Okay, so which is the oldest golf course in Michigan? There are two choices:

The Wawashkamo Golf Club on Mackinac Island is called the oldest on many sites. The club is on the same site where the Battle of Mackinac Island took place between the British and Americans in 1814. And 84 years later, in 1898, the battle site was officially declared as the Wawashkamo Golf Club.

All fine and dandy, but other sources come up with another choice: the Kent Country Club in Grand Rapids, which was founded in 1896, two years earlier. It is said to be the oldest country club in Michigan...but is it also the oldest golf course? The debate may never end.....unless one of you has the correct answer.

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Golf was brought to Grand Rapids by Edward Lowe, one of the elite businessmen of the city, who had been in England. While there, he played this game he never heard of called “golf.” When he returned to the states he invited his brother Rowland and ten cronies to dinner to tell them about this new game. From there, they started their own nine-hole course at the corner of Wealthy Street and Plymouth Avenue. Some time later, they moved to the site where the Kent Country Club currently stands.

As for Wawashkamo, it looks just like one of the old courses from the 1800s: mostly without trees and short holes. The club name comes from the Chippewa word wawashkamon. meaning “Walking a crooked trail”.

The gallery below features vintage images of some old golfers and golf courses in and around Michigan from the 1800s to the 1950s....

Golfing in Michigan: 1890s-1950s


Abandoned Belle Isle Golf Course

Abandoned Castle Games Mini-Golf in St. Ignace

A Few of Michigan's Miniature Golf Courses