Alittle more than an hour’s drive fur- ther north, the Alpine-themed town of Gaylord bills itself as America’s
Summer Golf Mecca, thanks to 21 courses
within an hour’s drive.
The largest Mecca properties are Treetops
Resort with five award-winning courses, and
the Bavarian-style Otsego Club and Resort and its two courses. The owners of the
Otsego club also own the nearby Wilderness
Valley Golf Club, home to Doak’s Black Forest golf course.
Three of the Treetops courses were designed by renowned golf instructor Rick
Smith, who is also a partner in the ownership. Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Tom Fazio
designed the other two. Jones coined the
name Treetops while marveling at the 30-
mile view from the tees that sit 120 feet above
his signature sixth hole, a 180-yard par 3.
Doak’s aptly named Black Forest was his
third design before his sensational renderings of Pacific Dunes and Old MacDonald at
Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Cape Kidnappers
in New Zealand and the rest of his bucket
Putts on the severely undulated, roller
coaster greens at Black Forest are real knee-knocking white knuckle rides. So too is
navigating around the treacherous, deep and
shaggy British-style bunker complexes that
“You can play this course over and over
and you learn something new every time,”
Ficorelli said. “I doubt anyone could get tired
of playing this course.”
born in 1947. Golfers at the Mountain can
never blame a poor start on rushing to the
first tee. The starting holes for the Monument and Alpine courses are reached by a
mile-long cart ride up the side of a ski hill,
through stands of stately pine trees to tees
perched on top of the hill.
The older Alpine course is a personal
favorite that plays down to long stretches of
tree-lined rolling meadows with tantalizing
views of nearby Deer Lake.
The resort has Michigan’s largest indoor
water park, Avalanche Bay. With the attached luxurious Grand Mountain Lodge
condominium hotel, the Mountain resort is a
popular choice for families who golf.
Afew miles west, Boyne’s Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls is where the still family-owned company was
Just more than 30 miles north of the Mountain, Boyne’s other properties— the Highlands Resort in Harbor
Springs, the Bay Harbor Golf Club, and the
graceful Inn at Bay Harbor, almost a smaller
sibling of San Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado—
are located around one of the state’s most
alluring beauties, Little Traverse Bay.
Few hotels in the country can match the
Inn at Bay Harbor’s stunning lakeside visage.
Northern Michigan’s entry into major
league golf began at the Highlands. Boyne’s
founder, the late Everett Kircher, a national
ski pioneer, brought Robert Trent Jones to
his Highlands ski resort in 1967 to build a
golf course, mostly to keep his winter ski
workers employed in the summer.
Jones’ design of the scenic Heather course
has been one of Michigan’s enduring golf