Golf Trip to Gaylord Golf Mecca
Where Golfers Gather For Great Golf
By Brian Weis
In Gaylord, Michigan, when the sun shines and the grass is green, golfers flock to this section of northern Michigan to pursue Old Man Par. They show up early, they stay late, and when they head home, they do so, grudgingly. That trend shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Another appealing aspect of visiting Gaylord is that it's abundantly clear that every local business rolls out the 'red carpet' for golfers who make the trek to Gaylord. During the late spring, throughout the summer, and well into fall, golfers are a more common sight in the greater Gaylord area than two local native species -- deer and squirrels. When you have terrific weather, long hours of sunshine, many attractively designed golf courses, first-class accommodations, a plethora of locally owned restaurants that serve first-class cuisine, and attractive price points in the pro shops, Gaylord is an irresistible destination for golfers. Those are great reasons why golfers show up day after day -- to pay and play. In Gaylord, an hour's drive east of Traverse City, the setting and atmosphere are just perfect for golf. Frankly, any golfer who has not visited Gaylord must do so - sooner than later.
In a nutshell, the 15 golf courses in Gaylord that are part of the Gaylord Golf Mecca (www.gaylordgolfmecca.com; 800-345-8621) will actually please all the golfers all the time - guaranteed! In a nutshell, the Gaylord Golf Mecca checks all the 'A' boxes for every golfer as it's Accessible, Available, Affordable, Alluring, and Awesome - annually from April through autumn.
For the purpose of this story, you are about to experience an enlightening and entertaining editorial escape to the Gaylord Golf Mecca, courtesy of a short, detailed description of some of the great places to stay, play, and dine in Gaylord. In essence, this is an editorial trip-tik for golfers.
This story will tease and tantalize your golfing 'taste buds' with thoughts on 10 golf courses, four dining destinations, and two resorts. It will be enough information for you to plan your next trip to the Gaylord Golf Mecca. And, hopefully, many more to follow.
By The Way (BTW): If you want to sound like a local. Gaylord is pronounced like Gay-Lerd. (Rhymes with nerd)
WHERE TO PLAY GOLF
A great place to begin your journey along the Gaylord Golf Mecca is at the Gaylord Golf Club (www.gaylordgolfclub.com; 231-546-3376). Opened in 1924, one of this golf course's many appealing distinct design characteristic is that the entrance to nearly every green is open and not obstructed by a bunker, stream, creek, lake, or a hill. This allows every golfer the chance to save par with a chip-and-run from the fairway. This design feature also enhances pace of play. The greens at the Gaylord GC are pure, true, consistent, and in terrific shape. Any trip around the Gaylord Golf Club is worth an encore visit, if your schedule permits. BTW: This golf course hosted its first golf tournament on June 20, 1926 when men wore "knickers" and women wore "skirts," according to signage inside the clubhouse.
The Tribute at the Otsego Resort (www.otsegoresort.com; 800-752-5510) is a thrilling, 18-hole journey through the Sturgeon River Valley. The views of the surrounding countryside many locations on The Tribute are ones which are more associated with the hills of central Virginia, western North Carolina and northern Georgia. The most memorable views are from the 3rd, 6th, 11th, 14th, 16th, and 18th tee boxes. From the 3rd tee, you can see 30 miles in the distance. The green complexes built by course designers Rick Robbins and Gary Koch are brilliant. It's fair to say that this Robbins-Koch design is a 'tribute' to all that is great in the game of golf. BTW: At The Tribute, you'll rarely see another golf hole, other than the one you are playing.
The best way to summarize the golf experience at The Tradition at Treetops Resort (www.treetops.com; 888-780-1211) is that Golf Digest has given it a 4 ½ star rating. That is a well-deserved 'score.' The secluded, rural setting for this golf course is why you will see deer and wild turkeys in the rough and in any wooded area. BTW: Hats off to Rick Smith for designing a wonderful golf experience.
