Alpine Golf Club spreads its course across an undulating landscape specked with trees and dotted with water. Putting quartets head out on 18-stop road trips in rented carts, pausing to uncover hidden approach shots and gold coins that turn out to just be chocolate. Towering pines surround the 13th hole—a long par 3—and an elevated green rises above a creek lorded over by a heron with a bullwhip on hole 16. After the round, golfers can replenish energy and debate about the shot of the day over hot dogs and soda or beer at the Alpine Bar and Grille.
The Rogue Golf Club’s 18-hole course guides golfers along a bucolic path filled with dense foliage, reedy ponds, and crisply maintained fairways along the Rogue River. When you’re lining up your shot, keep in mind the course’s firm, fast greens. To counter the putting surface’s slippery nature, the smart play would be to give shots plenty of loft, impart spin, or sneak some chewed-up bubblegum onto the ball so that it hits the green and sticks. Afterwards, enjoy a post-round sandwich in the clubhouse, or browse the pro shop for new gear.
NRA-certified pistol instructor Steve Washington, a veteran of the US Army and National Guard, has taught gun handling and safety techniques to military and law-enforcement personnel for more than 20 years. In 2011, he partnered up with retired Michigan State Trooper Charles Hockey to open Protection Tactics, LLC, bringing their combined firearms expertise to locals. Instead of having students come to them, the duo travels to communities around Michigan to conduct courses such as the Basic Pistol class, which instills pistol and ammunition knowledge and instructs one- and two-handed firing stances. Additionally, Steve and Charles host Bullets, BBQ & Brews events where qualified participants try out various firearm models on paper targets that regret not taking a job as a page in a book.
Short game and putting skills will likely determine golfers' fate at Braeside Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course that bounds over mounds and through 6,638 yards of West Michigan countryside. The pro shop touts the course's par-threes as some of the most difficult in the area, and it's easy to tell why: from the tips, the shortest of the four holes stands at 164 yards, with the other three measure in at 196, 186, and 217 yards. At those distances, even the most accurate golfers can fail to hold the green, leaving a tricky chip and putt in order to get up-and-down for par. Easier scoring opportunities await at the course's par-fives, which long hitters and players with gravity-resistant golf balls can reach in two. With four tee options, the course presents approachable challenges for golfers across the handicap spectrum.
The course at Brookside Golf and Grill guides golf balls past babbling brooks and over rolling terrain as players traverse the 6,100-yard course. A stream treacherously intercepts the golfer's path on three holes, and a large pond lies in wait to the right of the green on the 13th hole, waiting furtively for wayward bounces and impulsive swan dives. After a round, players can head inside at the newly redesigned clubhouse, where a full grill restores lost calories with burgers and burritos and assuages lost chances at birdies with beer and wine.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-72 course * Total length of 6,100 yards from the back tees
Brookside Golf & Grill's PGA professional Marty Carmichael takes golfers of all stripes under his wing and helps them improve through guided practice and a little help from video technology. As players unload strokes ranging from full-power pummels off the tee to knockdown wedge shots onto the green, Marty makes real-time adjustments to mechanics and offers his recommendations for strategic thinking. Meanwhile, a video recorder captures all the action, allowing the student to see his own bad-swing habits—something that is difficult to fully grasp during the backswing itself, when eyes are closed tight to keep eyeballs from falling out.