Michigan Golfer, Fall 2016

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http://michigangolfer.com MICHIGAN GOLFER Publisher/Editor Art McCafferty artmccaf@glsp.com Editor Emeritus Terry Moore

Associate Publisher/Producer Jennie McCafferty Writers Jeff Bairley Paul Bairley Susan Bairley Phyllis Barone Jack Berry Mike Duff Keith Gornick Greg Johnson Doug Joy Vartan Kupelian Brad King Tom Lang Chris Lewis Scott Moore Bill Shelton

Scott Sullivan

Photo/Video Kevin Frisch Gary Morgan Dave Richards Carter Sherline Scott Sullivan Director of Accounting Cheryl Clark

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Travis Pointe CC–– A Drone’s Eye View, An Al Peas Video Michigan Open, 2016, Prestwick Village The Ladies of the LPGA– Carter Sherline Photography Western Junior Championship, Red Run Golf Club Jerry Matthews Remembers Timberstone, with Jack Berry Jack Berry Interviews Timberstone Director of Golf, Larry Short A Video Tour of Greywalls Golf Course Jack Berry Interviews Craig Moore, Greywalls of Marquette CC Superintendent Jack Berry Interviews Tony Mancilla– Sage Run GC Coming in 2017 Sweetgrass, a Paul Albanase and Chris Lutzke Design U.S. Amateur Presser, Maverick McNealy of Stanford U.S. Amateur Presser, USGA’s Ben Kimball, Putting more teeth in the Monster U.S. Amateur Presser, Mike Trostel, Director, USGA Museum Canada’s Olympic Golf Team, introduced by Scott Russell at the RBC Canadian Open Michael Cochrane’s Book: ‘Olympic Lyon’, a Jennie McCafferty Interview Michigan Women’s Amateur 100th Anniversary Celebration Video Rebirth of Meadowbrook CC Golf Course, with Andy Staples, Parts III & IV A Quick Tour of Spring Meadows CC in Linden 100th Anniversary Michigan Women’s Amateur, Scramble and Dinner, 2016 U.M. Golf – New Clubhouse, Putting Green and New Tees on No. 1 and No. 10 Marquette Golf Club’s Greywalls – A Michael DeVries Design, with Jack Berry Marquette Golf Club’s Greywalls, Tours of the Front and Back Nines Michigan Golfer Olympic Coverage with Gary Morgan Meadowbrook Country Club Centennial Celebration, 2016 Boyne’s Alpine GC with Jack Berry and William Newcomb Emily Gail, a Detroit Treasure in Running and Golf, with Carter Sherline U.S. Amateur Championship, Oakland Hills, 2016, Curtis Luck, Brad Dalke U.S. Amateur Championship, Oakland Hills, 2016, Final Press Conference U.S. Amateur Championship, Oakland Hills, 2016 – Scenes Nick Carlson and Curtis Luck and “The Match” at the U.S. Amateur Rio 2016 Golf Course Described by Designer’s Daughter The North Course at Oakland Hills, Shawn Smith’s Changes William Newcomb Series – The Beginning: Student, Athlete & Architect A Tour of Spruce Run, a William Newcomb Design The Story of Spruce Run GC, with Bill Newcomb and Jack Berry A Tour of LochenHeath GC, A Drone’s Eye View LochenHeath GC, an Interview with Architect Steve Smyers


In This Issue VOLUME 34

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10 13 17 17 19 24 30





Q & A with Ryan Brehm, Web.com Tour’s Newest Champion By Terry Moore

The Berry Patch By Jack Berry

The Kids are Coming! By Bill Shelton

Black Lake Golf Club and the ‘House’ that the UAW Built By Susan Bairley

For Its Creators, a Dream Nearly Realized, Then Gone By Susan Bairley

Nick Aune Rolls Out the Red Carpet at Black Lake By Susan Bairley

Innisbrook: Championship Golf, High-end Amenities. . . and Fun for Everyone By Chris Lewis Ludington – for Great Golf and So Much More By Susan and Paul Bairley

Slice of Life:  By Terry Moore

About the cover:

Michigan Golfer News

Ryan Brehm poses with the trophy after winning the WinCo Foods Portland Open at Pumpkin Ridge Witch Hollow on August 28, 2016 in North Plains, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

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Q and A with Ryan Brehm, Web.com Tour’s Newest Champion By Terry Moore

On Sunday, August 28, Mt. Pleasant (MI) native Ryan Brehm won on the Web.com Tour in Portland, OR, and secured his PGA TOUR card for the upcoming season. A winner at every stage of his remarkable golf career, Brehm was named Michigan High School’s Mr. Golf in 2004 as the state’s premier prep player. The next year he was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year at Michigan State University. While at MSU, he won five college tournaments, was named All-Big Ten, and helped lead the Spartans to conference titles three times. Later serving as an assistant and interim head golf coach, Brehm also holds the career scoring average (73.26) at MSU. Brehm also excelled in other competitions, including making the cut at the 2005 Buick Open—the first amateur to do so since 1966. In 2007, he won the prestigious Michigan Amateur at Red Run GC. Turning pro, Brehm found success in state championships, winning the Michigan Open three times in 2009, 2010 and 2014. In 2014, he finished solo second at PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying School to earn exempt status on that Tour for 2015 where his best finish was a T-2nd. Later that year, he earned his 2016 Webdotcom Tour card by a T-5 finish at the Tour Qualifying School. This year Brehm, 30, has played in all 21 of the Web.com tournaments. Before winning last Sunday at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz, his best finish was T-3 the week before in Knoxville, TN and also in March in Louisiana. In Portland, Brehm went 63-70-68-68—269, 15 under par, to win by one stroke and earn $144,000. Later that week Brehm and I spoke by phone from Traverse City where he lives with his wife Chelsey. Here are edited excerpts of our conversation. How did you feel last Saturday night knowing you’d be in the final pairing?

