The Golf Club at Harbor ShoresThe Golf Club at Harbor Shores — Photo courtesy of John M. Cameron

The best fall golf happens in the northern regions of the U.S. and Canada. Think Adirondacks and the rocky Canadian Shield north of Montreal. Heading west, Ontario, Michigan and Chicagoland offer great fall golfing opportunities as do the oceanfront courses sitting on the Atlantic. Fall colors set against mountains, rocky outcroppings and blue waters entice golfers to play in the cooler temperatures devoid of summer crowds.

Here are 10 spots where you should consider hitting the links.

Whiteface Club and Resort – Lake Placid, New York

Whiteface Club and ResortWhiteface Club and Resort — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell

Geographically, the Adirondacks are considered similar to the Scottish landscape, the home of golf, and thus a suitable location for the Whiteface Club on the shores of Lake Placid since 1898. Undulating greens, tight fairways and numerous tricky doglegs add to the challenges of this course where no two holes are the same.

Le Geant Golf Course – Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Le Geant Golf CourseLe Geant Golf Course — Photo courtesy of John M. Cameron

Traveling north 90 minutes outside Montreal to Mont-Tremblant, golfers can play Le Geant. With dramatic elevation changes and steep climbs, golf carts are mandatory. Several of these impressive holes find golfers teeing off from a plateau sculpted into the mountainside high above a tiny green – the ultimate golf thrill.

Le Diable Golf Course – Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Le Diable Golf CourseLe Diable Golf Course — Photo courtesy of John M. Cameron

Also in Mont-Tremlant is Le Diable. The temptation to play from the very back tees will wreak havoc with your score but will add extra thrills. The biggest challenge is keeping your eye on the ball instead of the spectacular views of the Laurentian Mountains.

In addition to imposing red-sand bunkers and long, narrow fairways, Le Diable includes several holes with fairway waste bunkers that look more intimidating than they actually play.

Picton Golf and Country Club – Picton, Ontario

Picton Golf and Country ClubPicton Golf and Country Club — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell

Heading southwest to Ontario’s upscale wine destination, Prince Edward County – across Lake Ontario from Rochester, New York – you’ll find the historic Picton Golf and Country Club. Established in 1907, it features lake views on three holes, as well as from the practice greens and the aptly-named View Restaurant patio overlooking the 18th green.

Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course – Huntsville, Ontario

Deerhurst Highlands Golf CourseDeerhurst Highlands Golf Course — Photo courtesy of John M. Cameron

The granite rock faces, tree-topped hills and lakes and ponds of the Muskoka region in Ontario produced the Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course with the help of course designer, Thomas McBroom.

The first hole requires a half-mile drive to the tee boxes through tall maples and white birch trees with views of Peninsula Lake and an emerald fairway that drops out of sight between two swaths of pink and grey granite. Pars and birdies are possible though on this short par 4.

A black water pond – a steep drop from the 10th tee – reflects the sheer granite rock faces that frame McBroom’s favorite hole. Over at the 14th green, blue herons keep watch over approach shots from the safety of the surrounding wetlands, while water in front of the 18th green further reinforces the value of laying up.

Harbor Shores – Benton Harbor, Michigan

The Golf Club at Harbor ShoresThe Golf Club at Harbor Shores — Photo courtesy of John M. Cameron

At the Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, golfers take on a signature Jack Nicklaus track with holes 7, 8 and 9 running along the giant sand dunes of Lake Michigan through marshlands and colorful hardwood trees. The course hosts the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in alternating years.

The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort – Williamsburg, Michigan

The Bear at Grand Traverse ResortThe Bear at Grand Traverse Resort — Photo courtesy of John M.Cameron

There’s no shortage of great golf courses in northern Michigan. Of the three championship courses at The Grand Traverse Resort & Spa property – including the state’s only design by Gary Player – The Bear, by Jack Nicklaus, is the most challenging.

The par 4 first hole on The Bear plays easy (if you can avoid the moguls) but intimidating forced carries and water hazards on 14 of 18 holes will add to your score. The beautiful finishing hole plays downhill back to the clubhouse with another carry over water to a large green.

The Course at Aberdeen – Valparaiso, Indiana

The Course at AberdeenThe Course at Aberdeen — Photo courtesy of John M. Cameron

In Chicagoland, The Course at Aberdeen, built in 1997 by Dr. Michael Hurdzan, is one of the premier golf experiences in the area and the only five-star golf facility ranked by Chicagoland Golf in Northwest Indiana.

This traditional golf course features tree-lined fairways, preserved wetlands and rolling countryside. A four-star rated course by Golf Digest, Aberdeen is consistently recognized as one of their top “Places to Play.”

Cabot Links Resort – Inverness, Nova Scotia

Cabot Links ResortCabot Links Resort — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell

Sitting on a mile-long stretch of the Atlantic Ocean, Cabot Links Resort in Cape Breton features two true links-style golf courses with ocean views on 36 holes. Recently voted the best public golf courses in Canada, walking is mandatory with carts available only to medically exempt players.

Fox Harb’r Golf Course – Wallace, Nova Scotia

Fox Harb'r Golf CourseFox Harb’r Golf Course — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell

Fox Harb’r Resort and Golf Course once hosted Tiger Woods. The back nine holes hug the Atlantic Ocean, again offering true links-style golf while the front nine challenges golfers with super fast greens on odd-shaped holes carved out of the surrounding forest.

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