The Michigan Road Day Six: End of the Road at Treetops
If all good things must come to an end, imagine how I felt when a great thing came to an end. Fortunately for me, northern Michigan was more of a flirtation than a relationship, so I don’t have the heavy teen angst that one might feel when things get serious, nor the mid-life crisis of past-glory delusion.
Treetops is a Rick Smith, co-owned property in Gaylord, Michigan. A winter wonderland when the snow falls, it gets greener than Thurston Howel’s flow when the warm weather arrives. In a brief recap, there are two Rick Smith 18-hole courses, one Tom Fazio 18, and one Robert Trent Jones, Sr. 18. The touch of elegance is Threetops, the par three layout that serves as site of an annual shootout for big bucks. My cohorts and I had the pleasure of teeing it up and putting it down on the Fazio and Threetops, the par three layout, and drool with anticipation at the return to play the two Smith and the one Trent courses.
The Fazio course is a tremendous piece of sculpture. Having previously played his “flatlander” effort at Turning Stone in Verona, New York, I was startled by the use of land and the courage to route holes up and down black diamond-calibre slopes. Fazio, like great architects before him, is adept at creating an illusion from the tee deck of less space that reveals itself in the landing zone as more space.
Threetops was as much fun as Arcadia Bluffs to play, for different reasons. Whereas Arcadia brought the ground game firmly into view, Threetops revealed the air game for all its splendor. After hitting a six-iron 215 yards out and 140 feet down, then knifing a sand wedge 115 yards out, 70 feet down, with 24 precise feet of back-up (yay, I’m a tour pro and can spin it back!), I was nuts about this course. Coincidentally, Smith also designed a par-27 at Turning Stone, Sandstone Hollow, which rates just behind Threetops for best par three course in the country.
Expect an occasional blog over the next two months on items from the junket that I find important. The daily entries are done, but the memories are just beginning. Farewell, road well traveled.
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right behind the par-3 course at Augusta
National. Tough to beat, but maybe they
haven't played the Jones Trail courses.
And I agree your assertions about Augusta's short course - it's just a step above pitch-n-putt.
I'm a big fan of par-3 and 'executive' courses since I travel a lot on business and have found it's MUCH easier to schlepp a small 'sunday bag' of a few clubs as a carryon than messing with the hardcase and a full load of sticks. It's also MUCH more convenient to get in a short round after the business day is finished...