Michigan Golf News

Treetops Resort: A Northern Michigan Golf Mecca: By Chris Lewis

Simply put, Treetops Resort is far more than a golf resort. It’s become a golfing destination—a mecca of northern Michigan golf at its finest—for golfers not only based in the Midwest, but throughout the world.

From its two hotels (as well as its chalets and condos), to its various dining options, to its highly renowned spa and salon, Treetops Resort offers something for everyone. But its true distinction is, and always will be, its five pristine golf courses. To celebrate these world-class courses, Michigan Golf News recently spoke to Kevin McKinley, PGA, director of golf and ski operations, about the unique characteristics of each.

Masterpiece. Known as the golf course that started it all, the Masterpiece was designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr. Built in the mid-1980s, the course was the first to open at Treetops, and actually inspired the resort’s current name. Known then as Sylvan Resort, Trent Jones Sr. suggested that owner Harry Melling rename the resort Treetops, as all he could see was “the tops of the trees.”
“A few years back, due to a potential condo redevelopment, Hole 4 was rerouted in a different direction to a new green,” McKinley says. “As of this year, that hole now plays back to the original green, restoring the course as a true Robert Trent Jones Sr. design.”

 Premier. Throughout the 1980s, one trend was apparent: build the toughest golf courses possible, a goal that Trent Jones Sr. definitely achieved through his design of the Masterpiece. But, beginning in the early 1990s, designers decided to build much more playable courses instead.

With this in mind, Tom Fazio designed the perfect complement to the Masterpiece after speaking with Melling and Rick Smith, director of golf. Opening in 1992, the Premier features many landing areas that slope inward, thus rescuing errant shots so that they ultimately land on the fairways.

“It certainly isn’t a pushover, as many of the green complexes are some of the most unique that the golf industry had seen up to that point,” McKinley explains. “Harry actually asked Tom to name a signature hole, for which he replied, ‘All of them!’ Tom truly fell in love with northern Michigan and its land.”

Signature. Shortly after the opening of Threetops, Rick Smith decided to build his first 18-hole championship design, following in the footsteps of Trent Jones Sr. and Fazio as the resort’s third course designer. Inspired by courses built hundreds of years ago in Ireland and Scotland, Smith decided to create a course that had an old classic feel, from the bunkers to the greens.

“The wispy bunkers are definitely an Irish and Scottish design trait, while the greens are large, many of which have distinctive sections,” McKinley states. “Hit into those sections of the greens and your ball will often track towards most pin locations. However, if you miss those sections of the greens, a three-putt is most likely in your future.”

 He adds, “The course plays only 6,653 yards from the back tees. But, with a par of 70, that yardage is deceptive, as there are many strong holes that will challenge you to make par.”

Threetops. After watching the 1991 Masters in-person, Smith told Melling that Treetops Resort needed a par-three course. In fact, he thought that professionals preferred Augusta National’s par-three course more than the tournament course (as shocking as that might be). A witness to Trent Jones Sr.’s and Fazio’s genius, Smith was fully prepared to design his very first golf course. The course, which opened in 1992 and has hosted various PGA Tour members over the years, is still renowned as one of the world’s finest par-three golf courses—some would even argue that it’s the best.

“The design can certainly take credit for creating a boom in the short courses that now typically grace the world’s greatest resorts,” McKinley stresses. “It’s the most fun you can have in 90 minutes.”

Tradition. During the 1990s, Melling desired to eventually have at least seven golf courses built at Treetops Resort, so that guests could play at one each day of the week, if they preferred. Through the opening of the Tradition in 1997, his vision was closer to being fully realized. 

Considered a parkland design, the Tradition was designed to be a walking course, just as the originators of the game had intended centuries ago. Currently the last course built at Treetops and the third Rick Smith design at the resort, the Tradition is a destination for up-and-comers, as it’s hosted high school tournaments, the PGA Junior League and various state and national junior events.

“A few years into the Tradition’s operation, Treetops realized most patrons wanted to play multiple rounds each day, so a majority of rounds are now played with golf carts,” McKinley says. “Regardless, the Tradition remains a classic design, from its wooden flagsticks, to its wooden signs (for each hole).”

Book Your Tee Time Today! Fall is a spectacular season for golf in northern Michigan—the crisp air, the relaxed atmosphere and the stunningly gorgeous hues of orange, red and yellow. And, best of all, Treetops Resort offers a “Fall Fever Package” (starting as low as $99), which includes a night’s stay at one of the resort’s hotels, a breakfast voucher, driving range usage and unlimited golf—from arrival to departure.

“These packages, which begin in September and continue into October, are dynamically priced,” McKinley states. “If customers are flexible with their dates and times, they will often find a great deal.”

