By Marlowe Alter
This might be Michigan's most underrated golf course
Golfweek, part of the USA TODAY Network, released it's rankings Wednesday of the top public-access golf courses in each state in the U.S.
Michigan's top 20 list saw many familiar names, as well as some interesting new ones.
But when surveying some of the most knowledgeable and experienced golfers in our state, one course kept coming up as must-play, despite ranking barely inside the top 10.
The Free Press connected with some of Golfweek's raters in Michigan — the publication utilizes a network of more than 800 vetted raters across the country to develop its course-ratings panel — and Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix was by far the most common name among the first three public courses they'd play in Michigan.
The Belvedere came in No. 8 this year, up one spot from 2021. Michigan's top five remained unchanged from a year ago:
1. Arcadia Bluffs
3. The Loop at Forest Dunes
4. Forest Dunes
5. Eagle Eye
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Built in the early 1920s on rolling farmland by golden-age golf architect William Watson, Belvedere opened in 1925 and quickly rose to prominence hosting the Michigan Amateur, with Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen among its early fairway strollers. It was famously Tom Watson's home course when his family spent summers in northern Michigan from childhood through his college years, and the eight-time major champion considers it one of his three favorite courses in the country, behind Augusta National and Pebble Beach. "This (William) Watson gem doesn't get anywhere near the credit it should," rater Dennis in Linden wrote. "I think it's the second best public course in Michigan, and I make sure I play it at least once every summer."