June 2nd, 2017 12:06PM
INDIAN RIVER – Indian River Golf Club was founded in 1923, and has aged divinely through the test of time, while the Gaylord Golf Mecca was established as a cooperative marketing effort of Northern Michigan golf courses in the heart of the state 30 years ago this year.
The two are combining forces with Indian River joining the Gaylord Golf Mecca for 2017 and bringing the collection of destination golf courses to 15 to go along with 11 lodging partners.
“Certainly the Mecca is a very successful cooperative group that has also stood the test of time and has really been a dominant force in Michigan golf,” said Corey Crowell, a PGA professional who is the general manager at Indian River.
“Golf rounds were up six percent last year among the Gaylord Golf Mecca members even though rounds were down state-wide. They are certainly doing something right. They are a great group of courses and we feel we are a nice addition to the portfolio.”
Paul Beachnau, executive director of the Gaylord Golf Mecca, toured Indian River Golf Club recently and called it a hidden gem of sorts.
“It’s a great facility and a great addition to the Gaylord Golf Mecca,” he said. “It’s just 20 to 25 minutes up I-75 from downtown Gaylord, in a great community and I see it fitting in perfectly to the Mecca as a golf destination.”
The golf course has a rich history. It was first founded in 1923 as the Burt Lake Golf Club and was a private nine-hole facility. A year later, the club commissioned acclaimed English golf course architect Wilfrid E. Reid to design what is now known as the original nine holes. Reid was working in Michigan at the time on two of his most notable designs, Gaylord Country Club and Indianwood Golf & Country Club in Lake Orion.
The course has been updated several times over the years and rerouted in 1984 when architect Warner Bowed developed it into the current 18-hole championship design. Crowell said the Gaylord Golf Mecca might be the only cooperative marketing group in the world that can boast two Wilfrid E. Reid designs.
“Some of his original work is still part of the course,” he said. “We’re like Gaylord Country Club in some ways, and we’ve had a nice reciprocal relationship with them in terms of competition and things like that, and it probably started a long time ago because of the Reid connection. It’s great to be part of the Mecca with them.”
The club features a vibrant local membership, but has encouraged public play for many years. The popular clubhouse restaurant – The Greenside Grille – is also open to the public and serves the creations of Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director Terry Louzon from May through October. Regulars recommend the Friday Night Fish Fry. The classic roomy clubhouse can also be booked for special events or parties.
“We’re really a bit of a hidden secret here, and it’s a beautiful spot in Northern Michigan,” Crowell said. “Even a lot of people who vacation up here every year had never experienced it, and we thought the Gaylord Golf Mecca was the best way to get the word out. This will put us on the map a little more.”
The course plays to 6,692 yards from the back tee positions, but offers five sets of tees to as short as 4,301 yards. It offers a mix of parkland style holes and pure Northern Michigan holes cut through pines and hardwoods with plenty of room to play.
“It has a great northern woods feel, but also some open holes and is very playable,” Crowell said. “With five sets of tees everybody can be comfortable playing, and then they can sit on our great deck and enjoy something from The Greenside Grille.”
Beachnau called it a tremendous destination atmosphere.
“The Gaylord Golf Mecca just added another special place to play golf, to dine and to truly enjoy this great area,” he said. “It’s beautiful at Indian River. It is classic place really, and yet offers a new experience to the people who love coming to America’s Summer Golf Mecca.”
Learn more about Indian River at www.indianrivergolfclub.com
Learn more about the Gaylord Golf Mecca and start planning your next visit to America’s Summer Golf Mecca, Indian River Golf Club and consider the Gaylord Golf Passport at www.gaylordgolfmecca.com (Call 800-345-8621). We’re driven to inspire, driven by design, driven to deliver.