I felt fine. I was prepared for Sunday and it was a different expectation for me. I knew I had to go out and play well. Instead of trying to hang on to something, I needed to go out and get it done. I hadn’t always thought that way. And how did you feel during the round Actually, I had a smooth transition 4

in my thinking from the previous night and the final round. Midway through the final round, I knew I had a chance to win so long as I kept hitting my spots and giving myself chances at birdies. I made some big putts on the back nine that weren’t long but were important. How did you approach your driving strategy on Sunday?

I kept to the same game plan on Sunday off the tee and only changed it on 18 when I knew I had a twoshot lead. Recently, I’ve tried not to


look at the leaderboards until the last few holes when it’s important to know where you stand. So that’s what I did on Sunday. I kept my head down and didn’t watch the scoreboards until I approached the final tee box because, given it’s a reachable par-five, there are several ways to play that hole to make a particular score. Talk us through that last hole.

I hit a three-iron off the tee which left me 315 holes to the flagstick but over a hazard. So I laid up and hit

my next shot only 100 yards. For my third shot, I tried to cut a fiveiron onto the green but I messed up and found the bunker. I took a safe route out of the bunker and played for a two-putt bogey which gave me a one-shot cushion. It was a great feeling to sink that final putt. In your post-round interview, you talked about “a calmness” you felt on Sunday. Can you explain it?

My relaxed feeling was a culmination of factors occurring not only this season but probably over the last 20 years. Deep down, I felt was ready to

agement and shotmaking skills have meshed well all year long. If you keep a steady head and a quiet confidence it’ll lead to better decisions and better shots.

Talk about how competitive it is on Web.com Tour and how low a player must go to win out there. It hits on what I was saying earlier about really learning how to play the game at this level. The difference for me between this year and last year is amazing. First, the course conditions and set-up out here are not easy. It’s not an average day at your club. The rough is usually

before in Knoxville help your playing attitude and confidence? Absolutely. In Knoxville I asked my caddie on the final fairway where we stood. He told me we were a shot back. So here I was sizing up my second shot on this par-five which is 611 yards and the green is over water. I was faced with a shot of 271 yards to a back right pin. The only scenario where I would go for this pin was being down one on the last hole of a tournament. But I hit a solid shot with my three-wood just on the green. Though I didn’t get it up and down for a birdie, I played that hole and that shot without any

“You have to be fearless.” win on the PGA Tour. But I can say there were times I didn’t feel that way. The more I think about what happened in Portland, the more I believe I really didn’t know how to play golf these many years. By that I mean I knew how to hit the golf ball but I really didn’t know how to play the game. Everyone seems to have a different time frame on this sort of awareness and I guess mine took longer than most. In terms of your game, what was different about this year?

This year was different for me in terms of my decision-making on the course and when to take risks. To a degree my shotmaking has been elevated this year so my course man6

tough and the pins are tucked in the corners of the greens. You have to learn how to curve the ball into those tucked pins to have a shot at birdies. In fact, you even have to think how the ball will spin toward the hole. And what is the mindset to win?

You have to be fearless. It’s the most important quality. A lot of people say a player must play smart. But you have to know when to take a risky shot and then pull it off. That decision is often the key to victory. You just can’t go out there and play defensively and tentatively. Players are too good and talented. Did your T-3 finish the week


fear. That carried over to last weekend in the final round. With your PGA Tour card now secured, what’s a reasonable number of tournaments you’ll enter?

Since my win catapulted me into the fourth money spot, my playing status in the upcoming season is much improved as opposed to if I had just cracked the Top 25. I’ll be getting into more tournaments and there’s a good chance I’ll be playing in all of the Fall Series on the PGA Tour. My goal is to keep playing well and maybe get myself in another situation like I had in Portland. - MG -

The Berry Patch

Both celebrated centennials this year, the club’s formation in 1916 and the women their 100th championship tournament. Oakland Hills drew week-long raves from three Fox television commentators who know and appreciate great golf courses, superb putter Brad Faxon, twotime United States Open champion Curtis Strange and Ryder Cup match play expert Paul Azinger. The galleries were great, the members were enthused and the course never looked better. The contestants in the 116th United States Amateur, America’s oldest golf championship, were tested by 18 greens that the pro trio called just

about the best in championship golf. But it wasn’t just the greens. Ben Hogan saluted the whole course after winning the United States Open in 1951, saying he’d “finally brought this monster to its knees.” It hasn’t changed. Nick Carlson, University of Michigan sophomore, was electric, hitting superb shots, going overtime, even bringing UM Athletic Director Warde Manuel out. Carlson went 23 holes before losing in the semifinal to eventual champion Curtis Luck. It was the best performance by a Michigander since Chuck Kocsis lost in the 1956 final to Harvie Ward. No Michigan resident has won the Amateur. The top level of the United States Golf Association seemed to

forget Oakland Hills after the successful 2002 Amateur and while another Open is more than a decade away, Lee Juett, chairman of the Amateur, said “Based on what they said, they’ll be coming back. Opportunities and windows were identified and we said we want a long-term relationship with them.” While the Open is booked through 2026, Juett indicated “something else” may come along before the club hosts its seventh Open. What will it be? The USGA holds 13 championships, seniors, men, women, mid-amateurs and juniors plus international and team events. No television network for the Women’s 100th Amateur with dinner at Spring Meadows Country Club but they teed off with past champions Joan Garety, Mary Jane Anderson Hiestand, Stacy

Photo courtesy of Oakland Hills

Photo by Art McCafferty


io de Janeiro didn’t hand out all the gold medals this year. I believe we had a lot of gold medal performances in Michigan golf led by Oakland Jack Berry Hills Country Club and the Women’s Michigan Amateur.

