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As we say hello to October and welcome a new season, the crisp autumn air and fiery hues of turning leaves create the perfect backdrop for golf in southwestern Michigan. Just because the hot days of summer have retreated doesn't mean that one of summer's favorite pastimes has left with it. In fact, many golfers say this is their favorite time to get out on the links.

If you head out to The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, a Jack Nicklaus Signature course in St. Joseph/Benton Harbor, not only will you play the same course that has hosted two Senior PGA Championships and is scheduled to host the 2016 and 2018 tournaments, but you will enjoy some of the most beautiful vistas overlooking Lake Michigan, hardwood tree groves, and marshlands.

Four golf courses have long legacies in southwestern Michigan. Paw Paw Lake Golf Course in Watervliet, which was established in 1918, maintains a course that appeals to golfers of all skill levels. Pebblewood Country Club in Bridgman and Berrien Hills Golf Club in Benton Harbor were both established in the 1920s. Also in the 1920s, the front nine of Indian Lake Hills Golf Course in Eau Claire was carved into the landscape, with the back nine added in the 1960s. Each of these courses presents its own type of golfing challenge and breathtaking views of autumn splendor.

Brookwood Golf Course in Buchanan offers 18 holes of golfing challenge plus a unique feature – the clubhouse is a 1930s barn that was featured at the 1933 Chicago's World Fair as a modern-day dairy facility. They also have an on-site "stay-and-play" cottage that you can rent and enjoy unlimited golf during your stay.

Many who golf in southwestern Michigan are impressed with the quality of the courses. In fact, Lake Michigan Hills Golf Club in Benton Harbor holds Golf Digest's four-star rating! Hampshire Country Club has two, public 18-hole courses, and has been a site for the qualifying rounds for the Western and U.S. Amateur Championships.

Lush greens await you at courses throughout the area. And to make the experience even better, many have autumn discount packages available. Call ahead to the course you want to play to check on hours of operation and possible special offers.