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When Do Golf Courses Open In Michigan

when do golf courses open in michigan
when do golf courses open in michigan

Michigan’s climate brings cold winters and mild summers, so golf courses across the state close for the winter. So, when do Michigan golf courses usually reopen to welcome eager golfers ready to take on the lush greens? This is determined by a number of factors, the most important of which are the weather and the state’s location. Continue reading for more information on when you can expect to tee off in Michigan.

The Effect of Weather on Golf Course Openings

Most golf courses in Michigan open in April or May, after the threat of frost and frozen turf has passed. However, because the weather varies from year to year, opening dates may vary. As opening day approaches, golf courses closely monitor weather forecasts to determine the best time to open when the grass is thawed and unlikely to refreeze.

Colder weather that lasts into the spring can push openings into April or even May. Early spring temperatures may allow some eager courses to open as early as late March. Grande Golf Club in Jackson explains that when deciding on an opening day, they consider soil temperatures, frost levels, and long-term forecasts. Officials want to make sure they choose a time when the course won’t have to close again due to a cold spell.

The amount of rain that falls in the spring also influences how quickly courses dry out and become playable. Excessive spring storms can cause delays if the grounds become too wet. A warmer and drier spring, on the other hand, may allow for earlier opening days.

Location Is Important

The location of golf courses in Michigan affects WHEN DO GOLF COURSES OPEN IN MICHIGAN? when they tend to open. Seasonal changes arrive in southern Lower Michigan earlier than in northern Michigan. As a result, courses in Metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, and other southern areas frequently open a week or two earlier than those in the north.

Leslie Park Golf Course in Ann Arbor, for example, has opened as early as March 10 in years with ideal weather conditions. Meanwhile, during long winters, the Upper Peninsula’s Marquette Golf Club has opened as late as May 7. Even within the same metro area, minor differences in location add up. Courses on the outskirts of a city typically thaw faster than those within city limits.

Due to weather variations, opening dates vary across Michigan’s peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula has milder weather and is surrounded by Great Lakes waters. It thaws faster than the northern, cooler Upper Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula is more vulnerable to late cold fronts sweeping down from Canada, which can delay spring warmth. As a result, course openings progress from south to north across both peninsulas throughout April.

Early Access to Temporary Greens

While permanent greens may take longer to thaw, temporary greens allow some courses to open earlier than usual. These temporary putting surfaces enable golfers to play while permanent greens recover. Timber Ridge Golf Club in East Lansing explains that this is done to meet the demand of eager golfers who have been waiting all winter. Opening early also allows golfers to “dust off the clubs” and get the season started.

However, keep in mind that these partial openings mean you’ll be putting and chipping on easier, less difficult temporary greens. As a result, opening dates for full courses with completed greens tend to be later. Last March 19, the Polo Fields Golf and Country Club in Ann Arbor opened its front nine holes with temporary greens. The back nine and permanent greens, however, did not open until April 16.

Golf Courses: Private vs. Public

Private golf courses frequently open before nearby public courses. They have greater control over limiting play and cart usage to avoid damage. Because public courses see more overall play, openings are postponed until conditions improve. The Mellus Golf Course in northern Metro Detroit explains that as a public course, they are more picky about opening days. They wait until there is no risk of setbacks or reclosures before allowing play to begin.

Call ahead to confirm exact opening dates

So, when will your preferred local golf course open this season? According to Michigan Golf Magazine, cold winters result in erratic spring opening dates. They recommend calling your preferred golf course a week or two before their typical opening time to confirm. Inquire about the tentative opening day and what weather factors might cause that date to change. Recognize that openings rely on suitable grass conditions to avoid long-term damage.

With early forecasts, you should have enough time to start planning that first round. Remember that weather changes mean that opening dates are not set in stone. Be adaptable if colder or wetter weather causes schedules to be pushed back. With luck and good weather, you’ll be sinking birdies and pars across Michigan’s lush fairways and greens in no time.

Golf Courses in the Lower Peninsula

Golf courses in the southern Lower Peninsula open slightly earlier on average than in other parts of the state. However, a temperature transition zone runs across the “mitten state.” Northern and southern climate regions meet near the middle of the Lower Peninsula, around Clare County. Courses north of this transition zone open later, closer to those in central Michigan.

The following are the average opening months for various areas in the Lower Peninsula:

Southeast Michigan and Detroit

Because of the favorable climate, Metro Detroit golf has some of the earliest season openings. Ann Arbor courses open the earliest, as early as mid-March in some years. However, keep in mind that these early openings frequently have limited availability or temporary greens. Full courses and permanent greens usually open in April.

Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Washtenaw, and St Clair counties comprise the Metro Detroit region. Private clubs in this area typically open in the first half of April, whereas public courses open in the middle to late of April. Lyon Oaks Golf Course in Wixom, for example, says they aim for April 15th, weather permitting. Eddie Edgar Golf Club in Livonia anticipates opening for members on April 1st and public play on April 15th.

Flint and its environs

Traveling north, the Flint area into Genesee County, as well as regions along I-75, see golf open from mid-April onward, averaging later than Detroit but earlier than Northern Michigan. If the weather cooperates, public courses such as the Timber Village Golf Club in Grand Blanc anticipate opening on April 15th. Even if you live south of Flint, give yourself an extra week or so before expecting your local clubs to be fully operational in the spring.

Michigan’s West

West Michigan weather allows for slightly earlier openings along the Lake Michigan shoreline than the northeastern Lower Peninsula. Muskegon County public courses, such as Lake Forest Golf Course in Dalton Township, aim for late April openings. Further south in Holland, the West Ottawa Golf Course expects members to begin playing in early April, with public play beginning by mid-month assuming ideal conditions. Clubs in the Grand Rapids area can expect similar mid-late April timeframes.

Thumb Region

Golf course openings in Michigan’s Thumb region, which spans the northeastern Lower Peninsula along Saginaw Bay, continue into May. If the weather permits, some southern Huron County courses, such as Verona Hills Golf Club, may open to limited early bird play by late April. However, public courses further up the Thumb, such as Bay County’s Green Hills Golf Course, often open closer to May 1st or later, depending on weather conditions.

Lower Northern Peninsula

Early May is a better bet for golf starts near the bridges connecting the lower and upper state peninsulas. Many clubs begin their seasons in late April to early May across the top of the Lower Peninsula. Public facilities in the area, such as Cedar Chase Golf Club in Cedar and Beaver Creek Resort in West Branch, are at the mercy of Mother Nature, but with normal weather patterns, golfers should be able to hit the links by very early May.

Golf Courses in the Upper Peninsula

When crossing the Mighty Mac Bridge into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, golf season openings typically begin in May. Because of the colder climate and northern latitude, courses in this area take longer to thaw and open for play.

Don Hawkins, a golf industry veteran who manages several U.P. clubs, points out that the peninsula is dotted with distinct microclimates. Some Superior and Michigan lakeshore locations open earlier than harsher inland areas. However, early to mid-May is the best time to play, with fairways and greens open soon after the snow melts.

Because the Upper Peninsula has a shorter golf season in general, local clubs strive to maximize the number of open months they can operate. According to Bruce Shamion of the Island Resort and Casino, the Sweetgrass golf course will open on May 1st. Their club monitors soil temperatures hourly for thawing progress in order to determine the best start dates.

Blackjack Resort, further west along Lake Superior, anticipates an early May start, barring spring setbacks that stall grass growth. Greywalls Golf Course at Marquette Golf Club is expected to open in mid-May on average, but parts may open earlier with luck. Their 2020 season began in earnest on April 20 of that year. While the average target date up here is mid-May, Upper Michigan clubs prepare to open the moment Old Man Winter loosens his icy grip each year.

Getting Ready for Opening Day

Golfers can take several steps in late winter to prepare for course reopenings after the spring thaw:

  • Indoor simulator bays allow you to re-grip your clubs and fine-tune your swing.
  • Make an appointment with your golf pro for early-season tune-up lessons.
  • Begin strength and flexibility conditioning exercises.
  • Examine winter rule changes pertaining to preferred lies and marked areas.
  • Look into early-bird season pass options and new member discounts.

Staying patient is a necessary late-winter ritual in Michigan until the greens emerge. But with the right preparation, you’ll be ready to shoot like the pros once that long-awaited first tee shot sails down the fairway on opening day.


Golf returns to Michigan’s various climate zones as conditions permit each April and May. Southern Lower Peninsula courses are the first to reach peak playing condition, while northern clubs must wait for nature’s annual thaw. If winter drags on, be ready to pounce when your target course announces its opening date, which is usually after the permanent greens are playable.

Patience during the dormant season pays off so that the turf can properly reboot for pristine conditions in the spring. Michigan’s world-class golf venues will be ready to welcome you back with glorious fairways and smooth-rolling greens thanks to careful preparation by courses and players alike.