Which part of the northern US has the best fall golf

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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.

By BRANDON TUCKER

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.

By MIKE BAILEY

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.