The most unique course at the Treetops Resort is the nine-hole par three course - Threetops at Treetops (www.treetops.com; 888-780-1211). This Rick Smith-design is best described as an experience unlike any other. Threetops at Treetops packs 18 holes of drama into just 9 holes -- and every hole is 'just' a par three. There are not enough superlatives in the English language to provide a fair and accurate description of the beauty, diversity, and the amount of fun to be enjoyed at Michigan's premier par three course. Threetops at Treetops is aptly named because you will literally hit a few tee shots at or above the top of the tree line. If there's ever a time when you want to hit every green in regulation, it's when you play Threetops. BTW: It was on the 7th hole at Threetops that Lee Trevino recorded a hole-in-one in 2003 that netted him a check for nearly $1.1 million.
The Signature at Treetops Resort (www.treetops.com; 888-780-1211) is a fabulous design which is why it has appeared on Golfweek's list of "Top 100 Best Courses." The two most memorable holes are the par-three 2nd hole and the par-five 15th hole. The location of the pin on the rather large 2nd green can mean as much as a three-club difference from the tee. The 15th measures less than 500 yards from the tips, but the second and third shots are uphill. To reach the two-tiered green, you must negotiate the narrow entrance to the putting surface. BTW: Either before or after your round at The Signature, take a few minutes and practice your putting on the nearby Himalayas Putting Green. It's called Himalayas for a good reason.
The Black Lake Golf Club (www.blacklakegolf.com; 989-733-4653) in nearby Onaway is an awesome escape which is so serene, special and secluded that you can hear crickets chirping in the woods and squirrels scampering from tree to tree. I think that Black Lake is not only one of Gaylord's best courses, but it ranks as one of Michigan's top layouts. It's fair, fun, and forgiving where pars are great scores. Black Lake may well be one of architect Rees Jones' best creations. It's pure simplicity is refreshing. Playing this golf course confirms why people play the game of golf. BTW: This course is owned by the United Auto Workers (UAW).
The Indian River Golf Club (www.indianrivergolfclub.com; 231-238-7011) was founded in 1923 and was originally called the Burt Lake Golf Club. At first, it just had nine-holes. In 1984, an additional nine holes were added. Located in nearby Indian River, this parkland-style golf course is a perfect place for a pleasant, relaxing, and stress-free round of golf - whether it's 9 or 18 holes. This course is ideal for walkers as the terrain is fairly flat and the distances from greens to tees are minimal. BTW: While standing on the tee of the short, downhill, par-three 9th hole, you can visualize an ace!
The Loon Golf Resort (www.loongolfresort.com; 989-732-4454) in Gaylord features three golf courses - The Loon, The Lakes and The Ridge. I only had time to play the back nine of The Loon, a Butch Harmon signature course. Harmon saved the best for last as the 17th is now a driveable par four, where eagles are possible and birdies are common. The 18th is the 'signature' hole. To reach the 18th green from the fairway, you must carry a large lake to a wide, yet narrow green. A well-placed second shot will generate an ovation from those watching the action from the second-floor deck of the clubhouse. BTW: In addition to the three golf courses, The Loon Golf Resort has great accommodation and two award-winning restaurants.
To use an accurate cliché, The Natural at Beaver Creek Resort (www.thenaturalgolfcourse.com; 989-732-1785) in Gaylord is truly "one of northern Michigan's best kept secrets," but not for long. Golf course architect Jerry Matthews deserves an A+ on what he produced at The Natural. Matthews produced a golf course that is in sync with Mother Nature. The natural beauty of the woodlands and wetlands have been enhanced by Matthews' creativity and vision. Don't be surprised to see deer, wild turkey, heron, and other water fowl during your round. After golf, stay and enjoy a sandwich on-site at The Long Iron Grille. While there, you might meet Stormy, the resident golden doodle. BTW: At The Natural, there are first-class cabin accommodation options at the nearby Beaver Creek Resort, which is also a popular destination for cross-country skiers and snow shoeing enthusiasts in the winter.
