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http://michigangolfer.com MICHIGAN GOLFER

Chris Lewis Herschel Nathanial Bernice Phillips Dave Ruthenberg Scott Sullivan Marc Van Soest John Wukovits

Publisher/Editor Art McCafferty artmccaf@glsp.com Editor Emeritus Terry Moore

Photo/Video Mike Brown Kevin Frisch Dave Richards Carter Sherline Clarence Sormin Joe Yunkman

Associate Publisher/Producer Jennie McCafferty

Writers Jeff Bairley Susan Bairley L’anse Bannon Mike Beckman Jack Berry Jason Deegan Tom Doak Mike Duff Rob Franciosi Thad Gutowski Marty Henwood Kelly Hill Greg Johnson Vartan Kupelian Brian Manning Jim Neff Norm Sinclair Michael Patrick Shiels Ron Whitten Gary Holaway Janina Parrott Jacobs

Director of Accounting Cheryl Clark

The Life and Times of Rick Smith

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Inside the Golf Channel

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By Jack Berry

By Chris Lewis

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Golf Channel’s Amateur Tour in Michigan

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Gaming and Golf–– What a Difference a Decade Makes

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“The Rock”, Gem of the North, Celebrates It’s 20th Birthday

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At Grand Traverse Resort, Being “In the Dog House” is a Good Thing

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Crystal Mountain–– A Year-Round Pleasure

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Slice of Life: Golfing Son

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By Chris Lewis

By Art McCafferty

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By Susan Bairley By Terry Moore

Cover: Rick Smith photo courtesy of Treetops Resort

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Photo from Michigan Golfer archives, 1993

Rocco Mediate, Lee Janzen and Billy Andrade are but a few of the PGA professionals that have been taught by Rick Smith.

The Life and Times of Rick Smith

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By Jack Berry

ick Smith was sitting down. It was a rare moment for the principal partner of Treetops Resort who is in more motion than the Energizer Bunny. MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

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Smith had just finished a morning clinic for clients of a major corporation and he was sitting on a bench outside the players’ locker room at the Augusta National Golf Club, talking about golf in general and Treetops in particular. It was a cool shady spot on a warm blue sky afternoon, looking out at the valley where the Masters Tournament was in full bloom as thousands of fans lined the fairways and surrounded the second and seventh greens, a scene that would exhaust every color on an artist’s palette. It looked as though all was right with the world of golf and, several days earlier Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne said the club had “not yet been affected” by the global economic downturn. But, like its tournament, the Masters and the club are not like any other.

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mith has designed a half dozen courses including Arcadia Bluffs, ranked the best public course in Michigan; Turning Stone, a PGA Tour stop in New York, the R&S Sharf course at 4

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Photo by Kevin Frisch

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olf is struggling everywhere and Smith’s Treetops is no different in a “Show me the money” world. He has golf academies at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., and Treetops in Gaylord, and is ranked among the top instructors in the game by the two major magazines, Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine. His PGA Tour clients have included U.S. Open champions Lee Janzen and Phil Mickleson, Rocco Mediate, Billy Andrade and many others. His appeal and enthusiasm were underlined at the West Michigan Golf Show in February where he drew record crowds to the DeVos Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Smith enjoyed it so much that he stayed on the stage far longer than his scheduled time with Rick Smith Academy Senior Instructor, Jason Guss, a Ferris State alumnus. “I was pumped,” said Smith who likes nothing better than fixing broken or, shall we say, inadequate swings. If only golf business could be fixed with a few lessons. He said corporate clinics have been reduced. Meetings at golf resorts and top hotels, like the Ritz-Carlton and its connection to Tiburon, his winter headquarters, have been cut back.

Oakland University and three courses at Treetops – Rick Smith Signature, Tradition and the unique Threetops course used on nine Par 3 Challenges on ESPN. They featured golf’s top players, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Fred Couples, Mickleson and more.

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Hole Number 6 of the Robert Trent Jones Masterpiece

“ESPN wants to do it again but we need a sponsor,” Smith said. Smith also started the Big Break TV series and hosted the first two shows. And, just as those have dried

up for Treetops, so has golf course design and every top designer, Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Jim Engh, agree on that. Smith said he and Mickleson are looking overseas for design projects.

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But as much as Smith enjoys all of the many facets of his career, the major part of his job now is keeping Treetops and its four 18-hole courses and 9-hole Threetops viable in the struggling economy and the lack of •

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money is the major factor. “I never knew banks wouldn’t lend, even to strong partners. I think the rules have changed forever. I don’t think banks will ever be as lenient as they were and I think every classroom for kids 17 and under should be studying this,” Smith said.

