kohler’s nearby American Club offers a full-service spa resort. There’s also “The Irish,” a sister course just inland, laced with four wandering streams.

Arcadia Bluffs

Arcadia, Mich.

Like Whistling Straits across the lake, Arcadia delivers one jaw-dropping view after another. It’s still a bit off the beaten path, but growing hotel and cabin accommodations make for a lovely stop on a fall color tour. Do yourself a favor and time your round to end at cocktail hour, which you can spend in an Adirondack chair watching the best sunset you’ll ever see.



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