By Jack Berry

Oakland Hills




Photo by Jennie McCafferty

Nick Carlson tees off on Number 1 in the semifinal of the U.S. Amateur Championship, Oakland Hills. Slobodnick-Stoll, Allyson Geer and Shirley Spork who had two celebrations “back home.” Spork also attended Meadowbrook Country Club’s celebratory centennial dinner. When Shirley was a young competitor out of Redford High School she couldn’t play in the Amateur because she wasn’t a member of a private club. A Meadowbrook member changed that and the club made her an honorary member. She went on to Eastern Michigan University, and won the Women’s District Match Play three times in four years. Spork entered a tournament in Chicago and Babe Zaharias, trying to start a women’s professional 8

league, recruited her by saying “You are a professional.” And thus she became one of the founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Spork was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1989. The Michigan Women’s Amateur started in 1914 and among the champions who went on to the LPGA are Meg Mallon, Bonnie Lauer, Sharon Miller, Elaine Crosby, Joyce Kazmierski, Debbie Williams and Suzy Green-Roebuck. Patti Shook Boice remained amateur and won the Amateur seven-times and Michigan State alumnas Slobodnick-Stoll and Garety were two-time winners. Champion women not only in


this year of special celebrations but every year have been Betty Richart of Ann Arbor, past chair of the USGA Women’s Committee and a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. She has been an integral force in the Michigan Golf Foundation and Sara Wold, also of Ann Arbor, is twin in that respect. It has been a gold medal summer too for Brian Stuard of Jackson and Oakland University who broke through on the PGA Tour to win at New Orleans (ahead: the Masters! Tournament of Champions!) and Ryan Brehm who won the Web.com Portland, Ore., event and earned a PGA Tour card. Stuard has won $1 million-plus in three seasons. Brehm, from fellow Mt. Pleasant long hitter Dan Pohl,

Not only did the big boys and girls do well but so did the kids. Perhaps the trip to the Masters had 1,102 youngsters thinking Augusta when they participated in Drive Chip & Putt at eight sites around the state. And the PGA Junior League has nearly doubled since it started in 2014 with 54 teams. This year 1,092 boys and girls played on 102 teams. It definitely has been a medal worthy year.

Shirley Spork, Bonnie Bairley, and Susan Bairley attend Meadowbrook Country Club’s centenial celebration.

Photo courtesy of Oakland Hills

- MG -

© Carter Sherline / Frog Prince Studios

has been bouncing on the lower tours but the Spartan grad won three Michigan PGA Championships while summering at home and now he goes to the big tour.

Oakland Hills Clubhouse




The Kids are Coming!

The Championships are the brainchild of Dan Van Horn, founder and president of U.S. Kids Golf. In addition to the World Championships, U.S. Kids International sponsor over 950 tournaments and championships throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Mexico, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Horn state the mission of U.S. Kids Golf “is to ahelp kids have fun learning the lifelong game of golf and to encourage family interaction that builds lasting memories. 10

Tournament action began with the Teen World Championship that included three rounds of individual competition, a skills challenge, college golf seminar, and a team competition. Approximately 600 teens competed in the event, on courses ranging in length from 5200 to 7000 yards. Fourteen year-old Jack Heath of Charlotte NC shot the lowest sore of -7 (71, 67, 71) in the boys division. Ana Raquel Sanson Leon of Panama and Chloe Schiavone of Jacksonville FL shared girls low tournament honors with a +7 total for the three days. Frequently identified as a “proving ground” for major national and international amateur tournaments, the championship is also a showcase for college coaches to evaluate future recruits. According to an ACC coach in attendance, in addition to academic potential and low scoring averages, extensive tournament experience is a major factor. Nearly 1600 players, grouped in competition from ages 6 and under to 12 years old, teed it up in the US. Kids Golf World Championship in the second week. Tournament events include 3 rounds of

individual competition, a demo day, skills contest, club and ball fittings, team challenge, and a parent information seminar.Ten year-old Sihan Sandu of Ashburn VA took top honors in the boys division with an astounding -23 (63, 62, 68) on a 5200-yard course. Eleven year-old Alexo Pano of Lake Worth FL led the girls with -12 (67, 67, 70) in the 6 and under division. Yuuma Nemoto of Chiba, Japan recorded a -14 in three nine-hole rounds. An enticing bonus for each championship is the Van Horn Cup, an 18-hole better-ball team competition, featuring the top U.S players versus the best players from the rest of the world. Founder and President Van Horn noted, “With the popularity of the Ryder Cup matches . . . and the (return of golf) to the Olympic games, we know young golfers begin dreaming of being on a team and representing

Photo courtesy of Pinehurst


ecent concerns about the status of golf including decreasing interest, courses closing, rising costs, and slow play Bill Shelton seemed unfounded as more than 2200 young players “invaded” Pinehurst, North Carolina, last year, to compete in the U.S.Kids World Championship and the Teen World Championship. From late August to the first week of September, eleven area golf courses hosted competition in 12 age groups ranging from 6 and under to 15-18 teens. The 112th annual Kids event kicked off with an “Olympic Parade of Nations” through Pinehurst Village with participants form all 50 states and 50 foreign countries carrying their national flags.

By Bill Shelton

An enticing bonus for each championship is the Van Horn Cup.


Photo courtesy of Pinehurst

The Championships draw an international field as clearly evident by the diversity of languages on the practice range. their country at an early age. For the Teen competition, 18 players on each team are determined by the top finalists in both the boys and girls age group. In the Kids event, top boys and girls from the age 12 division compete. The United States Team won both the Teen (5.5 3.5) and Kids (5.5-2.5) Van Horn Cups. Another unique feature of all competitions addresses the pace of play. Volunteer “timers” are positioned at the greens of 4 different holes. Each foursome is timed based on the difference between its competition of the hole compared to that of the previous group. If the difference exceeds the allotted 15 minutes, the group is give a “red card” and told to speed up play. If they are successful by the time it reaches the next timer the red card is

withdrawn. If a group has a red card at the conclusion of the 18th hole, each player is penalized one stroke. More than 650 volunteers assisted in the two Championships.

efforts to grow the game. And, these programs can only exist with the financial support and volunteer commitment of those who love the game.

As to the players and their families, the Championships draw an international field as clearly evident by the diversity of languages on the practice range. Secondly, golf is very much a family affair as parents serve as coaches, caddies and cheerleaders. Thirdly, the participants are playing with the best of equipment. And finally, the “Rickie Fowler” influence in golf attire is clearly evident among the youngsters!