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strong season would lift everyone and the crowds at the golf shows in Grand Rapids and Novi showed the interest is there but will it translate into rounds and overnight stays? “We were down 10% last year and, all things considered, that wasn’t bad, with the economy and the high gasoline prices,” Smith said. “But we’ve got to get people playing golf. We’ve got to get Michigan people to stay and play in the state and we’ve got to draw from outside the state,” Smith said. That is the common theme of virtually every golf operator in the state. However, as manufacturing jobs disappeared, gone South or overseas, Michigan’s population has declined and presumably some of those who left played golf. “I have very strong partners and they’ve supported me the six years I’ve been in here,” said Smith, a native Michigander whose father was a Stroh’s beer salesman. Smith was working in Texas as an assistant professional when he was hired by Sylvan Resort owner Harry Melling of Jackson. Melling bought Sylvan, a small ski resort on the east side of Gaylord that he and his family liked. Then he hired Robert Trent Jones to design a golf course (and give it the name Treetops) and Smith, hearing about the opportunity, telephoned Melling so often

that Melling laughed “I hired him just to get him off the phone.” That was in 1986, the course opened in 1987 and Smith has been there ever since. “My intention is not to stay in the status quo. We need to put more money into everything to get it to the level of the golf,” Smith said. “You can go all over the country, Bandon (Oregon) has water (Pacific Ocean) and Pinehurst has history and tradition but four months of the year, there’s no better place to play golf than Michigan.” There is, though, the money issue. Banks aren’t lending and Smith needs more investors. He said he’s had conversations with Boyne, the Big Daddy of Michigan resorts, about a relationship but Boyne’s head, Stephen Kircher, said “It hasn’t gone anywhere substantive. We’re not interested in buying it.”

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mith would like to take advantage of 200 acres Treetops owns north of the resort. Contestants in the first Big Break were housed in cabins there. Smith said the Sturgeon River is a blue ribbon trout stream and he’d like to see bird hunting on the property. But there isn’t money for it. He does have ideas for things that are possible without money and might get more people playing golf. “You can’t take so long to play,” Smith said of five and six hour drags. “There’s too much water in many designs and that slows play. We need to play like everyone does in Europe, alternate shot, match play, not stroke play. When we built the par 3, (Threetops) we built it for the right

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reason. People really have a good time playing it and it doesn’t take all day. “People should have fun. They aren’t tournament players or professionals. People are obsessed with score. Get over stroke play. Play match play. You’re out of a hole, pick up and move to the next one. “I don’t care if people use tees in the fairway. So what? Have fun. I have nothing against the USGA (United States Golf Association which sets the rules) but counting every stroke and shooting 135 isn’t fun. Our culture doesn’t like that. Someone who is successful at business doesn’t want to shoot in the 90s or over 100. “Why play 18 holes? Play six or nine. Charge more to play from the back tee. Few people belong back there. Move up.” It was suggested to Smith that he reverse the tee colors at Treetops as some courses have done – make the red tee the back tee and the forward tee the black tee. Take away the onus of playing “the ladies tee.” Because of young players like Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim and now curly-haired 19-year-old Irishman Rory McIlroy, who has been introduced to the American public by his television appearances, Smith said “Kids now feel golf is cool. I’d love to see a family rate. “We’ve got to be creative to get people playing and cut down the time it takes. Give the first six groups an incentive. If they play in less than four hours, give them back $10.” It appears that creating fast play and fun golf will be a lot easier than creating money to pay debt. MG •

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ince January 17, 1995, the Golf Channel has been cable television’s home for golf, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From its humble beginnings in Birmingham, Alabama to its present-day success with its availability to over 100 million households around the world, the Golf Channel has continually entertained golf fans through its coverage of European, LPGA, Nationwide, and PGA TOUR tournaments, as well as its variety of instruction shows ranging from the current-day The Haney Project to The Golf Fix with PGA professional Michael Breed. Through its choice of well-respected on-air talent such as Vince Cellini, formerly of CNN, and Ian Page, formerly of ESPN, the Golf Channel has become one of the most wellknown sports networks during the past decade. As an avid golfer with a passion for writing and on-air reporting, the Golf Channel also seemed to be an ideal company for me to work for. Ever since I was in middle school, I always had four life goals in mind – to eventually work for ESPN, PGA TOUR, Golf Digest, and the Golf Channel itself. After some consideration, I decided to apply for a marketing and promotions internship at the world headquarters and television studios at the Golf Channel in January 2008. I had my first interview with the Promotions Manager two months later and then….waited 8

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By: Chris Lewis

Photo courtesy of the Golf Channel

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Inside the Golf Channel

Chris Lewis

another two months before I heard back from the Golf Channel to learn that I was chosen out of hundreds of students for the opportunity of a lifetime – to work for one company that I loved more than any other, the Golf Channel.

After learning I was accepted for the internship during mid-May of last year, I was able to find housing in Kissimmee and then prepare for the long drive to Orlando from Detroit. Within a week of my acceptance for the internship, I was on I-75, driving towards my dream, completely unsure of what awaited me. Looking back, the entire experience was a rather courageous one, to say the least. First off, I did not know anyone in the state of Florida, besides my half-brother who lived a full two-and-a-half hours from Orlando in West Palm

Beach. Secondly, I had not lived completely on my own for that long of a period of time in my entire life. However, I was never nervous during the entire time I was in Florida. In fact, I honestly had the time of my life.

During the first two weeks I was at the Golf Channel I was just trying to become comfortable within the organization as I continually met new people each day. Eventually, as time wore on, I gained the trust and respect of Golf Channel employees, as I was assigned various projects, including Power points and Excel documents. By the beginning of the third week of my internship, I began to do what I love most – write, as I was assigned the responsibility of creating press releases featuring information about the various professional tour-

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naments that Golf Channel was covering for the week, ranging from the European Tour to the PGA TOUR. What I loved most about writing those press releases was that I was able to actually write about topics I was completely passionate about, while also having the responsibility to create documents that would be mailed to hundreds of sports journalists around the country. However, I was only just beginning to live out my dream.

