Pilgrim's Run in Pierson: An impressive golf experience in Michigan's backwoods

PIERSON, Mich. -- Pilgrim's Run Golf Club delivers "up north" golf just a half-hour's drive from Grand Rapids.

The 7,093-yard par 73 feels miles from everywhere. Trees are the only gallery. The gentle roll of the land isn't as dramatic as the celebrated resort courses of northern Michigan, although the character is evident in the variety of the holes.

Built over 400 acres by Kris Schumacker and Mike DeVries, Pilgrim's Run has been a fixture among the rankings of the best public golf courses in Michigan since opening its nines in 1997-98.

You probably won't even notice there are only three par 3s because the four par 4s shorter than 330 yards from the blue tees provide ample opportunities for birdie. The most memorable of these is the last, a 322-yard, risk-reward finishing hole. Golfers can lay up left or tempt bombing a 250-yard drive over the pond toward the elevated green.

Golf Advisor user Halacious compared Pilgrim's Run to a country club.

"You hardly ever see the other golfers, even on a crowded day because the holes are tree-lined," he wrote in his four-star review. "I recommend this gem to anyone, but it is a bit challenging but fair and fun.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Pilgrim's Run in Pierson: An impressive golf experience in Michigan's backwoods