Gaylord Michigan – 17 Spectacular Courses
“My thoughts were short my hair was long. Caught somewhere between a boy and man.
She was seventeen, and she was far from in-between.
It was summertime in Northern Michigan.”
You might recognize these lyrics from one of my favorite rock songs by non other then Kid Rock. We know he didn’t have golf on his mind when he recorded this, no doubt focused on guiding his boat cutting through one of the many pristine lakes in Northern Michigan.
I am not even sure if Rock golfed back then. We do know that he is a golfer now, and if he came back to Gaylord now those lyric’s might just be different, or maybe not!
Either way, from my visits to Gaylord Michigan, America’s Summer Golf Mecca I am confident to say that your visit will live up to and exceed your expectations, maybe even Rock’s. The focal point of the destination is the Town of Gaylord in Otsego County, offering no fewer than 17 spectacular courses for golfers to choose from. We didn’t have time to get to them all but we were treated to a stellar collection. Two of
the iconic resorts in the Gaylord area are the Treetops Resort and Otsego Resort we split our time between the 2 and for good reason, both have so much to offer.
Treetops Resort is home to 81 holes, (5 courses) of exciting and challenging championship golf, spectacular terrain with dramatic views, contours, and rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Once you get to that horizon, you’ll see why it’s called Treetops. We played the Jones Masterpiece which when opened in 1987 was voted 2nd best new course in the country. It is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. “masterpiece” you could say. Jones utilized elevation changes, deep ravines and numerous water hazards to create what might be considered the most challenging course at Treetops. The three other traditional 18-hole courses are no gimee’s either. The Fazio Premier might just have 18 signature holes, because that is just what Tom Fazio does. Rick Smith was most influential over a lot of the Golf at Treetops with his own, Smith Signature course, (above photo) and the Smith Tradition that might be considered the most player friendly. One course not to be missed and oh so much fun is the 9-hole, par 3, Smith Threetops. Arguably the #1 par 3 course in the country. It might be the best 90 minutes that you ever spend on a golf course.
If you haven’t had enough golf in any one day at Treetops, you can check out The Himalayas a massive 9 hole putting green with contours like no others. It’s no wonder Golf Digest named Treetops an “Ultimate Michigan Buddies’ Trip” destination in 2018. Needless to say, that dining at a world class resort such as Treetops is second to none whether in the Sports Bar or the Tavern on the Hill, a couple of our favorites.
The Otsego Resort is home to two uniquely-challenging PGA championship courses – The Classic and The Tribute. Founded in 1939, Otsego Resort has been a prominent fixture in northern Michigan. While golf is the #1 pastime in the summer months, skiers enjoy meticulously groomed, family friendly ski hillls during the winter. The Classic was designed by perhaps the country’s finest golf course architect of his time, William H. Diddel, and became the founding course of the Gaylord Golf Mecca. This course provides great play with the beginning golfers in mind. The Tribute Golf Course: Can you say elevation change?
This Gary Koch / Rick Robbins masterpiece covers over 1,100 acres of the majestic, natural forestry of the Sturgeon River Valley. Nearly every tee is elevated, with numbers 3, 6, 11, 14, 16 and 18 being the most stunning. From the tees of the 430 – yard par – 4 3rd hole, players can see the horizon over 30 miles away. Where getting to the green may be considered an experience in itself, the adventure doesn’t stop there as the green complexes are spectacular from hole to hole with huge undulating greens.
Other courses we played on this adventure included:
The Natural at Beaver Creek a Jerry Mathews design, located on the west side of Otsego Lake is very deserving of its name. This championship 18-hole golf course has been constructed on one of the most scenic sites in northern Michigan. The course was designed so golfers could enjoy an exciting challenge amidst beautiful land of oak, maple, birch, and pine; rolling terrain and some of the most visually outstanding wetlands in northern Michigan. Tip: play the right set of tees here! A long ball hitter will not have a problem but short hitters may find themselves needing to layup on some holes.
Lakes of the North Golf Club A classic very well maintained semi-private course that shows pride of ownership. Keep it on the short stuff if you expect to score well. You will love with our rolling terrain, and expertly manicured greens and tees, the strategically placed hazards, maybe not so much!
Got your own plane by chance? They have a landing strip for you!
Next up, the Fountains Course at Garland, one of 4 golf courses at the spectacular Garland Lodge & Resort, another spectacular setting and home to the largest log cabin I have ever set foot in!
The course offers a unique 6-6-6 design, with several par 5’s offering dramatic risk and reward opportunities. It is all about the approach shots here, once on the greens your work is just beginning. Like most of the greens at Garland, there are two words “complex” and “undulating.”
The Fountains ranked as the number 12 course in Michigan by Golf Advisor in 2017. Definitely a must stop in Northern Michigan. Garland Lodge & Golf Resort
Michaywe Pines Course: One of the founding partners of the Gaylord Golf Mecca is impeccably maintained, featuring secluded fairways, winding through beautiful white birch and pine forests along the AuSable River. Strategic bunkering and a minimum of water hazards add to the character of this unique course. The Pines Golf Course
Just to change things up a bit we decided to sit on our butts for a while, not really! We took advantage of the offer by Sturgeon River Paddlesports to take us rafting. Exciting and exhilarating, ramps up the pace compared to a round of golf. They have all that you could want for a day on the river. Check them out.
All of this outdoor adventure gets one parched and hungry. Other than the great food at our home base resorts we did venture to a couple of other spots for you to enjoy when you visit Gaylord. How can you not love a place called Big Buck Brewery ??? Big brews, big tastes, big stuffed heads on the wall, and a big friendly Northern Michigan attitude. Their food comes from the land and the people that surround us, enjoy farm-to-table fare, it sure made us to feel at home.
Bennethum’s Northern Inn, ready to kick back? Looking for somewhere cozy? You have just found it! Great friendly staff something for everyone on the menu, beer, a fine selection of wines and just about anything else a visitor could want.
In fact, Gaylord, America’s Summer Golf Mecca has just about everything that a visitor might want. Even Kid Rock! Great variety in courses, bars and restaurants, northern hospitality and so many things to do while being surrounded by the pristine beauty of Northern Michigan!
Getting there is easier than ever. You would be amazed at the number of direct flights into Traverse City, including, Newark, LaGuardia and Logan from the Northeast. Want to take in a ball game in Detroit, it is then about a 3-hour drive to Gaylord. Might be a fun thing to do! Easy to get, you pick how.
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