Perhaps the best reason to intern with the Golf Channel during the summertime is because golf is in prime season at that time. From June through August, three of golf’s professional men’s major tournaments are played. In other words, from the beginning of June to the end of August, the Golf Channel is bustling with activity. I was able to witness this firsthand, as I was assigned to write a time-

at Hope College in the small-town of Holland, Michigan, was going to have an article published on GolfChannel.com! Even now, I can still remember how wonderful I felt when I saw my first article on Golf Channel’s website. As is the case in many professions, one assignment led to another, which led to yet another. Before I knew it, I had written ten articles for GolfChannel.com in about three weeks. I can only thank the Professional Golfers Association for this since last year’s PGA Championship was played at the world-renowned Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.

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fter I wrote the Open Championship timeline, I remember reminding Golf Channel’s New Media team that I was a Metro Detroit native and that I knew a lot about Oakland Hills Country Club and the surrounding

Michigan. Secondly, I wrote an article featuring information about Oakland Hills Country Club’s ‘Fearsome Fivesome’, which is comprised of holes 14 through 18. My knowledge of Michigan only led to more writing opportunities, as I was able to write an article which featured information about some of Detroit’s suburbs, including the best places to eat and to be entertained. Finally, I also wrote an article about the history of Oakland Hills, as well as a timeline of noteworthy PGA Championships. All in all, I had around six articles published on GolfChannel.com at once. It seemed that the whole website contained only my articles for the week of the PGA Championship not bad for a college kid just trying to find his way in life.

While it may be hard to believe, my time at the Golf Channel, as well as my summer as a whole, only further improved. During the

By the beginning of the third week of my internship, I began to do what I love most – write . . . line for the Open Championship in July after I met the editorial manager of GolfChannel.com. When I was asked to complete this article, I could not believe what I was hearing. I, Chris Lewis, a student 10

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area. Once I told the New Media team this, it seemed that the projects never stopped coming. First, I wrote an opinion article in which I described what I felt were the top five best public courses in

last couple weeks of my internship I was invited to attend the filming of various shows, ranging from the network’s famous Golf Central and Grey Goose 19th Hole to The Approach with Callaway Golf and

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Live From the PGA Championship. While watching the production of these shows, I met several Golf Channel employees, ranging from producers and cameramen to on-air personalities such as Kraig Kann, Ian Page, PGA TOUR winners Frank Nobilo and Brandel Chamblee, and Vince Cellini. Along with the honor of watching the production of several of my favorite Golf Channel shows and the publishing of my articles of GolfChannel.com, I was also able to attend the PGA Championship for the entire week without paying a cent.

Since the Promotions Manager knew I was born and raised in Michigan, she was able to provide a week-long press pass for me to use at the tournament. After the completion of my summer-long internship, just days before the start of the 90th PGA Championship, I drove all the way back up to Michigan in time for the first practice round of the week. Perhaps the greatest experience of the entire week, besides watching plenty of free golf at one of the world’s greatest golf courses, was my availability to attend the press tent, which featured numerous journalists from around the world. During PGA Championship week, I was able to network with media members from all sorts of organizations, ranging from ESPN to

the PGA TOUR. To this day, I still remain in touch with some of the journalists that I met last August, as I would love to pursue my dreams of eventually working for ESPN and the PGA TOUR one day.

Overall, my experience with the Golf Channel was overwhelmingly positive. I was able to live completely on my own in one of the largest and busiest cities in the country while working for one of the most well-respected sports networks in the world. When my articles were published on a world-renowned website, I was able to achieve goals beyond my wildest expectations. Even

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though I believe in my heart that I will one day work for another large golf organization in the future, I know that no matter what happens in the future I will always have that one special summer when I truly lived out my dream. I am especially grateful for that. Now, seven months after the end of my internship, I am striving forward with the following thoughts in mind for the future that I believe everyone should live by – live out your dreams and always believe in yourself. Never, ever give up on yourself and never stop believing in your abilities because you never know what opportunity you may encounter in the future. MG

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Golf Channel’s Amateur Tour in Michigan

Photo courtesy of the Golf Channel

By Chris Lewis

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Warwick Hills

hile you may not be able to hit a drive as long as John Daly or stiff a flop shot like Phil Mickelson, you can still compete in the game of golf, thanks to Golf Channel’s Amateur Tour, which provides amateurs with access to some of the nation’s finest courses, including TPC Sawgrass and PGA West. As a member of the nation’s largest amateur tour, you will have other benefits aside from playing worldrenowned golf courses. Amateur Tour members are able to network with golfers from across the country for the entire year for only $199. With twelve flights, including six senior flights, golfers can be assured of competing against people with similar skill levels. The Detroit Tour provides golfers 12

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with access to various courses ranging from Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc, home of the PGA TOUR’s Buick Open, to Devil’s Ridge Golf Course in Oxford. Thirteen of Michigan’s premier golf courses have been chosen to host tournaments for the Detroit tour. The following article describes each golf course and provides the date in which the course will host an Amateur Tour event.

Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club Grand Blanc, Michigan Date: April 20th

Since its opening in 1957, Warwick Hills Golf and Country

Club has been providing its members with a true test for decades. Originally designed by James Gilmore Harrison, and remodeled by Joe Lee, known for layouts such as Cog Hill No. 4, in 1968, the course challenges golfers of all distances, as it measures 7,127 yards from the back tees. Since 1978, Warwick Hills has consistently been home to the PGA TOUR’s Buick Open, a tournament full of past champions that are among the greatest golfers of all time, including Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Ben Crenshaw, and Billy Casper. Renowned for its crowds at the 197 yard par-three 17th, known by many as Warwick Hills’ signature hole, the Buick Open is one of the most exciting events on the PGA TOUR. Warwick Hills is certainly an ideal location for the start of the Detroit tour.

Eagle Eye Golf Course Bath, Michigan Date: April 26th

Eagle Eye, a links-style course designed by Chris Lutzke, in collaboration with Pete Dye, was rated as the fifth-best new course in America by Golf Digest in 2005. Known primarily for its signature 17th hole, which is a replica of TPC Sawgrass’s island green, Eagle Eye is measured at a full

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Chemung Hills Howell, Michigan Date: May 3rd

Since 1921, Chemung Hills has been providing a challenging golf experience for its visitors. While the course is rather short in today’s day and age of long drivers at only 6,438 yards from the back tees, Chemung Hills requires precision from tee to green. Chemung Hills is also rather affordable as 18 holes with a cart only cost $20 on weekdays and $27 on weekends before noon. After noon, 18 holes with a cart only cost $20 on weekends as well during spring time. The golf club is also well-known for its banquet center which accommodates up to 300 guests.

Timber Ridge Golf Course

Rated five stars by Golf Digest, Timber Ridge is a course you must play when you are in the Lansing area. Designed by Jerry Matthews, also known for his design of courses such as the highly-respected TimberStone in Iron Mountain, Timber Ridge is not overwhelmSPRING

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Devil’s Ridge Golf Course Oxford, Michigan Date: May 17th

Since 1995, Devil’s Ridge Golf Course has been one of the top destinations for golf in southeast Michigan. The 6,754 yard layout is known for its scenic terrain that provides golfers with an opportunity to play a course that is reminiscent of one located in Northern Michigan, but is actually only minutes from Metro Detroit. With four different sets of tees, Devil’s Ridge accommodates golfers of all skill levels. Through its elevation changes, narrow fairways, numerous bunkers, and wetlands, Devil’s Ridge provides golfers with an adventure every time. Finally, its awe-inspiring views attract golfers to return, time after time again.

Hawk Hollow

Bath, Michigan Date: May 31st

East Lansing, Michigan Date: May 9th

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ingly long at only 6,585 yards from the back tee. However, the course has been providing challenges to golfers since its opening in 1989 through its hilly terrain and small greens. Shot makers are rewarded on this aesthetically-pleasing golf course.

Photo courtesy of the Golf Channel

7,318 yards from the back tees in order to provide a challenge for golfers of all skill levels. The course is an attraction in Michigan for its fair prices, as the cost of 18 holes with a cart ranges from $33 to $89, depending on the day and season. The course also offers a 36-hole special - 18 holes at Eagle Eye and 18 holes at Hawk’s Hollow, the course next to Eagle Eye.

Another masterpiece from Jerry Matthews, Hawk Hollow has been rated four-and-a-half stars out of five by Golf Digest. With its twenty seven holes of championship golf, it is easy to understand why the course has earned so much respect from its visitors over the past decade. Hawk Hollow is

Hawk Hollow

known primarily for its immaculate greens and fair prices. With weekday rates of 27 holes with a cart for $50 during the spring time, Hawk Hollow provides one of the best values for Michigan golfers who are seeking quality while also hoping to save money during the nation’s current recession. Visitors of Hawk Hollow will surely leave the course satisfied with the condition and value of the course, as well as the service of its professional staff.

Dunham Hills Golf Course Hartland, Michigan Date: June 13th

Designed by August Kranites, Dunham Hills opened in 1967. Since its opening, Dunham Hills has been regarded as one of the best public courses in the state and has been well-respected for its course conditions, as well as its challenging layout. Accurate driving is a must for this narrow course which measures 6,731 yards from the back tees. With a course rating of 72.5 and a slope rating of 128, Dunham Hills will certainly challenge golfers of all handicaps. Finally, the course’s fast, undulating greens require short game mastery from all visitors.

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Canton, Michigan Date: June 28th

Designed by Arthur Hills and opened to the public in 1995, Pheasant Run Golf Club’s pristine conditions have captured the attention of thousands of golfers during the past decade. With its wide fairways, the course is playable for all golfers; however, the course still features areas of trouble to provide a challenging round of golf. This 27-hole layout features moderately sized greens that are always well-manicured. Pheasant Run is yet another wellrespected design of Arthur Hills, who is known primarily for his design of the Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, as well as the 27-hole Bay Harbor Golf Club in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsular.