Does it really matter? Just ask the 5 year-old competitor, Tommy Morrissey of Palm Beach Garden FL. Born with only one arm, Tommy shot a +22 including a few birdies along the way! He once had a putting contest with Tiger Woods and readily mimics the swings of Jordan, Rory, Rickie, and even Phil. He has appeared on the Golf Channel and Ellen DeGeneris Show. This was his first trip to the World Championship, but according to Tommy, it won’t be his last!

For all the concerns about the future of the game of golf, initiatives such as the U.S. Kids events and the First Tee programs are positive

- MG -




Black Lake Golf Club and The ‘House’ that the UAW Built by Susan Bairley

Photo by Paul Bairley: Black Lake Sunrise


t calls itself a ‘hidden gem,’ and actually, that’s the truth. Tucked away near Cheboygan on northern Susan Bairley Michigan’s sunrise side, Black Lake Golf Club and the UAW Conference Center are a real find for golfers, boaters and northern Michigan vacationers. As a matter of fact, it’s such a great hideaway that back in the day, honeymooners like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz arrived and left virtually unnoticed.

This ‘house’ that the UAW built is an amazing property. Retro in design, yet modern in conveniences and architecturally unique – it sits on the shores of beautiful Black Lake. The hotel and conference center, designed by Oscar Stonorov, are architectural masterpieces. Nowhere will you see the use of natural wood in such abundance. Red cedar was used both inside and out. Doors and wood trim are made from birch, pecan wood paneling in the sleeping rooms. Corridor railings are red birch and many handrails are teak. Even the dining

Photo by Paul Bairley

Black Lake’s 18-hole Golf Club, designed by Rees Jones, and its 9hole Little Course have always been

open to the public, but only in the last few years has the 1,020-acre Walter and May Reuther UAW Family Education Center lodging and lakeside property welcomed non-affiliated visitors. Considering that the nearest hotel is a few miles away, opening onsite lodging and camping to the public has made the course ‘destination-worthy’ in a big way.


UAW Conference Center Dining Hall FALL 2016 • MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

room ceiling lamps have translucent, thin wood circular shades. Huge windows in the main lobby open the fieldstone and wood interiors to the beautiful and natural outdoors, blending inside and out masterfully, reminiscent of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The hotel can sleep 400; the expansive dining room can seat 300. Enclosed glass walkways connect building to building. There’s an Olympic-size pool with towering wood ceiling and expansive windows that look onto the forest. A full-size gym can double as an auditorium and seats 1,200. Everything that looks like marble is granite. All bronze work was cast in Italy and designed by Vivalli. More than 15,000 tons of Crab Orchard stone came from Wisconsin and fireplace hearths are from Canada and French Creek, Pennsylvania. The main lobby area of the lodge also

Photo by Paul Bairley

Black Lake Golf Club #1 Green hosts a fascinating collection of United Auto Workers history and memorabilia, mostly gathered on the second floor mezzanine. And in deference to the UAW, all non-unionmade autos must be left outside the gate – making the free shuttle a must for those driving foreign made cars. Although a little off-putting to some, you have to respect the UAW for being true to its cause. The property has 51 campsites, a sandy beach, softball field, bocce court, boat launch, apartment-style accommodations, hotel and lodge rooms. The original log-cabin lodge, built in 1932 by Detroit advertising executive Lou Maxon, also has rooms that can be reserved individually and spaces that can be rented by groups, including the full lodge, if available. The décor is old school, but in an

amazingly special way. Our two-bedroom apartment had spacious living and dining rooms, high ceilings and a full kitchen. The countertops had speckled white formica surfaces, just like those in my mom’s 1963 home, and the bathrooms had old-style tile surfaces and surrounds. The bedrooms were fairly small but comfortable and cozy considering the expansive living spaces, and they were without TVs – yea! The large flat screen in the living room was fine with us, and we loved the apartment’s big, private balcony facing the forest.

What’s especially nice about the Rees Jones design is it makes fine use of the natural topography yet adds dramatic and exquisite bunkering throughout.


Other favorites are the 15th through finishing 18th holes. The par 5, 15th, which plays 515 to 387 yards, depending on tee choice, brings some risk-reward into play with the lake on the left. Playing it safe, requires a skilled second shot and ball placement between the lake and right framing bunkers on the

ow for the golf. Black Lake Golf Club is both challenging and playable. Its wide, tree-lined fairways keep every hole solely in view. Carved through beautiful hardwood and evergreen forests, it is scenic and rolling. With five sets of tees, it plays from from 5,058 to 7,030 yards.

Signature hole #5, is a par 3 that plays 235 yards from the championship tee to 145 yards from the front. It has a long lobed bunker, shaped like an oak leaf on steroids, which runs the length of the hole on the right. This ‘Sahara’ bunker makes the hole amazingly intriguing and fun-to-play.




dogleg approach to the green, but long hitters can go for the green in two, crossing the lake. You’re high and dry on the elevated tees of the par 4, 16th hole, but accuracy is required to make par on this dogleg right, guarded at the corner by a large tree. Bunkered on the left, with bailout relief on the right, the undulating green, like others, is framed by mature trees. The par 4, 17th is bordered by the lake on the right for most of the fairway. Broad landing areas keep the lake mostly out of play and the right bunker at the green also can save an errant shot from rolling into the lake, but not without a next-shot challenge.

Since opening in 2000, Black Lake Golf Club has received numerous recognitions. It was ranked 34th in Golf Digest’s “100 Greatest Public Courses in America” in 2009-2010 and placed ninth in Best Value. The course also was named one of the Top 50 public golf courses for women by Golf for Women magazine in 2001 and hosted the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship in 2003. More recently, it was ranked 69th among Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” (2013) and was ranked among the top 10 ‘Best Courses to Play in Michigan” in 2013 and 2014. It also is certified by Audubon International, Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System and the Michigan State Turfgrass

Photo by Paul Bairley

Finally, the 18th hole brings it home grandly with a slightly uphill, par 5 that plays 590 to 450 yards. The green is deep and strongly guarded on the left by a sculptured bunker.

Patrons of the Black Lake Grille, which offers breakfast, lunch and a great dinner menu, can eat indoors or on the outside patio, watching groups play out the finishing hole.


