10 Kalamazoo-area golf courses to try in July

KALAMAZOO, MI – Baseball legend Hank Aaron once said, “It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball; it took me one afternoon on the golf course.”

Regardless of how many double bogeys you collect, playing a beautiful golf course is a few hours well spent, and with that in mind, MLive and the Kalamazoo Gazette sought out some of the area’s best places to hit the links.

Kalamazoo is fortunate to have several stunning courses within a short drive, but that made selecting the best ones a tough task.

In order for a course to be considered, it needed to be open to the public and located south of Plainwell, north of Sturgis, east of South Haven and west of Battle Creek.

Follow along to see some of the most beautiful, interesting and challenging golf courses in the Kalamazoo area.

Angels Crossing Golf Club

A view from the tee box at Angels Crossing hole No. 18. (Patrick Nothaft | MLive.com)Patrick Nothaft | MLive.com

Angels Crossing Golf Club, Vicksburg

Par: 72

Yardage: 7,156 yards (championship tees)

Summer rates: $49/18 holes with cart Monday through Thursday; $65/18 weekend

Address: 3600 E. W Avenue

Website: golfangelscrossing.com

Highlights: Built in 2004 on 350 acres of land formerly owned by a defunct paper company, Angels Crossing is a testament to Vicksburg’s ability (and that of course designer W. Bruce Matthews III) to turn wasteland into one of Southwest Michigan’s golf gems. The course features generous fairways, large rolling greens amid wetlands, prairie grasses and views of Portage Creek and Barton Lake. Its signature hole is “The Closer” at No. 18, a 450-yard par 4 that has a 67-yard putting green.

Binder Park Golf Course, Battle Creek

Par: 71/72

Yardage: Varies

Summer rates: $40 weekdays; $42 weekend

Address: 7255 B Drive South

Website: binderparkgolf.com

Highlights: One of Southwest Michigan’s first 18-hole public golf courses when it was built in 1963, Binder Park expanded to 27 holes in 1999. The three nine-hole tracks, known as the Natural, the Preserve and the Marsh, are nestled in old-growth forest, wetlands and scenic bluffs, creating some great views and dramatic elevation changes. The Preserve and the Marsh are both par 36, while 35 strokes mean par at the Natural, and golfers can create different combinations for 18, or play all 27 in one day. Binder Park also features an indoor golf simulator for winter months and a three-hole course that is ideal for beginners worried about maintaining pace of play.

Bedford Valley Golf Club

Golfers walk down the hill to find their golf balls during the Division 2 state golf meet on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 at Bedford Valley Golf Course in Battle Creek, Mich. (Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com)Kaytie Boomer I MLive.com

Bedford Valley Golf Club, Battle Creek

Par: 72

Yardage: 7,020 yards

Summer rates: $45-75 weekdays; $55-80 weekends

Address: 23161 Waubascon Road

Website: gulllakeview.com/golf/golf-courses/bedford-valley

Highlights: Expansive greens, large, deep bunkers and fairways lined with towering oak trees are the prominent features of Bedford Valley, which was checked in at No. 13 on GolfAdvisor.com’s 2017 list of the most highly rated courses in Michigan. This Bill Mitchell-designed course was built in 1965 and went under the Gull Lake View umbrella in 1988. It has hosted notable tournaments over the years including the Michigan Open, the Michigan PGA Junior Championship and the NCAA Division III National Championship.

HawksHead Links

A view of the 18th green at HawksHead Links in South Haven. (Used with permission from HawksHead Links)

HawksHead Links, South Haven

Par: 72

Yardage: 7,003 yards

Summer rates: $50-70 weekdays; $50-80 weekends

Address: 523 Hawks Nest Drive

Website: hawksheadlinks.com

Highlights: Built on 250 acres near Lake Michigan, HawksHead holds several deep pot bunkers and multi-tiered greens but the most notable feature is the 100 acres of sandy waste bunkers that are reminiscent of courses along the Atlantic coast. The signature hole of this Arthur Hills-designed course is No. 18, which is on a plot of land that was a 60-acre sand mine pit used to build I-96 in the 1960s. The undulating green on the final hole is a result of the course’s natural, windswept landscape, not from bulldozers leveling the ground.

Heritage Glen Golf Club

Chris Zeigler at the 11th hole during the KWGA City Medal Play Heritage Glen Golf Club. (MLive.com file photo)Kalamazoo Gazette

Heritage Glen Golf Club, Paw Paw

Par: 72

Yardage: 6,630 yards

Summer rates: $36-48 weekdays, $36-59 weekends

Address: 29795 Heritage Lane

Website: heritageglengolf.com

Highlights: Reliably good conditions and a challenging-yet-playable layout make Heritage Glen a great July course for golfers of all skill levels, but there are four holes that can frustrate even the most consistent ball strikers. The first par 5 on the front 9 is the 621-yard sixth hole, which snakes through a heavily wooded fairway, and two holes later is a 541-yard par 5 that also features a tree-lined fairway and a two-tiered putting green guarded by water. The back 9’s two par 3s — the 170-yard 11th and the 158-yard 16th — both have sizable hazards in front of the green, with the former holding a dense marsh and the latter featuring a pond that will swallow up almost anything short of the green.

