Greetings from beautiful Shelton, Washington. I just finished playing the beautiful Salish Cliffs Golf Club here. Wow what a great mountain track with some beautiful tree-lined holes and perhaps the best quality greens I’ve putted all year.
Salish Cliffs Golf Club – click to zoom
I’m on the road for a few days so stay tuned for a full photo gallery of Salish Cliffs, and a full review within a few weeks.
Famed golf course architect Tom Fazio has one design in Michigan, the Premier Course at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan. The Premier Course is one of five courses at Treetops Resort.
Premier Course Overview
The Premier Course is a 6,832 yard, par-72 layout which fully takes advantage of the very interesting northern Michigan terrain with its dense forest, large elevation changes and great views. The course opened in 1992. Current prices for play vary depending on the season, ranging from $65-$145.
Speaking of the season, Treetops is also a ski resort in the winter, so the course is obviously not open all year. Generally, the course is open from April 30 to October 31.
Tom Fazio tees almost always present an aesthetically pleasing look. Premier targets frame up nicely from the tee, typically with the dense northern Michigan forest lining each side. There is a wide variation of hole shapes which asks the better player to be able to hit draws, fades and the ever difficult straight ball.
From the par-4 first tee the player experiences an immediate dose of the elevation changes. Right off the bat there’s a very large drop which tempts you into swinging even harder with your driver. No need though, a regular swing will gain extra yards due to the elevation change. (more…)
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 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 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
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.
I’ve just finished uploading a batch of photos from Black Lake Golf Club in Onaway, (northern) Michigan. Black Lake is owned by the UAW and was designed by Rees Jones. I must say this is possibly the most well maintained course I’ve played ALL year. And that is saying a lot.
Black Lake Golf Club – Click to see more…
Black Lake is a fantastic track, very beautiful, challenging and yet playable. There are five sets of tees, the tips measuring out at 7,046 yards with a rating of 74.4 and slope of 138.
Black Lake has some fantastic par-3 holes! Click to zoom.