Black Lake Golf Course No. 5 FALL 2016 • MICHIGAN GOLFER MAGAZINE

Environmental Stewardship Program. In addition, the 773-yard Little Course at Black Lake is a fun, walking nine that offers excellent short game practice. While the tees are mats, the greens and the approaches are professionally maintained. Grab a pitching wedge and/or nine iron and putter, a couple of balls, sunscreen or a little bug spray (depending on time of year) and you’re good to go!


our packages, featuring golf on both Black Lake courses, Michaywe Pines and Gaylord Country Club, with two nights lodging at the UAW Conference Center start at $184 per person, based on double occupancy. For more information and reservations, call 989-733-7270 or visit http://golfblacklake.com. - MG -


he UAW Black Lake Conference Center, launched as the Walter and May Reuther UAW Family Education Center in summer of 1970,was envisioned and built by then United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther and his longtime friend, renowned architect Oscar (or ‘Oskar’) Storonov. The original 750-acre property was approved for purchase by UAW vote in 1966, with an option to buy 250 additional acres. Construction of the center began in 1967. Its purpose would be to serve as a meeting place for UAW members throughout the nation. It would be a place where ideas could be taught and shared, friendships would be formed, and members and their families could unwind. A skilled craftsman and tool and die maker by trade, Reuther, envisioned the center to be aligned with nature. He wanted to bring the outdoors in and let the landscape dictate the center’s footprint on its environment. He and Stonorov were committed to preserving the site’s oaks, pines, maples, aspens

and hemlocks. In the process, Reuther personally examined and tagged practically every tree on the site and, in some cases, construction lines were altered to preserve a particular piece of nature. In the early spring of 1970, Reuther ad his wife, May, unveiled the center’s main buildings for the UAW leadership, the media and others. But they did not live to see its opening. On May 9, 1970, a plane carrying Walter, May, Stonorov, Reuther’s bodyguard Willy Wolfman, and two pilots crashed while make its final approach at nearby Pellston Airport. All six were killed. Walter and May’s ashes were spread in a simple ceremony atop a hill that can be seen from the conference center’s main lobby. The area is marked by an eternal flame donated by Japanese trade unions and a plaque near the Japanese lantern that bears the inscription: “There is no greater calling than to serve your brother. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.” – Susan Bairley, MG

Nick Aune Rolls Out the Red Carpet at Black Lake


ick Aune is a hospitality management pro, and it shows. As general manager of Black Lake Golf Club and the UAW Conference Center, he is steeped in Northern Michigan’s hospitality and resort business, and he’s learned from some of the best.

Photo by Paul Bairley

For Its Creators, a Dream Nearly Realized, Then Gone

Aune began his career at Mackinac Nick Aune Island’s Grand Hotel, where he started as a Northwood University freshman student intern in 1980. Four years later, he became director of conference services, and in 1985, he was named one of the hotel’s vice presidents. In 1988, he joined his brother at The Abbey at Lake Geneva in Fontana, Wisconsin, as director of catering, then came back to Michigan, joining the Treetops Resort management team in 1990. There, over the next 15 years, and as Treetops general manager from 1993 to 2002, he helped manage and oversee the resort’s golden era – of the celebrated Golf Pro Rick Smith’s Golf Academy, golf celebrity visits, the ESPN Par 3 Shootouts and more. From there, Aune returned to the Grand Hotel as senior convention manager for two years, ventured into the restaurant franchise world briefly, then joined the hospitality management team at Michigan




Now, in addition to managing the center and club operations, he’s working to fuel a multi-year coming out party for the UAW Conference


Center, which opened to the public about four years ago. “I had played golf here, but never had been to the center, so when I interviewed, I was like everybody else – Wow! Who knew this was here? We got to get this place on the map! “It’s off the beaten path, in a place that has a lot of amenities that few people know about,” Aune said. In addition to getting the word out, he and his team have been making infrastructure improvements,


including new beds and TVs and renovating some of the three-bedroom guest condos that would be perfect for families and golf groups. “There are lots and lots of opportunities,” he said, “All the variety… bring your boat, bring your golf clubs, your RV or tent….but until you’ve been here and experienced it, how do you capture it for others?” With Aune as team captain, that’s already begun. – Susan Bairley, MG

Photo by Kevin Murray / kevinmurraygolfphotography.com

State University from 2007 to 2014, where he served as sales director of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, then director of hospitality sales, Spartan Hospitality Group. He did a brief Wisconsin encore at Chula Vista Resort and finally landed last year as general manager at the UAW Black Lake Conference Center and Black Lake Golf Club.

Innisbrook: Championship Golf, High-end Amenities… and Fun for Everyone


acres of lakes. Four championship golf courses. And a wide array of amenities, ranging from tennis and spa treatments to complimentary beach service and a “monster pool.” Palm Harbor, Fla.’s Innisbrook, conveniently located 20 minutes

By Chris Lewis

from Tampa International Airport, truly offers something for everyone—whether guests are scratch golfers, beginners, children or simply “young at heart.” To continue to attract its broad base of guests, Innisbrook, owned and operated by Salamander Hotels and Resorts, has recently undertaken

some extensive renovation projects. Arguably, the most significant restoration has occurred at the resort’s mainstay, the 7,209-yard Copperhead Course, a PGA Tour tournament host since 1990. Overseen by Wadsworth Golf Construction Company, the original builder of Copperhead in the early




1970s, the comprehensive project was focused on nearly every aspect of the course. In particular, each fairway was replaced with Celebration Bermudagrass, thereby improving its surface, whereas every green was rebuilt with TifEagle Bermudagrass. All tee boxes and bunkers were also rebuilt; in fact, 15 new forward tees were added, while a set of staircase bunkers were built on the 18th hole.

attract patrons both within and outside of the Sunshine State.

“The enhancements made to the golf course have turned out so well, it’s hard to believe the new turf is just one year old,” says Bobby Barnes, PGA, director of golf, Innisbrook. “If you haven’t seen or experienced the newly restored Copperhead yet, I highly recommend coming and seeing why this course continues to be a favorite stop on the PGA Tour.”

