Gaylord, MICHIGAN –Located in the center of Northern Michigan, Gaylord is home to spectacular golf courses – 17 of them. This week I played a handful of them and could not have been more pleased with the overall experience.
For 36 years, the premier golf courses in the Gaylord area have been promoted as an overarching must-visit destination known as the “Gaylord Golf Mecca” and have earned quite a national reputation.
“It’s because the area truly offers the best combination of quantity and quality of golf in the Midwest, right in the heart of Michigan’s beautiful land of lakes and trees, said Paul Beachnau, Executive Director of the Gaylord Golf Mecca Co-Op, a division of the Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau.
With the highest overall elevation in Michigan’s scenic Lower Peninsula, the Gaylord area offers stunning views and challenging play with several courses built into the Pigeon and Sturgeon River Valleys. Terrain ranges from dramatic valleys featuring rolling greens to classic parkland-style courses, each suited for the novice or championship-caliber player.
Having 17 unique and equally respectable courses, Beachnau says, “The Gaylord Golf Mecca meets the needs of golfers of all skill sets and budgets.”
Robert Trent Jones, Tom Fazio, Rick Smith, Jerry Matthews, and even the legendary Wilfrid E. Reid designed holes in the area.
The Rick Smith-created Signature Course at Treetops Resort is breathtaking and easy to get to. While I flew into Traverse City and drove about 90 minutes to begin the week at Garland Resort and Lodge to play the Monarch and Fountains courses, it’s only about a 6-hour drive away from Toronto and slightly less from Chicago.
17 non-stop flights returned to the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City this summer, and many more one-stop flights are also available, like the one I took from Orlando to get here.
It’s early June, and my experiences were cool mornings, warmer afternoons, and sunset each evening at about 9:20 p.m. EDT in case you want an evening tee time or extended practice on one of the driving ranges.
Here’s a snapshot of all the golf you would want:
Treetops Resort offers five award-winning courses by Tom Fazio, Rick Smith, and Robert Trent Jones, Sr., premier lodging, a day spa, and special events. It’s nationally recognized as a leading golf destination.
Otsego Resort has two pristine courses, including The Tribute, designed by PGA TOUR winner and longtime NBC Sports golf commentator Gary Koch. Known for its dramatic views and Swiss-style architecture, it’s an experience you will want to enjoy.
The Natural at Beaver Creek Resort offers 18 walkable yet challenging holes and cozy log cabin accommodations.
If you’re looking for an immaculate parkland-style layout, The Pines course at Michaywe is for you. And remember to try their double meat breakfast sandwich before your morning round.
Gaylord Golf Club offers some of the finest greens you will ever play.
Garland Lodge and Golf Resort have a total of 4 courses with some challenging holes built around the natural wetlands.
Lakes of the North Golf Course offers another parkland-style layout.
Just north of Gaylord, you will find Indian River Golf Club, a traditional and timeless course that takes you through northern Michigan’s wilderness.
For isolated holes designed by famed architect Rees Jones that allow you to get lost in the game truly, Black Lake Golf Club and its recently remodeled clubhouse are just a short, scenic drive away.
There really is something for everyone in the Gaylord Golf Mecca.
Photos courtesy of Gaylord Golf Mecca Co-Op and the Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau