August 6th, 2019 03:45PM
The Gaylord Golf Mecca has 15 golf courses as partners and they are all treats in their own ways. Here’s the menu:
1. Black Lake Golf Club’s Isolation Surprise – Rees Jones worked every feature on the incredible property into the course. Cranberry bogs, a small sand quarry, natural sand areas, thick stands of trees and more are part of holes that seemingly exist on their own like 18 golf courses.
2. Gaylord Golf Club’s Smooth Stuff – It’s all in the smooth, perfect greens at Gaylord Golf Club. Some of the best greens in northern Michigan can be played on this wonderful classic course. This has been a favorite stop for wandering golfers who like it smooth for many years.
3. Indian River Golf Club’s Friendly Fun – They bill themselves at Indian River as the friendliest golf course in the north and then they prove it over and over. This is a great place, easy to access from I-75, and it has a fantastic restaurant and a gem of a golf course that is always in great condition.
4. The Loon’s Pleasing Perfection – From the flowers near the tee boxes to the edges of the bunkers and pristine greens, this place always looks great and plays great. The mix of holes keeps you interested and challenged without whipping you, but don’t think that it is easy.
5. The Lakes’ Blue Water Blend – The Lakes at The Loon Resort is appropriately named because you play around some pretty little lakes. It also has a strong variety of holes though, and all of the par 3s are especially fun to play because the green settings add some drama.
6. The Ridge’s Pleasant Passage – This little course in The Loon Resort group can be a challenge for stray shots. There are some carries over natural marshes, especially from the back tees. The good thing – you don’t have to hit it long to play great and it’s beautiful among the trees.
7. Michaywe’ The Pine’s Satisfaction Sundae – Piled high with playability and a heaping scoop of challenge, this is one of the original courses in the Gaylord area and always a favorite treat. It is a traditional layout, strong enough to host the Michigan Amateur, yet playable enough to be the center of junior golf in the area.
8. The Natural’s Northern Charm – Escape to the true northern Michigan golf experience. The Natural at Beaver Creek takes you over hills, through trees and around bogs in a truly serene setting. Afterward, the deck and maybe a fire in the pits outside the Beaver Creek cabins makes a great day.
9. The Classic’s Everybody’s Choice – It’s the original course at the Otsego Resort and it’s a great place for those who are not quite ready to take on a full-scale championship course. Beginners, seniors, juniors and those who just want to have fun have a lot of fun here.
10. The Tribute’s Try This One – This is the challenging course at Otsego Resort. It has dramatic terrain changes and dramatic vistas of the Mecca that stretch for miles. The holes, too, are a wonderful mix of challenge with diverse looks. Bring your best game to this great stop.
11. Masterpiece’s Master Pieces – The golf course that helped launch the Mecca marketing idea, the first at Treetops Resort, is a classic Robert Trent Jones Jr. design. A few of the tees are high in elevation, as in high enough to see a lot of treetops, and the challenge is up there, too.
12. Premier’s Fizzy Fazio – Nobody calls Tom Fazio “Fizzy,” but they could and this course is the only Fazio design in Michigan. Fazio gave a gift to Treetops and Michigan with a playable course designed for fun. Golfers enjoy the forgiving fairways that feed the ball back to the middle.
13. Signature’s Signature Flavor – This might be Rick Smith’s best design. The teacher/designer who used to call Treetops home wanted to build his version of a championship course for the resort. He pulled it off especially well. The Signature requires some golf skill to score well.
14. Tradition’s Tasty Test – The Tradition is built with the greens close to the tees and allows walking, which is uncommon at most resorts. It fills a niche at Treetops. Rick Smith did this one, too. It has some bigger fairways and greens and is very playable if you pick the correct tee position.
15. Threetop’s Triple Dip – This is regarded as one of the best Par 3 courses in the world, and in the Mecca and at Treetops we think it is the best. Rick Smith used elevation changes as an art form in his creation of the course, and then invited legends of golf to play it. They loved it.
By Greg Johnson