“The course not only is a challenging test of golf, it is a terrific venue for our fans,” explains Tracy West, tournament director, Valspar Championship presented by BB&T. “It offers a very scenic walk with a compact layout, enabling fans to see many holes, have close parking and enjoy the tournament’s fan amenities, such as the post-round Valspar LIVE! Concert.”

Due to its popularity among PGA Tour players and fans, Valspar has actually committed to maintaining its status as title sponsor through 2020, so the nearly 30-year relationship between the PGA Tour and the Copperhead Course will continue to

Something for Everyone— Accommodations, Dining and Amenities

Photo by Kevin Murray / kevinmurraygolfphotography.com

At the same time, the course’s irrigation system was also improved so that it not only includes 500 new sprinkler heads, but also saves 15 million gallons of water on an annual basis. The entire project was completed in six months, as the course reopened on December 8, 2015, approximately four months before

the PGA Tour’s 2016 Valspar Championship presented by BB&T.


Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course


After finishing their rounds at Copperhead or witnessing the action of the Valspar Championship pre-

Photo by Mark Haworth / Mark Haworth Photography

sented by BB&T, guests will often return to one of the resort’s 600 guest rooms and suites. Unlike typical hotel rooms, Innisbrook’s condominium suites are spacious and luxurious. Whether guests choose to stay in the 800-square-foot executive suites (which include one king or two queen beds), the 980-squarefoot one bedroom suites (which include one king, one queen or two twin beds), the 1,400-square-foot two bedroom suites (which include two twin beds and one or two queen beds) or the 300-square-foot deluxe guest rooms, they will have access to a variety of amenities. Some of the most popular amenities include inroom dining, hypo-allergenic bedding and same-day laundry and valet service, along with the astounding views of the resort and golf courses.

Guests are also welcomed to enjoy the scrumptious dishes prepared at the resort’s various restaurants. Packard’s Steakhouse, which is located next to the Copperhead Course, and is named after the course’s designer, Larry Packard, features premium steaks, lobster tails and Floridian fish. The Market Salamander Grillé, on the other hand, offers traditional seasonal American cuisine, while The Grill at Loch Ness provides guests an opportunity to savor an assortment of dishes and tropical frozen drinks by the pool. Resort guests have six pools to choose from, including the renowned Loch Ness Monster

Photo courtesy of Innisbrook

Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course hosts the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship

Guests are also welcomed to enjoy the scrumptious dishes prepared at the resort’s various restaurants.




Photo courtesy of Innisbrook

PGA professional Dawn Mercer oversees the Innisbrook Golf Institute. Pool, which features two water slides, a 15-foot waterfall, two beach areas and water volleyball. Complimentary beach service is also offered to and from the nearby Honeymoon Island Beach. In addition, guests may also use the resort’s 11 Har-Tru tennis courts, seven of which are illuminated for night play. Half-day (two hours) or full-day (four hours) instruction is also available; the instruction may be provided during private lessons or adult and junior clinics. In the meantime, the resort’s spa, formerly known as Indaba, has 22

recently been renamed Salamander Spa. Aside from its new name, the spa has also been rebranded to offer a new level of health and wellness that includes health and nutrition classes, as well as an elevated outdoor spa terrace for mindfulness, social events, workshops and yoga. “The new direction is designed to fill a void in the local community by providing a beautiful, welcoming facility where area residents can come to relax, rejuvenate and educate themselves on personal wellness on many different levels,” says Salamander Spa director, Deborah Berlingeri.


Innisbrook Golf Institute: Back to the Basics For more than 25 years, Class-A PGA professional Dawn Mercer has overseen the Innisbrook Golf Institute, previously ranked by Golf Magazine as one of the United States’ top 25 golf schools. Mercer, along with her staff of instructors, emphasize “back to basics” philosophies, particularly focusing on stretching exercises, equipment evaluation and golf ball selection, in addition to the mechanics of the swing and short game advice. Aside from such mechanics and philosophies, instructors also offer

video and computer swing and putting analysis to their clients, as golf clinics and private lessons are conducted every day. Mercer, who serves as director of instruction, believes autumn is an ideal season for resort guests to participate in clinics and lessons.

In addition to receiving instruction, guests may also be interested in playing at the resort’s three other 18hole courses: the Island, which has hosted NCAA Championships and U.S. Open qualifiers (and, due to its narrow fairways and plentiful bunkers, is often considered to be nearly as challenging as Copperhead); the North, another tight course with a variety of hazards; and the South, a links-style design.

Photo courtesy of Innisbrook

“The fall season is really a perfect time for guests to consider a golf school and work on their games because the Florida weather is gorgeous, and the schools are a little less crowded than [they are in] the winter,” Mercer states. “Guests will also have more one-on-one time with their instructors, as well as a head start on what to practice to fine tune their games before the busier seasons.”

“Golfers love that Innisbrook is able to offer four great courses in one location, one of which annually hosts the PGA Tour,” says Ramona Herald, spokesperson for Innisbrook. “Not to mention, all of

Innisbrook’s Loch Ness Pool our golf packages include a round at For further information about Copperhead at no additional cost. Innisbrook, please visit http://visAnd our service is always touted as itinnisbrook.com. top-notch—that is why guests come back year after year.” - MG M I C H I GAN G O LF E R MAGAZ I N E • FALL



Ludington – for Great Golf and So Much More

Photo by Paul Bairley

By Susan and Paul Bairley

Lincoln Hills Golf Club Hole No. 15


reat golf, beautiful beaches, spectacular sunsets, excellent food and brews, lighthouses, boating, charter fishing, river tubing, shops and more. That’s Ludington, a wonderful vacation destination – with something for everyone – on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Ludington golf is fun and affordable with three courses – Lincoln Hills Golf Club, Hemlock Golf Club and Lakeside Links, topping the list. The semi-private Lincoln Hills Golf Club, on North Lakeshore


Drive, is one of Michigan’s longest established golf clubs. Brainstormed in the early 1900s by its first president, W.T. Culver, Tom Gatke, and Henry Haskell, inventor of the Carrom game board and founder of the Haskelite Company, Lincoln Hills looks and plays like classic city golf course – park-like with lovely well-established greens. The par 72 course is routed through artillery fields of 1915 and Lake Michigan sand dunes and features four sets of tees, ranging from 5,086 to 6,520 yards. It also is a walkable course, which is increasingly rare in the resort world.


