The Belvedere Golf Club’s history began in 1925, when members of the Belvedere Club decided their existing social club needed a golf course. The membership hired renowned Scottish architect William Watson to design a golf course “worthy of national reputation” and Watson delivered.
Watson’s resume included such great designs as The Minikahda Club & Interlachen in Minneapolis, Harding Park and both Olympic Club layouts in San Francisco, Salt Lake Country Club, Olympia Fields, San Diego Country Club, Annandale Golf Club along with over 115 other courses. Watson used five teams of horses and 150 men to build Belvedere Golf Club routing the course across a pair of valleys dissected by Marion Center Rd. just south of Charlevoix.
Belvedere, which stretches to 6,906 yards, isn’t long by modern standards, but the challenge lies in the short game around the dynamic green complexes, which features subtle undulations, ridges and slopes that fall off to chipping areas.
Opened in 1927, the course soon became a respected tournament venue, most notably as a regular host of the Michigan Amateur—40 times in all. Beginning in 1963, Belvedere hosted the Amateur for 26 consecutive years.
In 2003, the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) brought the Amateur back to Belvedere, along with dozens of past champions and finalists. It returned again in 2014 for the 40th time, and in 2025, it will return again in celebration of its 100th anniversary.
Along with its many Michigan Amateur Championships, Belvedere has hosted several professional events. Legends such as Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Leo Diegel, Alex Smith, Macdonald Smith, Jock Hutchison, Tommy Armour, Denny Shute, Jim Barnes, Alex Ross, Emmet French, Horton Smith and many others all walked the historic course and competed at Belvedere.
In more modern times, Sam Snead, Julius Boros, Ken Venturi and Loren Roberts have made several visits to experience the club and its history. Hall of Fame golfer and five time Open Champion, Tom Watson, spent his childhood through his college years summering in Northern Michigan and Belvedere became his home course during the summer. To this day, Watson pronounces Belvedere as one of his three favorite courses in the country – behind Augusta National and Pebble Beach. Watson is an honorary member of Belvedere Golf Club and still makes occasional visits to the club.