Salem Hills Golf Club Northville, MI Date: July 11th

Since its opening in 1963, Salem Hills Golf Club has consistently been ranked as one of America’s top public golf courses. In spring 2005, the Detroit Free Press ranked Salem Hills as the number two best public course in Metro Detroit. At 6,992 yards from the back tees, Salem Hills is one of the longest courses on the Detroit Tour. The course is also fairly priced, with weekday rates of $40 for 18 holes with a cart. With a course rating of 73.0 and a slope of 124, Salem Hills is yet another challenging golf course in southeastern Michigan.

The Links of Novi Novi, Michigan Date: July 19th

Photo courtesy of the Golf Channel

Pheasant Run Golf Club

Yet another design from Jerry Matthews, The Links of Novi offers 27 wellmaintained and challenging holes at a fair price. The course’s spring rates include 18 holes with a cart for only $25. The nine-hole East Course is known for its tight fairways that challenge even the best shot makers, while the West Course has water that comes into play on eight of the nine holes. Finally, the South Course is short and tight, but, unlike the West Course, it does not have water hazards. Yet another gem in Metro Detroit, The Links of Novi will challenge golfers to play precisely.

The Glaciers Golf Club Washington, Michigan Date: July 25th

Arthur Hills has created another masterpiece in the state of Michigan with his design of the 18-hole The Glaciers Golf Club. At 7,190 yards from the back tees, The Glaciers requires a combination of length and accuracy for maximum success. Upgraded in 2006, 13 years after its opening, The Glaciers received new fairways, moundings, and tee grass. Well-regarded for its five different sets of tees, small greens, and numerous bunkers, The Glaciers is another shot maker’s course on the Detroit Amateur Tour circuit.

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Salem Hills

Coyote Preserve Golf Club Fenton, Michigan Date: August 8th

An Arnold Palmer signature course, Coyote Preserve Golf Club offers a Northern Michigan feel much like Devil’s Ridge Golf Course; however, it is only a short drive from the suburbs of Detroit. At 6,912 yards from the back tees, Coyote Preserve will certainly challenge golfers of all driving abilities. Nevertheless, the course’s five separate tee boxes offers golfers of all skill levels a chance to enjoy the course’s natural settings. With its close location to Detroit and five tee boxes, the course is sure to attract both beginning and advanced golfers for years to come.

The Orchards Golf Club

Washington, Michigan Date: August 22nd

Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., internationally known for his numerous popular course designs, The Orchards measures 7,036 yards from the back tees and has a course rating of 74.5 and a slope of 136. •

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(Courtesy of the Golf Channel) FLIGHT Championship Palmer Hogan Sarazen Jones Snead

Open Flight

INDEX 0-3.9 4.0-7.9 8.0-11.9 12.0-15.9 16.0-19.9 20.0 +

Senior Flight (50+)

FLIGHT Senior Championship Senior Palmer Senior Hogan Senior Sarazen Senior Jones Senior Snead

INDEX 0-3.9 4.0-7.9 8.0-11.9 12.0-15.9 16.0-19.9 20.0 +

Photo courtesy of the Golf Channel

Golf Channel’s Amateur Tour Flight Information

Coyote Preserve

The Orchards is well-regarded for its pristine conditions, numerous sand bunkers, and Victorian-style clubhouse. The Orchards has been rated as the number one public course in the state by The Detroit News. Since its opening in 1993, The Orchards has continually pleased guests through its well-manicured course conditions, as well as its challenging layout.

The Golf Channel’s Amateur Tour in Michigan provides residents with an opportunity to play some of the state’s finest courses against some of the state’s best amateur golfers. With its networking opportunities, cheap registration fee, and access to numerous, top-tier golf courses, the Golf Channel’s Amateur Tour will not disappoint even the most-avid golfer. MG

Photo by Kevin Frisch

Gaylord Country Club “The Video” Coming May 2009

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Photo courtesy of the Golf Channel

Gaming and Golf–– What a Difference a Decade Makes

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Sweetgrass By Art McCafferty

en years ago the MG visited every Native American casino that had been built in Michigan, as well as those in the planning stages. The article, “Gaming and Golf”, benchmarked that moment in time. MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

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At that time, there were only a handful of casinos that had golf as one of their amenities, now that number has increased. We invite you to revisit our original article (http://webgolfer.com/july99/in dex.html) if your curiosity is piqued.

We start this journalistic journey, where we left off last time, in the Upper Peninsula.

Brimley

Past champions include Jeff Quinney, Michael Harris, Chris Wisler and Rodney Butcher. While the tournament offered great exposure for both the course and the casinos, the cost was prohibitive and was shelved after the fourth year. Bay Mills Open

http://baymillsopen.co m/video05.html

Harris

Chip In’s Island Casino and Resort is the latest casino to build a golf course on property. They opened the Sweetgrass Golf Course last year, a Paul Albanese design, and already it is receiving awards. Golfweek Magazine’s 2009 Best Places to play ranked Sweetgrass 20th in the state. Not only do they have a new course, they have also expanded their casino and hotel facilities. Sweetgrass has partnered with Greywalls and Timberstone to form a troika of fine destination golf courses for those that find themselves in the Upper Peninsula.

