MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. -- To find one of the few Michigan golf courses to open in the 19th century, you have to get there in a very old-world way. Wawashkamo Country Club, established in 1898 on car-free Mackinac Island, is accessible only by bike, foot or horse. This nine-hole course is located in the middle of the island to the east of the small airport and is a throwback golf experience in every sense.
The course, 2,999 yards, was laid out by Scottish-American golfer and club-maker Alex Smith, who would later go on to win the U.S. Open twice. Very little has changed in the century-plus since. The design is subtle, with small greens that can be difficult to hit, even with a wedge. Many holes are straight with two big exceptions being the par-4 2nd, a dogleg right, and the par-5 9th, which veers left. There are two sets of tees per hole that switch the pars and yardages up a little bit for a second loop.
Wawashkamo is a privately managed club that offers public play and leases the land from the Mackinac State Historic Parks. It is generally not as played as Mackinac's other course, The Jewel at The Grand Hotel. You'll get a friendly welcome nonetheless and the chance to see one of the more charming old clubhouses in the state. You can also rent hickory clubs here, if you don't feel like riding your bike with your clubs slung over your shoulder.