Best Public Golf Courses in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Updated February 2024 to update booking information.

My annual sojourn to Michigan to play golf with my good friend, Dan, has been well documented by now.  I haven’t missed it for a few summers, and it yet again sets the stage for discussing the best public golf options in Grand Rapids. 

Of course, our loyal Golfer’s Authority readers have plenty of say in what goes into these guides too.  Without them, this nationwide prospectus wouldn’t exist.

But I digress.  Dan and I visited Grand Rapids on one of our first treks and it didn’t disappoint.  I haven’t been back for a while, but from what I hear, golf has become even more popular in the last couple years.  #thankscovid.

After much deliberation, and plenty of correspondence with our readers, here are the consensus picks for the best public tracks in Grand Rapids.

1

The Meadows Course at Grand Valley State University

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When you step onto The Meadows Course at Grand Valley State University, you’ll be greeted by a picturesque setting and a challenging yet enjoyable mix of links and target golf. This course, ranked #7 in the Top 25 College Courses, offers a unique blend of links and target golf elements, making it a thrilling experience for golfers of all skill levels. Golf Digest has awarded it 4.5 stars, praising its protected greens and strategic layouts.

The stunning natural landscapes and scenic views of the surrounding area make The Meadows Course a standout choice for golfers in Grand Rapids. The courses are meticulously maintained and manicured, ensuring a top-notch experience. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, the variety of amenities available at The Meadows Course will enhance your time on the green.

If you’re seeking a memorable golfing experience, The Meadows Course at Grand Valley State University won’t disappoint. Its challenging holes and strategic layouts will test your skills while providing an enjoyable round of golf. It’s no wonder this course is highly regarded in the Grand Rapids golf community.

2

Macatawa Golf Club

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As you move from the challenging yet enjoyable experience of The Meadows Course at Grand Valley State University, you’ll find Macatawa Golf Club designed by Ray Hearn and set on the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan. This course promises an exciting round of golf, with expansive and fast greens keeping you on your toes.

Water hazards and bunkers strategically come into play, adding an extra layer of challenge to your game. What makes Macatawa Golf Club truly special is the ever-changing nature of the course. Each day brings a new set of challenges, ensuring that even the most seasoned golfers will find themselves tested.

As you navigate the course, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Lake Michigan, adding to the overall experience. It’s clear that this course is designed to test your skills, making it a perfect choice for those seeking an exhilarating and rewarding round of golf.

  • Expansive and fast greens
  • Strategic water hazards and bunkers
  • Ever-changing, dynamic challenges
3

Quail Ridge Golf Club

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If you’re looking for a classic golf course that offers a balance of challenge and playability, Quail Ridge Golf Club in Ada is a top choice for golf enthusiasts of all skill levels. Located in the picturesque Grand Rapids area, Quail Ridge Golf Club is renowned for its classic design that provides golfers with ample space and opportunities to navigate the course effectively. The club’s layout offers playable lines, room to work with off the tee, and few forced carries, making it a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all levels.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting, Quail Ridge Golf Club is known for providing a challenging yet playable experience suitable for all skill levels. The strategically placed features and thoughtful design of the course make it a popular choice among golf enthusiasts seeking the best public golf experiences. With its classic design and well-maintained grounds, Quail Ridge Golf Club stands out as one of the best public golf courses in the Grand Rapids area, offering a perfect blend of challenge and playability for a memorable round of golf.

4

Cedar Chase Golf Club

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Nestled amidst the rolling hills of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cedar Chase Golf Club offers a Scottish-style links layout with remarkable par threes and picturesque views. Designed by W. Bruce Matthews III, the course features generous fairways and fescue-strewn bunkers, providing a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all levels.

As you tee off, you’ll encounter rolling hills, challenging roughs, and unbeatable rates, even during peak times. The club’s clubhouse provides a perfect setting for enjoying a sunset beverage, making it a popular spot among locals.

Cedar Chase Golf Club is known for offering affordable rates and is a popular choice for golfers in Grand Rapids. It’s the perfect place to test your skills and take in the stunning natural beauty surrounding the course.

Cedar Chase Golf Club truly embodies the essence of challenging golf courses while providing a welcoming and scenic environment for both local and visiting golf enthusiasts.

5

Indian Trails Golf Course

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Tucked away in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Indian Trails Golf Course offers a traditional layout dating back to 1928, featuring narrow fairways and small sloped greens. This course is a true test of skill, where staying below the hole is essential for a successful round.

While the layout may pose challenges, it also offers forgiveness for recovery shots, making it a great place for a fun round with friends. The pace of play is good, ensuring an enjoyable experience for all. Indian Trails Golf Course is well-maintained and provides excellent conditions, all at a reasonable price.

What sets Indian Trails apart is its forgiving nature, making it suitable for all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting, this course offers an enjoyable and affordable golf destination.