Photo courtesy of Travel Michigan

Jeff Parker, chairman of the Bay Mills Tribe, not only can lay claim to the first casino in the United States, but can also claim the first golf course built on an Indian

reservation. The course, designed by Mike Husby, opened in 1998 and was an immediate success. Its fame quickly spread when it hosted four years of the Bay Mills Canadian Open

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Watersmeet

The Lac Vieux Desert Golf Course is a full 18 holes now with its new nine opening this year. The course was designed by the Wisconsin team of MattinglyKeuhn. Golfers will find an attractive casino with modern lodging facilities in their luxurious 132room Dancing Eagles Hotel . Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa have built a terrific complex for gamers and golfers in this part of our state.

At the time of our last story, the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa was not owned by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians . The tribe now owns a number high end properties in the Grand Traverse region. The Grand Traverse Resort and The Bear designed by Jack Nicklaus, has been a major golf destination since it was built. The Bear joined the original Spruce course designed by Bill Newcomb and was later joined by the Wolverine designed by Gary Player.

The resort did quite well in the 90’s, but tremendous competition from other courses and a softening golf economy, forced the owners to put it up for sale. The tribe bought it and made some substantial changes in the resort and put additional money into the courses.

The Michigan Open was held at the resort for over two decades, but decided for a variety of reasons, to move the tournament in 2009 to Orchard Lake CC.

Photo courtesy of Travel Michigan

Lower Peninsula

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

The first two years of the Native American Cup, held at the resort, had the early markings of a tournament that had some potential. However, the tournament did not generate the type of revenue needed to keep it going and it was cancelled.

Of late, the tribe has built another hotel near their casino and like other facilities in the North is holding on for better economic times.

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As with our past observance, the glitter of the casinos that most see, blind people to the seriousness of purpose and responsibility that is exhibited by the leadership that control the Indian’s newly found wealth. The tribes care deeply about the welfare of their people and many have translated that care into building new health facilities on their reservations. In addition, the tribes provide assistance for their members in obtaining appropriate educational experiences. MG •

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Photo courtesy of Drummond Island Resort

“The Rock”, Gem of the North, celebrates its 20th Birthday The Rock has many signature holes on its course.

By Mike Duff

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opular folklore poet, Merlin T. Kelley said it best… “Those who really feel Drummond Island in their hearts, know it for its true name…God’s Country”. 20

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Some 150 years ago when Drummond was first inhabited who would have thought that nowadays one of the most popular attractions to this sparsely populated island would be a golf course that can only be described as a true “Up North” experience.

About twelve miles from where the ferry drops you off and nearly in the center of the island lies The Rock, designed by Harry Bowers. Formally owned by Domino’s pizza king Tom Monaghan and built on a bed of limestone, it doesn’t come without some major draw backs such as how to keep the watering system functioning as the limestone shifts and the sprinkler heads move. To the average eye this is not a problem, but when I asked about the condition of a couple of holes Keli Higgins,

Director of Golf for the resort gave me the lowdown.

I played the course this past August with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Richard and Karen Blacklaw. All three of us found the course to be challenging yet playable and fair for the average golfer. Karen, a good golfer in her own right, said she thought playing from the forward tees tested her skills on nearly every hole. The course plays to 6837 yards from the tips and depending on how you hit the ball could make it a major challenge to your course management skills. The middle tees (6190) can also put you in a position to lay up or go for it on most of the holes since traps come in to play especially on # 1, 10, 13 and 17 tees. The next set of tees play to 5679 and would probably keep

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most golfers in play and satisfied with a good score.

Adding to the beauty of The Rock is the wild life, especially the deer, which are abundant. We saw three or four families with fawns grazing on the tees and in the nearby woods.

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olfing here is peaceful, tranquil and quiet. You rarely hear anything, other than an occasional bird, your heart beating or someone rummaging in the woods for a lost ball.

One of the significant features of The Rock is the beautifully framed greens seen on most holes because Harry Bowers took careful precision crafting their look to blend nature with the golfing experience. You walk away saying

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Wow, did you notice how beautiful that hole was.

Photo courtesy of Drummond Island Resort

The first two holes gave me some concern. Both needed some work and the greens still had some rough parts. Needless to say, my first impression led me to doubt the Rock’s reputation. But, I got over it fast, because the rest of the course met every expectation I had.

Golfing The Rock is peaceful, tranquil and quiet.

Most of the holes, depending on the tees you used gave you a challenging shot. The middle tees left you in position to make a second shot that didn’t punish you, but be careful, other hazards could interfere, like traps and marshes. The Rock’s signature hole, number 15 (94, 119, 131, 166) is a par three surrounded by cattails and marshland from tee to green. The rest of the course is designed to make you think about your next shot because each hole is shaped differently depending on the tee you use.

Photo courtesy of Drummond Island Resort

According to Merlin Kelley’s folklore, “God set the pebble near the tip of a peninsula in His Great Lakes” and that became Drummond Island. In 1950 it was known as the “Gem of the North” and in 1960 the island became known as The Rock.