The Michaywe Pines Golf Course (www.michaywepines.com; 989-939-8911) in Gaylord has been labeled as beautiful, fun, and fair. Terrific, memorable and scenic are other appropriate adjectives used to describe Michaywe Pines. This is such a well-regarded and well-respected layout that it has been the host, on two occasions, of the Golf Association of Michigan's Amateur Championship. Your journey along this golf course will take you through a series of pine trees and hardwood forests. Any visit to Gaylord is incomplete without a trip to Michaywe Pines. BTW: In addition to being a championship venue that hosts major golf tournaments, Michaywe Pines has been identified as the best course in Gaylord for beginners, possibly because of its forgiving rough and few water hazards. Please remember that the Augusta National Golf Club has a forgiving rough, too.
WHERE TO PLAY EAT
After every round of golf, golfers switch their focus from their swing to their stomachs. In Gaylord, the dining options are in plentiful supply. Four of the best dining options are The Big Buck Brewery, Alpine Tavern, Bennethum's and The Duck Blind Grille at Otsego Resort. At each location, the hospitality is genuine, the quality of the cuisine is top-notch, and the environment encourages you to relax and enjoy the dining experience as much as you did your round of golf. The wide variety of first-class choices is an incentive to return for another meal at each restaurant. Each dining destination also offers a wide variety of excellent craft beers. The dinner entrees are filling and delicious - ranging from fried perch to grilled pork chops to baked salmon to elk tips. At each location, dinner is truly a celebration of a great day playing a great game with great friends at a great place - Gaylord, Michigan. BTW: The Duck Blind Grille is also the recipient of the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
WHERE TO SLEEP
One of the key components of your golf getaway to Gaylord is where to 'hang your hat' at night. Golfers' needs are rather basic. They need a comfortable bed, a hot shower, a quiet environment to sleep, convenient overnight parking, room to practice putting at night inside their rooms, and a strong Internet connection.
Two of the best overnight choices in Gaylord are The Treetops Resort and the Otsego Resort.
Treetops (www.treetops.com; 855-420-0557) has 238 newly renovated guest rooms plus outdoor/indoor pools, hot tubs, a spa and a salon. On this property, you have easy access to four 18-hole championship golf courses (Masterpiece, Signature, Premier, and Tradition) plus the nine-hole Threetops par-three course.
The Otsego Resort (www.otsegoresort.com; 800-752-5510) offers guest rooms, suites, condominiums, and cabins. On this property, you have easy access to a pair of 18-hole championship golf courses (The Tribute and The Classic). All of your wants and needs are taken care of when you check into the Otsego Resort. Having access to The Duck Blind Grille for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner is a very convenient dinning option. BTW: Both resorts have a TV signal which provides access to The Golf Channel.
ETCETERA: HERE AND THERE
Outside of golf, other options for your time in Gaylord include talking a walk, run, or bike ride along the North Central State Trail that stretches from Gaylord for 62 miles north to Mackinaw City. This trail will take you through cities such as Wolverine, Indian River, Topinabee, and Cheboygan.
Another 'trail' in Gaylord that might be of interest to visiting golfers is the Craft Beer & Tap Trail. There are 17 stops along this drinking journey. Some of the 'hot spots' include Mary's Tavern which sells up to 25 craft beers (15 on tap) and Porter Haus which sells up to 20 craft beers (8 on tap). Using a local cab service is suggested for those who follow this trail.
Fishing options are also in abundant supply in Gaylord as fishermen can cast a line at Big Bear Lake, Big Bradford Lake, Big Lake, Dixon Lake, Thumb Lake, Lake 27, and Otsego Lake.
As was stated at the beginning of this story, when the sun starts shining and the grass turns green in Gaylord, that's your cue to head for the Gaylord Golf Mecca, in pursuit of Old Man Par and a great time - on and off the golf course.
ETCETERA: HERE AND THERE
Revised: 10/22/2019 - Article Viewed 1,183 Times
About: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler