Michigan Golf Courses

When Do Michigan Golf Courses Close for the Season?

Many people in Michigan enjoy golf when the weather permits. Due to the state’s colder climate and winter weather, most golf courses have a distinct opening and closing season. A number of factors influence when Michigan golf courses close for the winter season.

Course Location Affects Closing Dates

Location has a significant impact on when Michigan golf courses decide to end their season. Winter weather conditions in the state can vary greatly due to its large geographical size. Northern Michigan experiences winter weather and snowfall earlier than other parts of the state. 

As a result, golf courses in northern Michigan frequently close earlier in the autumn than those in southern Michigan. Most golf courses in Northern Michigan close between late October and early November. Southern Michigan golf courses may stay open for a few weeks longer, with some not closing until mid to late November.

Due to latitudinal differences, courses must set closing dates based on historical weather patterns in their respective areas.

Ownership and Financial Considerations

Golf course ownership and finances have an impact on year-end closing dates in Michigan. Privately owned facilities frequently suspend operations based on weather forecasts and projected revenue potential. If the forecast predicts sustained cold temperatures that will deter players, privately owned courses may choose to close. 

Additionally, rounds and revenue decrease significantly in the late fall. When revenue no longer exceeds operating expenses, private course owners frequently close rather than lose money by remaining open with little play. 

Public courses may use similar procedures, analyzing weather reports and income statements to determine an appropriate closing date.

Staffing Issues Cause Some to Close Early

Staffing issues also cause some Michigan golf facilities to close earlier than others. Many golf courses drastically reduce their workforce after the peak summer months. Retaining employees into the late fall can become costly.

As workers return to school or seek off-season employment, courses with a shrinking labor pool may choose to halt play. While larger operations with year-round staff can stay open later, small to medium-sized venues frequently lack the personnel to properly maintain the grounds or run the business. As a result of staffing issues, some courses decide to end the season ahead of their competitors.

Preparing the Course for Winter

When determining the final day of operations, a golf course in Michigan must also consider the necessary preparations to protect the grounds during the winter. Workers start winterizing tasks well ahead of the closing date.

This includes winterizing irrigation systems, securing or removing bridges and features, and doing final maintenance on the turf and vegetation. Crews must also allow enough time for any emergency repairs that may occur during the final rounds. Starting the winterization process too late provides insufficient protection, so courses allow enough time to transition the course before severe winter weather.

Typical closing dates around Michigan

On average, most Michigan golf courses close around the middle of November. However, there are always exceptions at both ends. Below are some typical closing dates for various regions:

Upper Peninsula: October 15–November 1 due to earlier winter weather. Some may reopen briefly if the weather permits.

Northern Michigan: October 25-November 15, depending on location and weather conditions.

Central Michigan: From November 1 to November 25, temperatures and precipitation will follow historical patterns.

Southern Michigan: Mid-November to December 1 in warmer areas before the ground freezes solidly.

Resort courses and those with turf heaters may remain open later in December if playable conditions exist. This allows for pre-holiday rounds and gift certificates purchased at that time.

In addition, a few Michigan courses experiment with winter golf by overseeding fairways and greens after they close. This allows for periodic reopening whenever the temperatures are appropriate for winter greens. It offers a unique recreational opportunity during the off-season.

What About the Reopening Dates?

Just as closing dates vary throughout Michigan, so do anticipated reopening dates for golf courses. While most establishments aim for a spring reopening, weather and maintenance schedules cause variations. Here are some key points about golf courses reopening in Michigan:

  • Northern Michigan courses typically plan to resume full operations between May 1 and May 15. This allows the ground to thaw and the turf to heal.
  • The reopening dates in the central and southern regions are typically set between April 15 and May 1. Warmer weather allows for earlier restoration work.
  • Some courses will open 9 or 18 holes earlier than the official full-scale start date. This allows golfers to leave while giving staff more preparation time.
  • Higher-end country clubs and resort courses typically reopen later. More stringent conditions require adequate grow-in and Manila times before allowing play.
  • Public links with low maintenance requirements tend to open earlier than other facilities. Quicker turnaround times are possible.

When deciding on restart dates, golf course superintendents must consider each property individually, regardless of location or ownership. To ensure that healthy, mature playing surfaces are traffic-ready, allow for the necessary recovery time before play resumes each spring.

Comparing Opening Dates in 2022 and 2023

The timing of Michigan golf courses’ openings in 2023 versus 2022 is determined by upcoming weather patterns. For example, an unusually cold and snowy March could delay preparation work and postpone opening dates by a week or more in affected areas. 

Similarly, warmer and drier conditions may allow crews to start more quickly. Courses keep weekly temperature and precipitation logs to predict potential delays. Superintendents monitor frost, soil moisture, turf health, and other indicators as they adjust their timetables in preparation for the reopening. 

If optimal growing conditions exist, clubs may open earlier than in the previous spring. However, weather disruptions can impede agronomy practices and delay start dates.


When Michigan golf courses decide to suspend activities for the winter, they must consider a variety of factors, including location, economics, labor, maintenance schedules, historical weather data, and turfgrass agronomics. With varying conditions affecting individual facilities, average statewide closing dates are only rough estimates. 

While tough winterizing Upper Peninsula layouts may close in October, resort destinations in the south may remain open until December. Superintendents must consider all factors before making a decision.

When winter weather makes golf no longer practical or prudent, Michigan courses reluctantly close, protecting and preserving their grounds until the spring thaw returns. 

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