One of the significant features of The Rock is the beautifully framed greens 22

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You can get to Drummond Island by taking the ferry from DeTour Village on M134, the eastern-most town in the Upper Peninsula. Drummond Island is approximately 56 miles from the bridge. The cost for the ferry is $12 ($7 for seniors) per car/ driver plus $2 ($1) per passenger. A round of golf with cart is $59. Call 800-999-6343 to reserve your tee time or make arrangements for lodging. MG

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At Grand Traverse Resort, Being ‘In the Dog House’ is a Good Thing!

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

By Susan Bairley

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The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s Dog House has a fenced yard with a semi-covered, concrete patio area and lots of grassy runaround room and trees.

og owners ready for a guiltfree northern Michigan golf holiday – which includes Rover or ‘Toto, too,’ – will want to check-in, and check out The Dog House – The Ultimate Dog Retreat at Grand Traverse Resort for their four-

legged family members.

GTR’s Dog House, which opened last July, is a dog boarding facility where social pooches can have fun on their own, while their owners enjoy Grand Traverse Resort’s champi-

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onship golf courses, resort amenities and nearby area attractions.

Located on the GTR campus, a little out of the way of most resort activity, The Dog House offers overnight boarding and doggie daycare in a ren-

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ovated house, with fenced yard. Inside, The Dog House reception area opens into a good-sized kitchen and colorfully painted play and sleep spaces. Outside, the fenced yard has a semi-covered, concrete patio area, lots of grassy runaround room and trees.

GTR guests have priority placement for their pets, but space-available services also are offered to area visitors and residents. Susan and John Merner, who were checking in their two dogs – a puggle, named Bonnie, and lab, named Mosel –

couldn’t say enough about their satisfaction with The Dog House. Longtime vacationers in nearby Beulah, it was their pets’ second daycare visit. “It’s nice, and they are well taken care of while they’re here,” they said, noting that their dog-free day would also be free of worries and time constraints.

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

Dog House Manager Erin Harrison is a veterinary clinic-trained technician who loves dogs – and the new facility. She said The Dog House is staffed 24/7, which gives owners access to their pets anytime they want them. Eventually Web cams also will be installed to allow GTR guests to check-in on their pets from their hotel accommodations.

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

Dog House Manager Erin Harrison is a veterinary clinic-trained technician who loves dogs.

J. Mike DeAgostino, GTR public relations manager, said the Dog House was the brainchild of General Manager Grant Channing, who several years ago, started to consider it in GTR’s plans. “It was just a matter of timing and location,” DeAgostino said. “And this location, which is away from the main traffic areas, gives pets a relaxed, fresh-air environment, and gives pet owners, piece of mind.” Overnight rates at the Dog House are $35/night, and because capacity is limited, advance registration is required.

Michael DeAgostino reminds everyone to wipe their paws. 24

Like all boarding facilities, dogs checking-in must have their shots and Bordetella vaccines up-to-date, and because it is a cage-free facility, no gigolos, ‘babies,’ or bullies are allowed. In other words, all dogs must be spayed or neutered, older than six months, be non-aggressive and generally social.

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For more information and daycare rates, call 231-534-6765 or visit www.grandtraverseresort.com

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

MG


Crystal Mountain – A Year-Round Pleasure

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

New Spa and Fitness Center is Crystal Recreational Centerpiece

Crystal Spa’s Meditation Lounge

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used to think Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich., ‘had it all,’ when it came to family summer golf and winter skiing. However, now I know it really does have it all. Owners and executive officers, Jim and Chris MacInnes, who respectively serve as Crystal’s

By Susan Bairley

president and general manager, and senior vice president, continue to reinvent their mountain resort community by carefully executing each step of their multi-phased master plan for the property. And while each improvement signals ‘better’ as well as ‘more, when you’re starting at ‘great,’ the results are pretty spectacular.

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The new Crystal Spa and Peak Pool & Fitness Center are two of those ‘incremental’ improvements, which amid Michigan’s ailing economy, are also a remarkable feat. The MacInnes’ $5.5 million spa and fitness center addition is a testament to their sound business planning, as well as a vote of confidence that Crystal’s legacy will •

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be firmly planted among future generations of northern Michigan vacationers and residents.

Photo courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

The simple frosted glass door of the new Crystal Spa is all that stands between the resort’s active recreation and ultimate relaxation. Browns, earthtones, granite and a gentle cascade of falling water create a warm welcoming ambiance in the spacious reception area. The colors and textures, along with muted hues of sage and slate, complement the contemporary design that reigns throughout. The result is an 18,500square-foot space that blends its northern environment with high-end luxury.

While the Crystal Spa design could easily be lifted to Manhattan, Chris has worked hard to ensure the spa is not too urban chic by adding local art, including photos by northern Michigan photographer, Brian Confer, and little touches that are characteristic of Crystal Mountain, its natural beauty and guest-first hospitality. The men’s and women’s spa locker rooms have clean modern lines and each has its own steam room and sauna. Both lead to the spa’s Meditation Lounge, where guests will await their treatment specialist and can enjoy a cup of tea. Furnished with cushioned 26

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wicker chairs and chaises, the room has a full brick-wall with a long narrow fireplace and a full wall of windows that looks out into the spa’s Meditation Garden and hot tub. A contemporary chandelier, made of a long cascade of

porate graphic that lists all of Crystal’s leisure and recreational offerings emanating from the spa and fitness center ‘hub,’ she said the Crystal Spa and Peak Pool &Fitness Center are at the center of the wheel, tying together all that the resort has to offer its guests.