For more information about Treetops Resort, please visit http://treetops.com.
NOTE: Unlimited Golf Packages are offered per person, based on double occupancy, and are subject to availability. Prices are based on the dates of travel, as certain dates require a two-night minimum. In addition, taxes, resort fees and gratuities aren’t included in the starting package price.

Ally Challenge with Phyllis Barone

“South African Men…they play golf and have wineries! Venture out to Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc this week to see them tee it up! Life is good when golf is in it.”— Phyllis Barone

Back to School to Learn More About Golf

Yes, it is that time of year for many of us to return to school. It occurred to me that if the curriculum was golf, we have some great faculty resource people to assist in the development of any level of  instruction. Also, we have some  great books and video to assist in the instruction.

The Matthews family has provided undergraduate education for superintendents and architects for years,  W. Bruce Matthews Sr. kicked it off back in the day, followed by son,  Jerry Matthews.  When Jerry stepped down his nephew W. Bruce Matthews III took over.  He expanded the MSU reach to China, where he taught a golf related class for a number of summers. Matthews has moved up to Manistee and recommended newcomer Christopher M Wilczynski for the position. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A14L4-RXZn4.   We chatted with Chris after he had the opportunity to teach his first semester.

Internationally, we have Paul Albanese, who was the Director of Golf Course Architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland 

Class Content
Text Books From  Michigan Authors:    

Tom Doak
The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses
  Volume 1 – Great Britain and Ireland
  Volume 2 – The Americas (winter destinations)
  Volume 3 – The Americas (summer destinations)
  Volume 4 – Europe, Middle East and Africa
  Volume 5 – Asia, Australia and New Zealand
 Tom Doak’s Little Red Book of Golf Course Architecture
 The Anatomy of a Golf Course
 The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie
  MG Video: Jennie McCafferty Chats With Tom Doak About His Writing Career

Michael Patrick Shiels
J.P. McCarthy… Just Don’t Tell ‘em Where I Am
Good Bounces and Bad Lies – The Biography of Ben Wright.
Speak Wright: A Literary Guide to the Game of Golf
Works of Art: Golf Course Designs by Arthur Hills
Golf’s Short Game For Dummies
Secrets of the Great Golf Course Architects: A Treasury of the World’s Greatest Golf Courses
Shiels & Director Bill Paxton  Chat About the movie – “The Greatest Game Ever Played”

Vartan Kupelian
    Stalking the Tiger: A Writer’s Diary
     Reflections on Red Run C.C. 100 Year Anniversary
       Jennie McCafferty Interviews Vartan Kupelian about Red Run Golf &  Chuck Kocsis
     The Monster: Oakland Hills C.C.
     Forever Scratch – Chuck Kocsis 

Anthony Gholz 
    Colt and Alison in North America: Golf Course Architects
    Jack Berry Interviews Gholz about his new book  & the Michigan 
     courses that Colt & Alison Courses  were involved in designing.
Port Huron GC 
Tam O’Shanter 
Bloomfield Hills CC
 Orchard Lake CC                     
Plum Hollow CC

Shirley Spork
  From Tee to Green 
     This is a great read from a great lady, Shirley Spork

Video Historian
Jack Berry 
– PGA Lifetime Journalism Award

Jack Berry has interviewed more people on video than anyone in Michigan.  They reflect a who’s who of Michigan golf architects, Michigan golf professionals and others involved in the game.

Class Clown – Rodney Dangerfield Quotes

Rodney Dangerfield in Caddy Shack

My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.

Guy goes into a bar with a duck under his arm. Bartender says, “Where’d you get the pig?” 
Guy says, “This is a duck.” Bartender says, “I was talking to the duck.”

A homeless guy came up to me on the street, said he hadn’t eaten in four days. I told him, “Man, I wish I had your willpower.

My doctor told me to watch my drinking. Now I drink in front of a mirror.

A girl phoned me the other day and said… ‘Come on over, there’s nobody home.’ I went over. Nobody was home.

I was so ugly my parents had to hang a pork chop around my neck to get the dog to play with me.

It was the same thing in the army, no respect. They gave me a uniform that glowed in the dark.

I feel sorry for short people, you know. When it rains, they’re the last to know.
Source: https://www.azquotes.com/author/3621-Rodney_Dangerfield

More Course Closings: Walnut Hills C.C., Reddeman GC, Westland & Palmer Park GC

Tom Maddalena noted that Walnut Hills CC in Lansing, should  be added to the course closed list. Also, Tom Wash sent us a note to  let us know about Palmer Park GC closing in Detroit. MRN reader,  Bob Lapansée  mentioned Reddeman Farms GC. in Chelsea  had closed a couple of years ago and Curt Adams recalled that Westland (nee Hawthorne Valley) had closed.  Adams also pointed out that Westbrook GC was known as Bob-O-Link when he knew it.

