Which part of the northern US has the best fall golf

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 14, 2010, 5:41 pm

As the season transitions from summer to fall, the northern U.S. becomes soaked in the colors of the changing season. In this edition of Travel Punch Shots, TravelGolf.com senior writers Mike Bailey and Brandon Tucker uncover areas where you'll find the best golf at the best rates this fall.


Between the fall foliage and cooler temperatures, golf in the north this time of year is a real treat.

It's also a prime time to score some good deals in northern climes. Upstate New York and Maine boast some pretty spectacular golf courses in deep forests, but I don't think there's a better combination of both affordability and superb autumn sights than northern Michigan.

No matter the time of year, playing golf on Lake Michigan is always a treat at courses like Bay Harbor Golf Club and Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. But there are scores of golf courses in Michigan – both nationally ranked ones and hidden gems – that overlook large, scenic bodies of water like Torch Lake or Grand Traverse Bay.

Many of the top courses to take in long views are on one of the many courses at resorts that double as ski resorts in the winter time. This means you'll get plenty of tree-lined holes, elevated tee shots and long views.

Treetops Resort, which got its name for the view that goes on for miles from the sixth hole of the original Signature course. Treetops North, a few miles up the road from the main Treetops facility has three championship courses that offer beautiful elevated tee shot views regularly.

Golf vacation packages in the $100-or-less range become the name of the game heading into September and October. Shanty Creek Resorts, home to four courses including its two marquee courses, The Legend and Cedar River, is offering unlimited golf packages for less than $100.

Some great non-resort courses to take in the fall colors are Dunmaglas Golf Club, True North Golf Club and Black Lake Golf Club. Even Pinecroft golf course, a little family-run bargain play near Crystal Downs, is a wonderful spot that plays over Crystal Lake you can play as little as $20-35.

Michigan isn't as mountainous as the Rocky Mountain west and northeast, but it also means you can usually stretch the fall season a little longer into late October compared to destinations at higher altitudes.


Shoulder season in the north means lower rates and better package deals as vacationing families are back to school. As it turns out, it can also mean the best time of year to book a golf vacation.

Last fall I experienced two stellar northern golf trips on opposite sides of the country. The Pocono Mountains and Delaware River were the backdrop for the historic Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in northeast Pennsylvania about 70 miles from New York City, while the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park provided an ideal environment in the Kalispell, Mont., area.

For decades, Shawnee Inn served as the playground of the rich and famous, such as Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it was the site of the 1938 PGA Championship won by Paul Runyan over Sam Snead. Today, the Kirkwood Family operates the 27 holes on the banks of the Delaware in conjunction with a wonderful inn that also features new condo units, terrific dining, fly-fishing and an excellent micro-brewery.

In addition to the championship course – 18 holes of which were designed by none other than A.W. Tillinghast – there's also the Tillinghast Golf Academy and the lighted Tillinghast Approach Course. The best part is that the resort is currently offering mid-week packages that include accommodations and golf for as little as $99 a night.

Northern Montana, on the other hand, has a wonderful collection of public and resort courses that never fail to blow away first-time visitors. Last week, in fact, I got a glowing report from some pros who recently took a group of members to the area. They agreed with me that the North Course at Whitefish Lake (not the higher-rated South) was their favorite among the Flathead Golf Association layouts. But they also liked the other seven or so layouts all within a half hour or so of one another.

The best part is that these courses, for the most part, are very reasonable in the fall. Most are under $60, and the accommodations, hospitality and food – especially the huckleberry pie and the steaks at Whitefish Lake – are pretty special as well. Just don't wait too long, because in Montana and the Poconos, it's not uncommon to see those first snowfalls in October.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.