6

Wallinwood Springs Golf Club

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Nestled in Jenison, Michigan, Wallinwood Springs Golf Club offers an exceptional golfing experience with its windswept and wide open front nine, complemented by a back nine that demands strategic play. If you’re planning a visit to Grand Rapids, this club is a must-visit for any golf enthusiast.

Here’s what you can expect at Wallinwood Springs Golf Club:

  • Impeccable Course Conditions: The narrow tree-lined fairways and meticulously maintained greens provide a picturesque backdrop for your game, ensuring a challenging yet enjoyable experience.
  • Stunning Views: As you make your way through the course, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, adding to the overall ambiance of the game.
  • Variety of Amenities: From the well-stocked pro shop to the clubhouse amenities, Wallinwood Springs Golf Club offers everything you need for a memorable day on the green.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, Wallinwood Springs Golf Club has something to offer for players of all skill levels.

7

The Pines Golf Course

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As you explore the golfing scene in Grand Rapids, Michigan, your next stop should definitely be The Pines Golf Course, a top-rated public course that offers a classic layout and a charming setting for golf enthusiasts.

The course’s narrow fairways, lined by mature fir trees, create a picturesque and challenging experience for golfers of all skill levels. Its length provides numerous scoring opportunities and short approach shots, making it an affordable and enjoyable option.

The Pines Golf Course caters to both seasoned players and those new to the game, offering a well-maintained, manicured course with scenic views of the Thornapple River. Situated just a short drive from downtown Grand Rapids, this course provides a convenient escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Golfers can enjoy the tranquil surroundings and test their skills on a layout that’s both challenging and memorable. If you’re looking for a classic golfing experience near Grand Rapids, The Pines Golf Course is a must-visit destination, offering a delightful blend of natural beauty and golfing excitement.

8

The Mines Golf Course

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The Mines Golf Course in Grand Rapids offers a modern target golf experience built on the grounds of an old gypsum mine, providing golfers with dramatic elevation changes and unique features that make for an exciting and challenging round of golf. The course accommodates all skill levels and provides great value for golfers.

Here are a few key features:

  • Dramatic Elevation Changes: The course’s layout takes advantage of the hilly terrain, offering golfers stunning views and challenging shots.
  • Unique Mine Features: The course incorporates elements from the old mines, such as water on several holes from old pumps, adding an intriguing historical touch to the game.
  • Pro Tips: The Mines Golf Course is a challenging hilly course in Grand Rapids, with the pro and assistant pro offering great tips for players, making it an ideal spot for those looking to improve their game.

Located in close proximity to downtown Grand Rapids, The Mines Golf Course offers affordable greens fees any day of the week with package deals available. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, The Mines Golf Course promises a great golf experience in Grand Rapids.

9

Kaufman Golf Course

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Kaufman Golf Course, with its four-star rating from Golf Digest, offers golfers an enjoyable and challenging experience with its rolling fairways and undulating greens. Nestled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this course provides a scenic backdrop with Lake Michigan in the distance.

The course’s design features fairways that move in both directions, adding an extra layer of complexity to your game. Kaufman Golf Course is known for its no-frills approach, focusing on delivering a pure and authentic golfing experience. Unlike some other courses in the area, Kaufman Golf Course prides itself on offering a straightforward, yet rewarding round of golf without extravagant features.

What’s more, golfers can enjoy this gem at an affordable price, making it an accessible option for both locals and visitors. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting, Kaufman Golf Course is a must-visit when exploring the best public golf courses in Grand Rapids.

10

Thornapple Pointe

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If you’re seeking a picturesque and challenging golfing experience in Grand Rapids, Thornapple Pointe offers a stunning backdrop along the banks of the Thornapple River. The course’s layout provides a varied and exciting game, with water hazards and rolling hills to navigate.

Here are some highlights to give you a sense of what to expect:

  • Well-Maintained Greens: Thornapple Pointe is known for its excellent value, offering well-maintained greens that roll and hold well. This ensures a smooth and enjoyable game for golfers of all levels.
  • Varied Scenery: The course traverses rolling hills, river frontage, and hardwood forests, providing stunning views and a challenging landscape for golfers to navigate.
  • Mixed Reviews: While some may have reservations based on the course’s proximity to highways, the beauty and layout of Thornapple Pointe are best appreciated in person, offering a golfing experience that exceeds expectations.

Thornapple Pointe, now owned by Watermark, continues to provide a great golfing experience with its varied and picturesque backdrop, making it a must-visit for golf enthusiasts in Grand Rapids.

Conclusion

Out of all the golf trips I take every year, my boondoggle with Dan is among my favorites.  Sure, his company is great, but the courses we play each summer are what makes the trip memorable.

That’s certainly the case about the tracks in and around Grand Rapids.  Our readers seem to agree.  The amount of positive things they had to say about the courses was compelling.  Thank you to all that contributed.

If you have your own thoughts you’d like to contribute, we always love hearing from you in the comments.

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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