Island Hills Golf Club

The tee of No. 17 at Island Hills Golf Club. (Cory Olsen | MLive.com)

Island Hills Golf Club, Centreville

Par: 72

Yardage: 7,074 yards

Summer rates: $40-50 weekdays; $55-65 weekends

Address: 61809 Stonegate Drive

Website: islandhillsgolf.com

Highlights: This Raymon Hearn-designed course is considered by many golf experts to be one Midwest’s hidden-gems, with longtime Chicago golf writer Len Ziehm going so far as to say, “Island Hills may be the ultimate hidden gem among golf courses in not only the Midwest, but in the entire U.S. It’s ideal for any type of player.”

The first 15 holes feature rolling hills and plenty of open space that reflect the area’s farming background, but the final three shift gears into water holes that Michael Stewart of Golf Chicago called part of the “five best finishing holes east of the Mississippi.”

The final two holes are some of the most picturesque in Southwest Michigan thanks to the backdrop of Lake Templene.

Lake Doster Golf

A look at the green of Hole No. 3, also known as “Little Monster” at Lake Doster Golf Course. (MLive.com file photo)Kalamazoo Gazette

Lake Doster Golf Club, Plainwell

Par: 72

Yardage: 6,540 yards

Summer rates: $30-40 weekdays; $33-42 weekends

Address: 116 Country Club Boulevard

Website: lakedostergolf.com

Highlights: One of the better values in the Kalamazoo area, Lake Doster offers coupons on its website that take the price of 18 holes with a cart down to $30 on weekdays and $33 on weekends, and walking 18 holes is as little at $22. The course’s signature hole is the 100-yard par-3 third, which has been rated as one of the top 18 holes in Michigan by the Detroit News. Management at the course is also a big fan of No. 3, even incorporating its peninsula green into Lake Doster’s logo. While it’s not a long hole by any means, an elevated tee about 60 feet above the green can deceive a golfer’s sense of distance, plus there are three green-side bunkers to contend with and mature trees ready to swat all but the straightest shots.

Milham Park Golf Club

Aya Johnson chips onto the No. 6 green during the Division 4 girls golf regional on Oct. 11, 2012 at Milham Park Golf Club in Kalamazoo. (Scott DeCamp | MLive.com)Scott DeCamp/MLive.com

Milham Park Golf Club, Kalamazoo

Par: 72

Yardage: 6,711 yards

Summer rates: $38-43 weekdays; $38-45 weekends

Address: 4200 Lovers Lane

Website: kmgagolf.com/milham_park

Highlights: Another course that provides good value and great golf, Milham Park is a gem located just a few miles south of downtown Kalamazoo. The first nine holes were completed in 1931 and the full 18 was finished in 1936 as part of a Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression. Its lack of dramatic elevation changes and wide-open layout make it a popular choice among players of all skill levels, but it has its share of difficult holes, including an unforgiving par-3 13th. At 137 yards, it’s one of the shortest holes on the course, but the entire right side of the hole — from tee box to green — is bordered by Portage Creek, which has drowned many a ball.

Stoatin Brae Golf Club, Augusta

Par: 71

Yardage: 6,635 yards

Summer rates: $45-69 weekdays; $60-95 weekends

Address: 15579 E. Augusta Drive

Website: gulllakeview.com/golf/stoatin-brae

Highlights: Opened in 2017 as the sixth addition to the Gull Lake View family, Stoatin Brae is one of the Kalamazoo area’s newest courses and also one of its nicest, with Golfweek naming it among the nation’s top 100 courses. Built on one of the highest points in Kalamazoo County, the course contains sweeping panoramic views and wide-open, windswept fairways. One of its signature holes is 220-yard par-3 No. 2, where golfers can see the Battle Creek cityscape and Kalamazoo River valley from the putting green. Summer rates are among the highest for the area’s public courses, but golfers can save a few bucks by booking tee times online.

Stonehedge North Golf Club

Hackett Catholic Central’s Carrie Radomsky hits on the 16th hole. The Greater Kalamazoo Girls High School Golf Tournament teed off at Stonehedge North golf course in Augusta. (MLive file photo by James Buck)

Stonehedge Golf Club (North), Augusta

Par: 72

Yardage: 6,712 yards

Summer rates: $35-58 weekdays; $65-68 weekends

Address: 15530 M-89

Website: gulllakeview.com/golf/golf-courses/stonehedge-north

Highlights: Designed in 1995 by Charles Scott and Jon Scott, this Gull Lake View course features six par 3s, six par 4s and six par 5s, creating plenty of birdie opportunities for a variety of skill levels. The combination of windswept grass plains, forested fairways and undulating topography also make Stonehedge North one of the area’s most scenic courses. There isn’t much water to worry about, but the course’s lone pond is a unique one that backs right up to a bunker next to the green of the 207-yard par-3 seventh hole, creating the appearance of a greenside beach.


Kalamazoo’s Dream 18: Where to play the area’s signature golf holes

10 Grand Rapids area golf courses to play in July

10 Jackson-area golf courses to try in July

10 Muskegon-area golf courses to play in July

Did you hear about my hole in one? A look at aces across Michigan