The Michigan golf posts just keep rolling in. This is the last course review on the list from my trip to northern Michigan last month. For links to all related reviews from my recent Michigan Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour stop, see the related heading at the end of this article.
Elevation changes are a key feature at Otsego Tribute. Click to zoom.
Today I’m reviewing the Otsego “Tribute” course. I have to make a confession on this review though. I only played the back nine. Unfortunately my schedule didn’t quite allow for me to get the entire 18 in before heading to the airport to head home. I DID however, tour every hole of the front as well as capture images of the entire course. Having seen the front, I truly regret not being able to play it. What a fun track!
The Tribute course is a Rick Robbins/Gary Koch design covering 1100 acres of terrain in the Sturgeon River Valley. The course opened in 2001 and has received many awards like “Top 10 Best New Courses” by Sports Illustrated. The Tribute is one of two courses at Otsego Club & Resort, the other course being The Classic.
The terrain at the Tribute is rugged and plush with mature trees, wetlands and features very large elevation changes. There are four sets of tees for varying skill levels. The tips of the course, the Black tees, measure at 7,347 yards with a slope of 134 and a rating of 74.1. In other words, this course can be tough from the tips.
3rd tee – click to zoom
Tee shots are an absolute blast at the Tribute course. The elevation changes, especially on holes like the 3rd (pictured right) where the drive seems to be in the air for 47 minutes, make the course a joy to play.
Accuracy is very important here too, as you can see from the photos. Native grasses reside outside the fairway lines and past there is dense forest and wetland. Driving the ball in the fairway opens up the course for some possible low scores. Missing the fairway could mean big numbers.
Uphill fairway slopes left to right. Click to zoom.
The fairways at the Otsego Tribute can be quite challenging. There are many “opportunities” for making great shots while compensating for the shaping and sloping. Many uphill, downhill, side hill and combination lies await.
Club selection is very important from the fairway, approaching the greens. Severe elevation changes both downhill and up can mean as many as 3-4 clubs difference.
Fair and fun greens at the Tribute. Click to zoom.
Greens at the Tribute course are very fair and not extremely difficult to navigate. But don’t fall asleep because distance control is key to preventing the dreaded 3-putt. It is all about speed.
Green complexes are guarded by bunkers which aren’t extremely penal. Hitting a greenside bunker isn’t a guaranteed bogey or worse. You do have a chance to make a great par save. Areas around the greens can allow for different types of short game shots from pitches to chips to flops. Runners work, as long as the ground isn’t too wet like it was in the early morning when I played.
Otsego Pro Shop – click to zoom
The complex which the Otsego course calls home was built in the mid 1800’s and has a very neat, salty flare. But the conditioning of the amenities is as new. On site are the pro shop (pictured right), restaurants, lodging (review soon), bar and more.
The course has ample practice facilities with a range and practice putting.
Otsego Tribute is a FUN course. There are no boring shots on this track, unless you golf Mount Everest regularly. Perhaps one of the best parts of playing this course is the isolation. There are no parallel holes, no homes lining the fairways. All deep forest baby.
With prices ranging from $25 on weekdays to $34 on weekends, this course is an absolute no-brainer. This facility doubles as a ski area too though, so go when there’s no snow on the ground! Season is generally mid April to mid October.
Otsego Club & Resort website
Otsego Tribute photo gallery
Otsego lodging review coming soon…
Golf Travel Review: Otsego Club & Resort - Gaylord, Michigan