“The spa and fitness center are inspired by the natural beauty of northern Michigan,” she said. “And whether you’re here to golf or ski, or just relax with a book amid nature, the spa and fitness center complements it all.”

Crystal Spa’s reception area Swarovski crystals, leads guests down the stairs to 12 lower-level, treatment rooms. There, the muted colors and ‘pin-drop quiet’ promise a retreat where the focus is simply you.

The treatment rooms are equipped for a myriad of massage and skin treatment options, including a couple’s room with private whirlpool bath, and a Vichy shower room, where pulsating water will work its magic from head to toe.

Chris said the new Crystal Spa and Peak Pool & Fitness Center are designed to be a “destination experience.” Citing Crystal’s “Healthy Lifestyles Wheel,” a cor-

Midwest.

The new Crystal Spa is one of only six in the United States to be LEED – ‘greenbuilding’— certified and is the only LEEDcertified spa in the

During its first full day of operation, which coincided with Crystal’s Women’s Winter Weekend, the spa had 57 appointments booked – giving it a healthy running start.

Services range from manicures and pedicures to facial and skin treatments and a variety of massage styles and packages. Prices range from $15 for a simple polish refresh or lip waxing to $350 per couple for two side-by-side, restorative 80-minute massages. For more information, visit www.crystalmountain.com or call 1.800.YOUR.MTN. MG

MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE


SLICE OF LIFE Golfing Son

t the recent PGA Championship at Oakland Hills while sitting in the shady grandstand behind the green at the par-five 12th hole, I had a pleasant flashback of sorts. Marveling at the skill of the game’s best players I was saying to myself how lucky I was just to be there. Then I remembered it was in 1960 that my infatuation for golf took on a new dimension when my parents took my brother and me to the PGA Championship at Firestone CC in Akron. That was the first professional golf tournament I’d ever attended and it made a lasting impression on me. I remembered watching the colorfully clad Doug Sanders with his short backswing that could fit inside a telephone booth. (Did my brother copy it?) I remembered watching muscular Mike Souchak (who died recently) drive the ball out of sight. I remembered the sweet swings and tempos of Gene Littler and Julius Boros. I remembered watching Slammin’ Sammy Snead hit practice balls to within a

Photo courtesy of Terry Moore

A

By Terry Moore

few feet of his caddie’s shag bag. But best of all, I remembered watching my hero at the time, Arnold Palmer. As a lowly buck private in his Army, I would have followed Arnie all 18 holes if my parents had allowed me. The experience was more than just attending a tournament; it was as if a whole new world had opened up to me. These were special men doing extraordinary things and I couldn’t

get enough of it.

Thinking back on that PGA while at Oakland Hills made me realize how a little policy such as allowing junior golfers to be admitted free to a tournament with an adult is such a powerful initiative. So kudos to the PGA for following up on the example first set by the Masters for this junior golf measure that really costs peanuts if anything. “Growing the

Mary and Henry Moore passed on their love of the game to sons Terry and Tim.

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game” is a mantra but if we don’t get youngsters excited and enthralled about the game at this basic level, then the more lofty measures will fall flat.

Photo courtesy of the PGA of America

I’m thankful I had parents who loved golf and passed that passion on to me. At a very early age but sans diapers, my mom used to take me to her nine-hole golf outings and had me ride on her pull cart. Amazingly, she managed me and her game at the same time. Later, my Dad allowed me to pull his cart for him on weekends and watch him play the game with his friends and relatives. They bought clubs for my brother and me and encouraged us to play at every opportunity. Best of all, they built a house that was only a bike ride away from a municipal 36-hole golf course that even boasted a caddie program. At ten, I remembered following in my older broth-

er’s footsteps and becoming a caddie while also sharpening my fledgling golf skills. Caddying really was a major boost to my game. It fully exposed me to all aspects of golf and how people of all ages handled themselves on the course. It was learning by osmosis and observation and there’s no better methodology. The week before last, I traveled to the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta (MI) for a memorial service and burial for my parents. My dad served in WWII as a B-25 bomber pilot and remarkably flew and survived 61 missions. He earned several medals including the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross. After an equally heroic battle with cancer, my mom passed away 14 years ago but her cremains had awaited internment until my dad passed away last month. Fort Custer

National Cemetery is a beautiful and peaceful place (our own Arlington Cemetery), one that makes you proud of how our country venerates its fallen veterans and their spouses. Led by a close friend who’s a priest, my parents were honored with a fitting memorial service that included a six-gun salute and a presentation of a flag to my brother and me. Their cremains were laid to rest in the ground wetted by tears and softened by final goodbyes. Growing up, I had a series of golf heroes formed by impressions and exploits seen on television or occasionally at tournaments like that PGA Championship at Firestone. But in truth, the two greatest golf heroes of my life are Henry and Mary Moore who grew the game in my heart. It’s comforting to know they’re now at rest and in God’s arms in Augusta. MG

Terry Moore is pictured here with Greg Johnson of the Grand Rapids Press and award winning writer, Jack Berry

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Michigan Golfer, Spring 2009  

Michigan Golfer, Spring 2009

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