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Review: Treetops Par-3 “3Tops” Course In Gaylord, Michigan

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, August 27th, 2012
Categories: Course ReviewsGolf CoursesHOG World TourTravel

How many dog-track par-3 courses are in your neck of the woods? When considering par-3 courses, one doesn’t think of a top resort or golf travel destination. I used to think of “Paul’s Par-3,” a very low budget track which fetches $2.00 on weekdays and $5.00 on weekends, payable through a donation envelope deposited into a slit in a steel pole by the first tee. There’s no pro shop.

Treetops 3Tops Par-3 Course

Treetops Par-3 Course, “3Tops” – Click for more…

Following my thorough examination of Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan, my view of par-3s has completely changed. I had so much fun playing the par-3 course at Treetops, called “3Tops,” that I’d rather play that course over countless 18 hole par-72 tracks.

3Tops Overview

3Tops has 9 par-3 holes ranging from 90 yards to as long as 220+ yards. The elevation changes are absolutely stunning. Bring your camera. Many holes have elevation drops which can call for as many as 4 clubs worth of distance. The 220+ yard 3rd hole for instance, had a drop which I estimate to be over 100 feet. For that tee shot 7-irons were hitting pin high, after being airborne for somewhere around 22 minutes.

The course design is wonderful and fun, winding up and down large hills. Add plush green grass, white sand bunkers, and dense forest framing up the holes, and the result is a complete winner. In fact the track is widely known as the best par-3 course in America. I’ve toured the par-3 at Augusta National Golf Club and 3Tops is every bit as beautiful and surely more challenging with the massive elevation changes.

Treetops Par-3 Course - click for more

Treetops Par-3 Course – click for more

I tried my hardest to reproduce the $1,000,000+ hole-in-one Lee Trevino carded on the 140 yard 7th hole. Trevino aced it during the Par-3 Shootout on ESPN back in 2007. My gap wedge hit about 3-4 feet from the back pin. Unfortunately the ball spun back an incredible 24 yards. I was happy to make a par. No million dollar prize for me, but I did enter the Michigan lottery. You never know.  Check out the video below documenting the shot:

Conclusion – 3Tops at Treetops IS Tops!

A round of golf on 3Tops runs $50. Not cheap for a par value of 27. But in that nine holes is enough fun to cover 18 regular holes or more, plus rounds clock in at around a hour. As a bonus, the chance of making one’s own ace, whether for a million bucks or $2 worth of 50 cent skins, is increased by more than double over a standard 18 hole track.

Related Links

Treetops Website

Hooked On Golf Blog Michigan Golf Course Image Galleries

Hooked On Golf Blog 3Tops Image Gallery


Course Review: Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf – Hurricane, Utah

Written by: Tony Korologos | Saturday, March 17th, 2012
Categories: Course ReviewsGolf CoursesReviews

A couple of weeks ago I was down in southern Utah to visit the spectacular Sand Hollow 27 hole facility and the Oasis Palmer Course in Mesquite, Nevada. During my travels I found a new course, “Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf.”

Mini Golf

Entrance to Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf.  Love the desert landscape.

Location

Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf is located in the desert of southern Utah, a few miles northeast of Sand Hollow Resort in the town of Hurricane (pronounced “her-uh-kn” by the locals).  The course is part of the Comfort Inn facility, located in the desert behind the motel.

The desert area around the course provides great scenery, as well as presenting a challenge to the player if his ball finds the native areas outside the hole boundaries.  I recommend playing the course in the early morning like I did. The lighting can be fantastic.

Design

I was unable to get much information on the course designer.  No name available.  The only other course I’ve played in which I couldn’t get a designer’s name was the Old Course in St. Andrews.

Certain missing qualities in the layout do tell me that this isn’t a Tom Fazio design.  There are a few elements of Robert Trent Jones II, Tom Doak and Olympic designer Gil Hanse, but those are overshadowed by traits more similar to a Coore/Crenshaw layout.  With many holes lined by bricks, one might think this is a Pete Dye design (bricks instead of railroad ties).

Regardless of who designed Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf, the architect did a fine job utilizing the existing landscape and shapes in the terrain to route a challenging and aesthetically pleasing 18 hole layout.

Tee

From the tee the course can be intimidating and visually menacing.  It is hard to stay focused on the target and not the hazards which penalize bad shots. The hole shapes and routing force the player to work the ball both directions from the tee, with a few holes requiring the hardest shot in golf, the straight ball.

First Tee

From the first tee (pictured above) to the last, Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf is very challenging. I love how the designer brings the natural desert vegetation into play (left of tee).

Fairway

The fairways at Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf are extremely tight. Landing areas average only about 3-4 feet in width.  Tee shots which don’t find the fairway will find the native desert area.  Snakes, bunnies, cacti, sagebrush, tumbleweeds and random wind-blown trash will make recovery shots difficult.  Missing the fairway at Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf is a quick way to make bogey or worse.

The most notable fairway is the quadruple dogleg 6th, pictured below.

Mini Golf Hurricane utah

Hard to keep it in the fairway on the quadruple-dogleg 6th hole.  As you can see, my conservative tee shot did make the fairway, but the next shot is extremely challenging.

Green

The greens at Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf are perhaps the greatest challenge.  Many obstacles and slopes require the utmost in concentration and putting skill.  Two-putting is more than acceptable and one-putts will gain many strokes on the field.

green

Don’t let this short hole and easy looking green deceive you. This is a tough hole.

Price

Perhaps the best part of playing Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf is the price. Unlike many resort courses which can range anywhere from $150-$500 per round, Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf runs $2.00.

Caddies?

Caddies are available upon request.

Conclusion

This course is a hidden gem in the Utah desert. Not a long drive from Sand Hollow or Coral Canyon, Free High Speed Wireless Internet Mini Golf will give all aspects of a player’s game a fine test.  Combine that with the fantastic scenery of the area and the very reasonable price and the result is a winner.


Review: Kingsbarns Golf Links, Scotland

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Categories: Course ReviewsGolfGolf CoursesGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel
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I was so excited to write this review about Kingsbarns Golf Links, a modern links course located seven miles southeast of St. Andrews, Scotland.  When I started though, I ran into a mental brick wall.  The mental block was simply due to the massive amount of information, photos and thoughts I have on this brilliant course.  I didn’t know where to start.  So much to say.  Words can’t adequately convey how great the golf experience at Kingsbarns is.  That being said, I’ll take my best shot.

Kingsbarns Golf Links

Kingsbarns Golf Links – click for more images

Location Location Location

As I mentioned, Kingsbarns is about seven miles southeast of the “Auld Grey Toon” (old gray town) of St. Andrews, Scotland.  The road from St. Andrews to Kingsbarns is tight, windy and scenic, in typical Scottish fashion.  Driving on such roads can be a “wee bit” frightening for an American, as the cars are driven on the “wrong side” of the road.  Of course anyone from the UK would say that us Americans drive on the wrong side…

Kingsbarns sits on the coast of the North Sea, many of the holes featuring fantastic views.  There is a two mile stretch of the course comprised of six holes, which are entirely on the shoreline.  Several times during my round with my good friends this past summer at Kingsbarns, we looked around at the holes adjacent to the North Sea saying, “Pebble who?” (more…)


Review: Coyote Springs Golf Club – Coyote Springs, Nevada

Written by: Tony Korologos | Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Categories: Course ReviewsGolf CoursesGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel

I had the pleasure of playing Coyote Springs Golf Club (formerly The Chase) in mid 2011. Many thanks to the staff there, especially assistant pro Rob Sanders and pro Todd Michaelsen.  Since my first trip to Coyote Springs I’ve been salivating at the chance to get back down there and test my game out a 2nd time.  I had the chance to to play a 2nd round there around July, but unfortunately I had to cut a HOG World Tour trip short due to a family emergency.  The emergency ended up okay, no worries, except for the heartbreak of missing out on an opportunity to play this fantastic track again.

Jack Nicklaus designed Coyote Springs - Nevada

Coyote Springs – Jack Nicklaus signature design golf course – Coyote Springs, Nevada – Click for more images

Location Location Location?

Coyote Springs is located in the Nevada desert.  If you are a golfer looking to get away from it all, this would be the place.  The course is about an hour drive northeast of Las Vegas and about a 45 minute drive southwest of Mesquite.  The road in to the course is very hilly and full of curves.  Make sure you’re awake and sober for that one.

The area the course is situated is big.  BIG.  I can’t think of any other word to describe it.  The sky is big, the landscape is big and the number of miles you can see is big.  The views from any vantage point on the course reach for miles, with mountains framing the landscape.  The contrast of the green grass and blue water features with the gray desert landscape is striking.

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Sand Hollow Links Course Review

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, November 28th, 2011
Categories: Course ReviewsGolfGolf CoursesHOG World TourReviewsTravel
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Having played the original links course earlier this year, The Old Course at St. Andrews, along with about 7 other links courses in the town of St. Andrews, I feel like I know my links golf now.  So I feel it is a good time to post my review of the nine hole Links Course at Sand Hollow Resort, about 300 miles south of HOG World Headquarters in the town of Hurricane.  Hurricane is a few minutes drive from the golf mecca of St. George in southwestern Utah. Nearby attractions other than golf include Zion National Park and the beautiful Snow Canyon State Park.

The nine hole Links Course at Sand Hollow compliments the unbelievably amazing and #1 rated public course in the state of Utah, Sand Hollow Resort’s 18 hole Championship Course, which I reviewed back on March 8, 2010.  Even mentioning the Championship Course makes me ache to get back there.  I must go back… now.

Sand Hollow Links

Double Green – Sand Hollow Links – Click to zoom

Links Course Design/Concept

The Links Course at Sand Hollow is inspired by true links golf from Scotland, Ireland etc.  Though it doesn’t “link” the land with the sea like a true links does, the course attempts to capture the essence of links golf by blending in with the natural dunes and rock formations.  Not a lot of earth moving here.

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