Thanks and a Tip of the Tam to the readers listed above.  Art

Best of Minzey’s Musings 
Jack Minzey

Getting Older    

I  feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor’s permission to join a fitness club and start exercising.  I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.  I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour.  But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.

Reporter interviewing a 104-year-old woman: “And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” the reporter asked.  She simply replied, “No peer pressure.”

The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs.

Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, “How old was your husband?”   “98,” she replied.  “Two years older than me.”  “So you’re 96,” the undertaker commented.  She responded, “Hardly worth going home, is it?

I’ve sure gotten old!  I’ve had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees.  Fought prostate cancer and diabetes.  I’m half blind, can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.  Have bouts with dementia.  Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore.  Can’t remember if I’m 85 or 92.  Have lost all my friends.  But, thank God, I still have my driver’s license.

     An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests.  First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart.
     “Wal-Mart?” the preacher exclaimed. “Why Wal-Mart?”
     “Then I’ll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week.”

My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.  Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.

Know how to prevent sagging?  Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.

It’s scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker.

These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, “For fast relief.”

Don’t think of it as getting hot flashes.  Think of it as your inner child playing with matches.

Don’t let aging get you down.  It’s too hard to get back up.

THE SENILITY PRAYER:  Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Not Exactly Late Breaking News – Black Forest Sold

I recently called Dave Smith, owner of Black Forest, and I got a text back that said he had sold the property and was now vacationing in Colorado, with his family.  I did a google search and found out the  Golf Blogger had the story in January.

Black Forest, Wilderness Valley Sold In IRS Auction  
Black Forest, one of Tom Doak’s early designs, and its sister course, Wilderness Valley, have reportedly been sold at an IRS auction, according to the Petosky News. The two courses once were jewels in the Gaylord, Michigan golf mecca crown.

Wilderness Valley was designed by Michigan Golf Hall of Famer Al Watrous.
I last played Black Forest in 2009 and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, more recent reports from GolfBlogger readers suggested that the courses had fallen into disrepair.

The two courses sit on 548.45 acres just outside Gaylord. They initially had been scheduled for auction by SVN Auction Services, but were instead seized by the IRS for failure to pay taxes.

The property was bought by Hamrick Holdings of Grand Rapids.
This also isn’t the first time Black Forest and Wilderness Valley have been up for auction. In 2011, they were two of a group of six courses auctioned off by then-owner Osprey Properties.

Hopefully, Hamrick Holdings intend to get the courses up and running again. I have a hard time imagining that the land would be slated for a housing development. There’s lots of land in Northern Michigan and not that many people.
It would be a shame to lose a Doak course. Michigan already has lost High Pointe, in Williamsburg, which was Doak’s first design.

Source: The Original Golf Blogger

     27     American Dunes Part III With Jack Nicklaus and Major Dan Rooney

     4    MGCA Golf League Championship @ Eagle Eye GC   
                Sponsored by Handicomp, Inc.
    17      The Senior LPGA Championship – Donald Ross Course 
            French Lick Resort 

     29    MGCA Golf Course of the Year

    14    MGCA Golf Courses of the Year 
         (2009 & 2012-19)
      3       2018 – Highlights of the Year
    17      2019 – Michigan Golfer Drone Show

    21     West Michigan Golf Show

    13     Michigan Golf Show

Michigan Golfer Videos 

Michigan Golfer Drone Show

Michigan Golfer Visits The Plantation GC in Hawaii



David Graham to Retire to Sullivan Golf Travel Job

GAM Youth on Course Program with David Graham

Oakland Hills to Host GAM Celebration


The Otsego Club Under New Ownership

The Lynx to Host Folds of Honor & Special Olympics

The Heather – NGCOA Course of the Year


Scenes of the West Michigan Golf Show

Black Lake Golf Club – Rising in the Ratings

Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Fundraiser with Loretta Larkin

Manistee National Golf & Resort


Michigan Golf Foundation Fundraiser for Hall of Fame



Michigan Golf Show Update with Todd Smith and Jack Berry


Dan Jenkins Passes – With Jack Berry and Jennie McCafferty
3 Sheets to the Wind

Port Huron GC – Anthony Gholz Researches the Club’s History


Cynthia Pinkard and Phyllis Barone Chat About MWGA


LochenHeath GC Preview with Kevin O’Brien


Tam O’Shanter – A History by Anthony Gholz


Bloomfield Hills CC
Indian River GC’s John Paul Westbrook,with Phyllis Barone

Anthony Gholz and the Design of Orchard Lake CC                    
Peter Fitzsimons  of Petoskey Area.Com, chats with Phyllis Barone

