Golf Trails: I94 - Indiana to Jackson
The drive between the Indiana-Michigan border near New Buffalo to Jackson on Interstate 94 can be a traffic test filled with 18-wheelers. We suggest 18 holes to alleviate the stress, and, of course, we have some specific rest stops in mind.
Got game? Just a few miles into the state on Wilson Road in New Buffalo, Whittaker Woods Golf Course awaits with a strong 144 slope rating.
If you need a few miles before your first stop, and want a bargain, too, go 18 or so miles to Bridgman. Pebblewood Country Club is a little par-68 with reasonable fees.
The St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area is next, and it offers hotels, beaches and other things you can package with your golf. We suggest two courses that are just minutes off the highway - Art Hills' first design, called The Oaks Golf Club in St. Joseph, and probably Berrien County's most popular and best public course, Lake Michigan Hills Golf Club.
The Oaks has some interesting twists and turns, and Lake Michigan Hills is simply solid from the first tee to the final green. It's so highly-regarded, the prestigious Western Amateur uses it each year as a qualifying track.
Cass County is next, and you must be willing to trek off 1-94 for a few miles to the Dowagiac area. Hampshire Country Club awaits on Pokagon Highway, and it's worth a few extra miles.
Kalamazoo is where abundant golf kicks in, however. Choices abound, but we have our favorites. A golfer can't go wrong playing one of the Scott family's Gull Lake area courses. A personal favorite is Gull Lake View's Stonehedge in Augusta. It's a great collection of golf holes, as is Gull Lake View Golf Club nearby.
In the heart of the Kalamazoo area, you might have a gal, but you also have a shining public golf choice. Milham Park, located on Lovers Lane of course, is a polished track that is very popular and affordable. It's a must play.
If you can't wait to get to Kalamazoo, then at West F Ave., there is a nice surprise. Thornapple Creek Golf Club is one of those places you play, and then talk about. It's unique.
Another detour option is also available before you roll on to Battle Creek. Go south on U.S. 131 for a few minutes to Three Rivers and play Pine View Golf Club. Pick the Spruce course. It's strong.
Detours are not always necessary in this stretch of highway, however. Calhoun County offers more, more and more just ahead. Binder Park in Battle Creek is what all parks should be - 27 holes, practice facility, big trees, great holes. Bedford Valley is on Waubascon Road, and offers 6,915 yards to yonder with golf clubs. Marywood Golf Club is another Battle Creek course with which to do battle, and like the others, is popular.
And as you roll away from the area, don't forget the community of Marshall. The Medalist on N Drive North should be easy to remember. The golf course is not one you will quickly forget.
Jackson County ends our drive, and what an ending it offers for our golf as well. Choices abound - over 20, in fact.
Calderone Farms offers 7,001 yards of golf in Grass Lake for openers. A personal favorite is Cascades Golf Course, which is one of the more-golf-for-the-money deals. The facility also offers a short course.
A grand new place called The Grande on Floyd Ave. in Jackson was designed by Ray Hearn, a Michigan native and designer with a growing reputation. This course demonstrates why.
Those are just a few of the choices of this I-94 segment, which covers roughly 140 miles. Factor a quick round of golf in, and it's a simple stress-managed trip in under six hours. Go 18 holes to get away from those 18 wheelers. MG
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