Because of its proximity to the lake, Lincoln Hills is typically windy, said Erica Reed, director of golf. And while golfing in the wind requires added control and strategy, nothing beats a cool, breezy 9 or 18 on a steamy, hot summer day. Playing only the back nine, our favorite holes included the two par 5s. Offering totally different challenges, the 552- to 434-yard 11th with its double fairways headed out to the dunes, while the 16th, playing 518 to 416 yards, depending on tee choice, was an up and down gentle roller coaster through the woods. From the shared L-shaped

tee the 15th, par 3, 183 to 114-yard hole plays gently downhill. While golf and social memberships are available, and members are given priority, daily fee golfers are warmly welcomed.

yards, offers seven sets of tees, including Gold and White markers, that are often in close proximity, if not the same, with the Gold or White plates, but providing generous forward relief on the most difficult holes.

A true Northern resort course experience, with only one house on the entire course, Hemlock offers a grand golf experience. With only waste bunkers, and some very dramatic ones at that, it winds through sand dunes, wetlands, lakes and forests.

Hemlock Golf Club, which plays 4,328 to 6,965

Photo by Paul Bairley


ay Hearn’s Hemlock Golf Club is tucked into the woods, just north of town on West Decker Road. With virtually no signage leading you there, you’ll need your GPS or directions committed to memory to get there.

Photo by Paul Bairley

Lincoln Hills Golf Club Hole No. 15

Lincoln Hills Golf Club Hole No. 16




Photo by Paul Bairley

Hemlock Hole No. 3 Playing the back nine first, we were told we faced the course’s toughest challenges from the get go, but the interest and intrigue pumped the adrenaline required to meet them with relative ease. Favorites on the back were hole #12, a double fairway, par 5, with yardages ranging from 351 to 584 yards, and the par 4, 14th, with an enormous waste bunker running the length of the hole on the right, which makes the landing area visually small. Once there, a small creek comes into play right in front of the green, guarded by three additional bunkers. In addition, #18 is a great par 4, 298 to 401-yard finishing hole that doglegs left, to a peninsular green. On the front nine, the enormous marsh on the par 4, third hole 26

requires a forced carry to a blind landing area. Your view is giant dunes with a pin atop. An accurate tee shot will reward nicely with an easier second shot to the green. The par 4, #4 , is a 230 to 363yard par 4 with a Gold marker set at 144 yards. All of the tees are on islands of grass nesting on a sea of sand. Hitting to the left fairway requires a forced carry to the green over a large waste bunker. Hitting to the right fairway requires a longer tee shot, but then a clear shot to the green. Hemlock’s par 4 ninth hole is also aesthetically amazing and fun to play. Its waste bunker begins behind the 424-yard championship tee and wraps around the back of the green . Enough said.


Overall, Hemlock Golf Club provides a fabulous golf experience. Lakeside Links is a 27-hole facility that combines interest, with good playability to provide for an easygoing golf round. Fairly open, it has a few wooded holes, but like Lincoln Hills, be ready for windswept golf. The day we were there, the bright sun was shining, but the wind was so fierce, we thought we were at the British Open, which was on TV in the clubhouse. Although open, Lakeside Links has some challenging topography and wooded sections that are surprisingly dense. Playing the South 9, which measured 2,634 to 3,556 yards, favorite holes were the par 4, #2 with its valley landing area that leaves a blind uphill second shot to a well-bunkered, wooded green.

The 5th, par 4, plays 226 to 435 yards. Even a perfect drive requires the golfer to execute a long second shot left or for risk-takers, a forced carry over the swamp to the green in two. Amazingly my husband and I parred this monster and loved it from start to finish. The 6th hole is a dramatic downhill, par 4, to a picturesque green backed by beautiful Hopkins Lake. One regular patron and his family loved the view from the next elevated 7th tee so much, it became the place where his daughter exchanged vows with her husband. Located on West Chavez Road, Lakeside Links has a nice clubhouse and snack bar, and offers a friendly welcome, thanks to Head Golf Pro Scott Ashley and his staff.

car ferry which crosses Lake Michigan between Ludington and Manitowac, Wisconsin, twice daily in the summer, and once daily in spring, beginning May 12, and fall, until Oct. 16. Ludington State Park is a popular camping spot and among its amenities, features river tubing to the river’s end at Lake Michigan. It also hosts the trail head for the 1.8 mile hike to the Big Sable Lighthouse. Reachable only on foot or by bike, it’s a long walk (good shoes and appropriate protective gear, depending on weather, are recommended), but it’s a worthwhile hike to the beautiful light-

house. If hiking when the lighthouse is open, be sure to bring some money for water, beverages and snacks. If closed, be sure to bring some on-trail refreshments. There was no working water fountain at the end the day we hiked, so carrying enough for the 3.6 mile roundtrip journey is smart. Ludington also has a fine array of great restaurants. The Jamesport Brewing Company, on South James Street, is a personal favorite, with its excellent beers and wonderful menu. The seasonal Blueberry Wheat brew is especially delightful with its dancing fresh blueberries – try it. You’ll love the taste and the show!

