December 12th, 2018 02:47PM
A group of visiting VIP golf writers over the summer repeatedly commented on three things about the Gaylord Golf Mecca.
First, they were overwhelmed by the variety of golf experiences they had in a week-long visit, which often included 36 holes of golf at two of the 15 Mecca member courses.
Second, they were amazed at the quality of golf at the different Mecca stops, especially course conditions and in service and attention as well.
And finally, they marveled at the way the members, which includes resorts as well as independent destination courses, have worked together for 31 years as a marketing group.
“The 31 years ya’ll have worked together is something special,” said Greg Wettman, who is a child support judge in Houston and writes golf part-time for the Texas Golf Insider Magazine. “You don’t see that kind of cooperation that often.”
Paul Beachnau, the executive director of the Mecca and the Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau, proudly points out that the Gaylord Golf Mecca had another great year in 2018.
“Golf in the Mecca is alive and well,” he said. “We continue to work together harmoniously. I feel like we have been a model for cooperative marketing in our state. We have come together in an industry that’s very competitive and continued to keep working to make things better year after year. Our model continues to work. I think we all realize that if we work together to put Gaylord on the map everyone benefits. A rising tide raises all ships.”
The Mecca sails into 2019 off a gangbuster great weather summer of golf. The spring arrived late, and fall was messy, but the summer was beautiful and the courses, resorts and lodging partners stayed busy.
Oh, and we won awards.
Golftime Magazine’s readers voted and chose the Gaylord Golf Mecca as the Best Destination in the magazine’s first-ever Best of the Midwest Awards for 2018.
The Mecca, the Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau and the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City were also honored with the Governor’s Award for Innovative Tourism Collaboration for marketing efforts that bring golfers from Texas to Michigan.
The Michigan Travel Commission declared on the award certificate: “Selected for their excellent representation of the spirit of innovation and collaboration in their work to enhance the reputation, quality and value of the Michigan tourism experience.”
Beachnau said much the same words when talking about the goals of the Gaylord Golf Mecca – innovation, collaboration, quality and value.
“Here’s the thing, we are all getting better, too,” he said. “All of our properties continue to work and improve and do things that add to the experience for the golfers who come to Gaylord. We’re really pleased the Otsego Resort is open again with new ownership, and that by all indication they are moving forward. It is one of our hallmark properties. All the renovations on lodging at Treetops are finished and looking great. Black Lake finished a renovation of the clubhouse and landscaping, and it looks amazing. The Natural in the last few years seems to always be adding amenities like new cart paths, or great things at Beaver Creek. Our group has continued to improve, and that includes all of our properties.”
Beachnau also explained that the community around and in conjunction with the Mecca and its partners has continue to flourish. He noted two new hotel properties, the Fairfield Inn and Holiday Inn Express. He noted the opening of the Big Buck Brewery under new owners with new vision. He noted expansions in local restaurants like the Iron Pig Smokehouse and Snowbelt Brewing. He noted the opening of White Birch Outfitters, which is an asset to tourism in the area. Finally, he noted the new trail head for the North Central recreational trail, and the extension from Gaylord to Waters being 95 percent complete with a finish expected in the spring.
“How does the line from that commercial go, ‘we don’t just make products, we make them better,’” he said. “That fits us, too.”
From Black Lake to Gaylord Golf Club, Indian River Golf Club, The Loon Golf Resort, Michaywe’-The Pines, The Natural at Beaver Creek Resort, the Otsego Resort and Treetops Resort, 15 courses strong and 20 lodging partners strong, cooperation and progress are every day affairs.
Ya’ll come see us next season.