Michigan's Upper Peninsula will make a believer out of any jaded traveler

Michigan's Upper Peninsula, August 2009
Kevin Frisch/Fusion Media Strategies
The Greywalls Course in Marquette.

The Upper Peninsula is part of the state of Michigan only on a map. Geographically it's more like Wisconsin. Culturally, it's a place all its own. Bordering three of the Great Lakes (Huron, Michigan and Superior), the U.P. offers world-class fishing and boating and has long been a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. "Yoopers," as the locals call themselves, take their golf seriously, and with three new courses opened in recent years, now is a great time to explore one of the country's last wild places. Summer temps are mild, and most of the U.P. stays on Eastern Standard Time, so you can play until 10 p.m., time enough to fish, boat and golf all in the same day.

THE GOLF

Marquette Golf Club (Greywalls Course)
Marquette, Mich.
6,828 yards, par 71
$75-$125
906-225-0721, marquettegolfclub.com

One of Golf Magazine's Top 10 New Courses of 2005, Greywalls is the region's absolute must-play course. Carved into granite (thus the name), this Mike DeVries-designed layout takes you on a wild ride — you'll be humming the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" at No. 9, a 389-yard par-4 that plays to a perched green with breathtaking views of Lake Superior.

Timberstone at Pine Mountain
Iron Mountain, Mich.
6,937 yards, par 72
$59-$100
906-776-0111, pinemountainresort.com

Located on the Michigan-Wisconsin border, this daunting Jerry Matthews track cuts through the heart of a ski mountain, so bring an extra sleeve of balls — you'll need total control on these tree-lined fairways. Word to the wise: If the golf here is world-class, the outdoor grilled burgers at the mountaintop-lodge clubhouse are otherworldly — don't miss 'em.

Sweetgrass Golf Club
Harris, Mich.
7,275 yards, par 72
$39-$75
906-723-2251, islandresortandcasino.com

Adjacent to the Island Resort and Casino, Sweetgrass doesn't boast the stunning natural views of its neighbors, but architect Paul Albanese has managed to create a semi-Scottish feel on this flattish land. The Indian-themed holes tell the story of the Potawatomi Tribe, so you'll learn their history before you hand them your money at the casino later in the evening.

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