Besides Golf – Where to Eat, Sleep and Play Families, golfers and non-golfers alike will love the Ludington area. Its miles of accessible beach front are like no other. Calm waters bring out a steady stream of walkers on North Breakwater Pier to the lighthouse at the end. The pier also is a prime spot, in addition to Waterfront Park and a few others, from which to watch the daily arrivals and departures of the S.S. Badger




Photo by Paul Bairley

Hemlock Hole No. 3 An adjoining trio of restaurants, Barley &Rye, Mitten Bar and Sportsman’s Irish Pub, on West Ludington Avenue, is an interesting catch-all, that gives patrons a choice of three uniquely different atmospheres and two vastly different menus. And while the walk-up counter at The House of Flavors, with its ice-cream made on site, has customers regularly queued up outside the door, its sit-down restaurant is well worth a stop. In addition to its fun 1950s décor, The House of Flavors has a good menu of food as well as ice cream concoctions. Unexpectedly, it features delicious rotisserie turkey as a plated item, but also on sandwiches, including a tasty turkey Rueben. 28

Chef John’s European Bakery is another not-to-be missed spot. Its kitchen-table-style décor, each with unique retro salt and pepper shakers, friendly waitstaff and daily specials complement great breakfast and lunch menus. The breads, desserts, soups –everything fresh and homemade, are exceptional. Finally, Ludington has a big variety of lodging options, from an unusual variety of bed and breakfasts, to motels, hotels and camping. Two different but appealing recommendations are: Summer’s Inn, a motel with trendy shabby chic sleeping rooms, homemade break-


fasts, a Florida-style library, outside cabana, Zen garden and great hosts/owners, Suzette and Keith Kolfage; and the newly renovated Holiday Inn Express. Located outside of downtown, near the expressway, the Holiday Inn Express offers comfy modern accommodations, including lounge sofa, and indoor pool and whirlpool, evening cookies and a large breakfast area, where a free hot breakfast bar is available daily. For more information about the Ludington area, visit http://PureLudington.com or call, 1-800-542-4600. - MG -

Ubiquitous Michigan Golf








Slice of Life Photo courtesy of Terry Moore

By Terry Moore

“Friends, lend me your ears; I come to praise golf, not to bury it.”


take-off on the Terry Moore famed Shakespeare line from Julius Caesar came to mind recently when a radio station asked for my comment on Nike’s decision to exit the golf club, balls and bag business as well as GolfSmith retail chain’s pending sale if not bankruptcy. My short answer was that such business decisions are more complicated than merely blaming golf for not growing enough. Publicly traded golf companies have often been their own worst enemies. Many times they’ve been guilty of excessive marketing and overselling to average golf consumers quite content with what’s in their bag. I’ve looked back at my own tenure with golf equipment. I played for over 15 years with custom-fitted PING irons and never felt my game was short-changed because of them. Five years ago as I entered the senior golf years, I converted to new graphite-shaft Callaway irons, after an expert fitting with Trackman, and picked up some helpful swing speed and trajectory. I also converted to hybrids which proved to be a boon to my long iron game. But in over 25 years, I’ve had two sets of irons and 30

my game and performance didn’t suffer. I didn’t see the need to invest hundreds of dollars in new irons every few years in order to help boost the quarterly earnings of corporations. As a caveat, I must admit that driver technology is one where the consumer may be helped by upgrading to a new model every few years. But generally speaking, this might be more true for competitive and serious players looking at improving swing speed and launch angle. The average golfer is usually just fine sticking with a custom-fitted driver for a good number of years. This perspective doesn’t mean I fail to see golf’s challenges. I get the hurdles posed by golf: it’s too slow, it’s too expensive and it’s too difficult. Volumes have been written about all of these elements. But my question is: when and why was golf supposed to be this game of mass appeal? It’s always been a select endeavor favored by a certain strata of the population. And as far as golf being too slow, that may be true for 18hole rounds on a crowded weekend; but it isn’t for nine-hole experiences or even off-time segments. In terms of expense, that’s an issue for many people, particularly for youth, but


most public courses have reasonable family and youth rates. I’m also encouraged the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) is adopting Northern California’s Youth on Course (YOC) initiative which over the past ten years has benefitted nearly 25,000 kids with access to affordable golf and other programs. Over 400,000 rounds have been subsidized in California by the foundation overseeing the program allowing YOC members to pay no more than $5 per round. I envision similar success for the GAM’s version of the program here in our state, blessed with more daily-fee courses than any other in the nation. For more information, visit www.gam.org/Foundation/ And no one can blame golf for not doing something about the oft-mentioned “growing the game” issue. Such notable efforts as the First Tee Program, the PGA Junior Golf League, the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, and the celebrated Drive Chip & Putt Championship at the Masters are all making a difference. As one example, the PGA Junior League started in 2011 with 170 juniors and 16 teams nationwide and last year grew to 30,000 kids and 2500 teams. Golf is a difficult game to learn and to play but with these initiatives it can be more fun and community-centered. My nephew recently completed a First Tee program and loved it. Not only was the instruction helpful to him but his parents commented favorably on the program’s core val-

Photo courtesy of Thousand Oaks GC

The PGA Junior Golf League at Thousand Oaks GC in Grand Rapids ues, such as honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and courtesy. There’s a lot more about golf than the time it may take for a round. Furthermore, golf is a game that can be played without fear of concussions and torn ligaments commonly found with more physical sports. And it’s a game for a lifetime. Can even a hot sport like lacrosse make such a claim? It’s hard to imagine couples and buddy groups heading off to warm-weather destinations to play soccer and lacrosse. In Michigan, we’ve endured a severe recession, an overall population loss, and an oversupply of golf courses. I was editor of Michigan Golfer in the heady days of the ‘80s

and ‘90s where our state led the country three years running for the opening of new courses. As such, a market correction was inevitable especially since so many of these courses were too penal and too expensive. Now the market is adjusting to supply and demand and it’s a better situation now just like the Michigan economy overall. But the demise of golf as a game is often exaggerated and miscast. As one of my astute golf writer colleagues—David DeSmith—has wisely asked: “Besides golf equipment companies and golf course owners, who really cares about how big golf needs to be?” As he further posed, “Is there anyone who doesn’t have a financial interest in the game losing sleep over golf’s state of

health? Not that I know of.” Like DeSmith, I agree that golf will always command a following. And there’s plenty of smart people in the industry making sure it will attract enough new players without sacrificing its fundamental appeal, traditions and spirit. In closing, the only time I lose sleep over golf and its “numbers” is when I think about my last scorecard.

Founding editor of Michigan Golfer, Terry Moore is a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. He may be reached at terry50moore@gmail.com

- MG -




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