July 14th, 2020 11:27AM
1. PAINT IT BLACK: Rees Jones, golf artist and architect, worked every feature on this incredible property into the course at Black Lake Golf Club. Cranberry bogs, a small sand quarry, natural sand areas, thick stands of trees, and more are part of 18 outstanding holes.
2. SMOOTH OPERATOR: Gaylord Golf Club is a smooth operation, as in smooth, perfect greens. Some of the best greens in Northern Michigan can be played on this wonderful classic course. This Gaylord original has been a must-stop for wandering golfers for many years.
3. FOUNTAIN OF LOVE: The Fountains is the newest of the four golf courses at Garland Lodge & Golf Resort. It was also redesigned in 2010 and ranked the No. 12 course in Michigan by Golf Advisor in 2017. It has six par 5s that offer dramatic risk and great reward.
4. LOVE IS LIKE A BUTTERFLY: Garland Lodge & Resort’s longest course, Monarch, is a great golf test. It gives you the room to take it on with your driver in most places, but also gives you left and right doglegs to test your course management. Champions are defined on this one.
5. MAN IN THE MIRROR: Don’t let the 6,373 maximum yardage fool you, Reflections at Garland Lodge & Golf Resort is not simple. You must hit it straight on the layout cut through hardwood forest. The par 3 holes are picture-perfect and memorable.
6. LIGHT MY FIRE: Water is visible on 15 of 18 holes on Garland Lodge & Resort’s Swampfire, and it can put out the fire in a hot score. The fairways are fairly generous though. The water isn’t always in play. Golfers love the par 3 No. 5 hole with the unique horseshoe around a pond.
7. YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME: Indian River Golf Club is billed as the friendliest golf course in the north and they prove it over and over. This is a great place, easy to access from I-75, and it has a wonderful restaurant and a gem of a golf course that is always in great condition.
8. LOVELY DAY: Lovely Lakes of the North near Mancelona has uncommon versatility in that it can play as longs as 7,004 yards or as short as 5,004 yards with five tee positions. The first nine holes opened in 1968 and the second scenic nine was added in the late 1980s. It will make your day.
9. TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS: The roads to Gaylord lead to a place with flowers near tee boxes and pristine greens at Loon Golf Resort’s Loon course. The place always looks great, plays great and they make you feel like you are at home in the restaurant and lodging options.
10. MY BLUE HEAVEN: The Lakes at Loon Golf Resort is appropriately named because you play around some of the most serene, pretty blue 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.
11. CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE: This somewhat little course, The Ridge at Loon Golf Resort, offers up dramatic elevation challenges and shots over natural marshes, but it will not make you crazy. The distances are fair. You don’t have to hit it long to play great.
12. WALKING ON SUNSHINE: The Pines at Michaywe’ is one of the original courses in the Gaylord area and it is always one of the favorites. It is a traditional layout, strong enough to host the Michigan Amateur, yet walkable and playable enough to be the center of junior golf in the area.
13. ALONE AGAIN NATURALLY: Escape to the true Northern Michigan golf experience. The Natural at Beaver Creek Resort takes you over hills, through trees and around bogs in a truly serene setting. Afterward, the deck that wraps around the clubhouse with great views makes for a complete getaway day.
14. HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME: The Classic is 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.
15. I CAN SEE FOR MILES AND MILES: The Tribute at Otsego Resort is the challenge course here. It has dramatic terrain changes and dramatic vistas of the Mecca that stretch for miles. The holes, too, are a wonderful mix of design elements with diverse looks. Bring your best game here.
16. ME AND MRS. JONES: The challenging Masterpiece golf course that helped launch the Mecca marketing idea, the first at Treetops Resort, is a classic design by Mrs. Jones’s husband, Robert Trent Jones Sr. A few of the tees are high in elevation, as in high enough to see a lot of treetops.
17. FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: The Premier is the first and still only Tom Fazio design in Michigan. The popular Fazio gave a gift to Treetops Resort and Michigan with a playable course designed for fun. Golfers enjoy the forgiving fairways that feed the ball back to the middle.
18. ENDLESS LOVE: The Signature course might be Rick Smith’s best design. The teacher/designer who used to call Treetops Resort home wanted to build his version of a championship course. He pulled it off especially well. The Signature requires some golf skill to score well.
19. GOOD VIBRATIONS: The Tradition course 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.
20. THREE TIMES A LADY: Threetops is regarded as one of the best Par 3 courses in the world, and in the Mecca and at Treetops Resort, we think it is the best. Rick Smith used elevation changes as an artform in his creation of the course, and then invited legends of golf to play it. They loved it.