Greater Detroit’s First Tee Director Geri Jackson

Bernie Friedrich – Michigan Golf Hall of Fame

U S Senior Open At Warren GC @ Notre Dame with Steve Newman & Phyllis Barone

Crystal Mountain – Michigan Women’s Open with Phyllis Barone


Sweet Home Alabama with Phyllis Barone

Colt, Alison & Gholz – Two Architects and a Sleuth

Plum Hollow CC History with Anthony Gholz


EMU Women’s Golf Fundraiser & Celebration with Shirley Spork
Lynn Janson Michigan Golf Hall of Fame
Rocket Mortgage Classic – Preview with Phyllis Barone


Jack Nicklaus – American Dunes and The Dating Game – With Phyllis Barone

Perfect Foursome: Rooney, Nicklaus, Folds of Honor and American Dunes

Nicklaus -Changing the Game – Golf Ball Goes too Far

U S Open Week – Jack and Barbara on the Road Again

The Charity Work of Jack and Barbara Nicklaus
Nicklaus On:His Take on Michigan Golf

Jack Nicklaus – Memories of Oakland Hills C.C.

Nicklaus On: The Latest Changes to the Rules of Golf

Nicklaus -Changing the Game – Golf Ball Goes too Far
Jack Nicklaus On: Growing up in Ohio

Jack Nicklaus On the Changes Gary Woodland Will Undergo After His U.S. Open Win

CC Detroit – Anthony Gholz history with Jack Berry

Island hills  GC  A Ray Hearn Design
Western Amateur Presser at Pointe O’Woods

American Dunes – Jack Nicklaus and Major Dan Rooney Create a Monument in Grand Haven
American Dunes  – Folds of Honor – A New Nicklaus Course Opening in 2020
Emily, Says Nice Things About Detroit, E-Bikes, Detroit Foundation Hotel and Rocket Mortgage Classic
MWGA Hall of Fame Inductees
Julia Baldwin
Judy Figa
Debbie William-Hoak
Deb Horning
Martha McIntosh
Pat Meyers
Jean Murry
Jeanne Myers
Michigan Women’s Golf Association Hall of Fame Ceremony
Dr. Gary Wiren – A Conversation at Bay Meadows
Bay Meadows Family Golf – Dr. Gary Wiren  Guest Instructor
A Tour of Bay Meadows Family Golf Center with Mike Husby
Manistee National Golf and Resort – A Conversation with Denis Meikle
Phyllis Barron Interviews at Dow GLSO
The Wee Course at Cascade Hills CC
W. Bruce Matthews III Golf Course Design Trail
W. Bruce Matthews III Designs:  Emerald Vale
W. Bruce Matthews III Designs: Marsh Oaks
W. Bruce Matthews III Designs: Mt. Brighton nee The Jackal
W. Bruce Matthews III Designs:  Northern Michigan University GC nee Chocolay Downs
American Dunes – Jack Nicklaus and Major Dan Rooney Create a Monument in Grand Haven

American Dunes  – Folds of Honor – A New Nicklaus Course Opening in 2020

Emily, Says Nice Things About Detroit, E-Bikes, Detroit Foundation Hotel and Rocket Mortgage Classic
The Tom Fazio Course at Treetops
Robert Trent Jones Sr. The Masterpiece at Treetops
The Pied Piper at Arcadia Bluffs GC
Phyllis Barone Interviews Bay Invitational Golfers

The 117th Western Amateur with Jennie McCafferty, Jack Berry and Harry Bowers
Jack Nicklaus and Dan Rooney the Creation of the American Dunes Golf Club
Photo Tour of Jack Nicklaus Checking out American Dunes Progress
Dan Rooney On Folds of Honor & the Nicklaus Generosity in Designing American Dunes
Jack Nicklaus – Thoughts on the Creation of  American Dunes
Nicklaus in Celebrity Shootout and Son, Gary Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus and Thoughts About Future Golf Course Design
Jack Nicklaus Discusses the American Dunes GC
Jack Nicklaus Lists Three Things Golf Needs to Change
Nicklaus Discusses Making the Bear Michigan’s Toughest Course
Jack Nicklaus & Dan Rooney – The Creation of the American Dunes
Jack Nicklaus Discusses the American Dunes Golf Club Theme

Michigan Golfer Calendar

23/24    Michigan PGA Match Play presented by the PGA Tour      
 7         GAM Tournament of Champions Red Run Golf Club

Michigan Golf Associations

American Association of Golf Course Architects
Golf Association of Michigan
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
Michigan Section PGA
Michigan Golf Course Association
Michigan Golf Foundation
Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association
Michigan High School Athletic Association
Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association
Michigan Publinx Seniors Golf Association
Michigan Women’s Golf Association
    http:// www.mwgolf.org
National Golf Course Owners Association

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