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July 1, 2022 Golf Up North Newsletter

Steve Mrakitsch

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July was a busy month!!!

Golf Up North Elmbrook Golf CourseWe did not get to take any golf trips in July because we were busy with family, some from as far away as Scotland. It was a fun month of travel to Virginia Beach and the Detroit area for me plus family in town the week of the 4th.

A college friend of my kids got married during the pandemic (courthouse wedding) and was holding a reception downstate. This started a snowball effect of everyone heading up north to “come home”. One of my kids did a semester of college in Scotland and made 2 very good friends while there. Johnny still lives in Scotland and Dom (formerly of Germany) now lives in the U.S. (he has dual citizenship). The Scottish lad was a frequent visitor pre pandemic. Chris, the groom is a Coastie pilot stationed on the west coast. 2 of my kids live out of the area, one in Virginia Beach and the other downstate. It was a wonderful homecoming!

All of these young men are either my sons by blood or by love, I consider all of them “mine” and I adore each of them. I was excited to have everyone in my home together again. It has been about 8 years since they were all here at the same time and I swear nothing has changed. The week felt like they never left.

Back to Golf

Golf Up North Golf ChampThe last couple months leading up to this week there was a lot of trash talking going on with the boys. Between one having fitted clubs and lessons and another having a membership and playing daily they had been throwing insults and challenges for a while. Then there were a few that play when they can but are not as obnoxious about their skill level. Add in Johnny who because he is from Scotland it is presumed that he is a scratch golfer (he is not, but he is good). There was going to be a couple of epic golf rounds in northern Michigan that week!

Between car drives and flights, the first full day everyone was here was Monday the 4th and that seemed as good of a day as any for the first round. Get a feel of how good everyone has gotten since the last time and before the final betting amounts were agreed upon.

Pinecroft Golf Course

I made an early morning tee time for 4 of them at Pinecroft out in Beulah. I have golfed there a few times and I wanted to give the boys some time to together since I knew they had not seen Johnny since December of 2019 so I stayed behind.

Plus, someone (me) had to watch the grandkids so that the non-golfers that have not seen each other in a while could spend time together as well.

I requested pictures and was curious for their opinions on this course. I like it, but everyone seems to assume that since it is off the beaten path that it will not be worth the drive, them included. When I told them where I made the tee time, there was a little push back, but I made them give it a chance. I was sure they would not be disappointed.

They returned back to the house obviously having had fun. No matter how old, how many years since the last round, the competition is real and fierce. I was cracking up at the excuses for bad drives, putts, etc. Nothing has changed with these guys.

Verdict about Pinecroft Golf Course

Golf Up North Pinecroft Golf CourseAll came back saying I was right it was a nice course, and they had a lot of fun. The views of Crystal Lake were as good as I promised.

I was interested in what Johnny would think of our courses since his people invented the game. Scottish courses are highly regarded and the Scottish courses in northern Michigan all have high reviews. I was interested to see what a real Scott thought of golf in northern Michigan on a non links course.

He said that he liked that there were some elevated tees that in his case helped his drive. Whether it helped the others depends on who you ask. He also said that the fairways were wide enough that the trees he typically puts up with in northern Michigan were not a factor. He has complained in the past that our tree lined fairways were tight and unforgiving.

The doglegs he was not a fan of (never has been), because his strength is his powerful long drives. Sharp doglegs mean lost balls for someone unfamiliar with the strategy of driving on a dogleg. Sounds like those holes the others showed him up on.

Lastly, he said the price was great! They paid less than $50 for 18 holes with a cart, cheap compared to back home.

My thoughts on Pinecroft

As I said earlier, I like Pinecroft. It is a family-owned course and the sister of Champion Hill that we talked about earlier in the season. The staff is great and friendly. It is a fun course to play for all levels with magnificent views and reasonable rates.

Pinecroft was a former fruit and Christmas tree farm. The course was built in 1993 by the family and that is part of its charm. This is not a big name designed course, yet it is challenging enough for everyone. Pinecroft is one of the gems in northern Michigan that you should try when you are in the area. A course that is what you would expect golfing up north.

See all the pictures we have taken of the course by visiting Pinecroft Golf Course Picture Page.


Golf Up North The BetIf there was not so much happening that week, we would have loved to golf every day. Some of us still had to work, we had little ones that wanted to hit the beaches and festivals. We were on tight schedules making sure everyone had fun.

BUT, there was still “The Bet” between 2 of them that I had been hearing about for a couple of weeks. There was a lot at stake here, bragging rights, ability to face family, egos potentially destroyed and a fair amount of cash. LOL I was not going to miss that.

I scheduled 7:45 and 8am tee times at Elmbrook Golf Course for Wednesday for 7 of us. Oh, if only a responsible adult had used some common sense when calling for tee times. (hehe!!) This was the day after the adult children planned to attend the Nelly concert and have some fun. The Grands (toddlers and teens) were either left with us old folks or left to fend for themselves. I offered to provide transportation as well so that all could have a good time. 😊

Golfing Hungover

Golf Up North Elmbrook Golf CourseWithout naming names, the early morning tee time at Elmbrook was a tad of a challenge for some of the golfers. All that trash talking, and big money bets went right out the window. I heard “this probably isn’t a good round to bet on.” LOL!

We let the guys be a foursome and enjoy their reunion. My husband, one of my daughters-in-law and myself were in the group ahead of them. Figured they were going to slow us down. Suggested they have a bit of the dog that bit them, but they all passed.

Golf Up North Elmbrook Golf Course The BetWe ended the round, who won did not matter. It was so wonderful to be on the course with some of my kids again. My Scottish “son,” German “son”, Virginia Beach son, and local son all on a course with me. This has not happened in over 4 years. I was bummed my downstate son, as well as the groom had to leave early. But still was truly a treat to spend time with these guys.

I know this newsletter is not so much about any particular course. It is more about the friendships and comradery that golf can build. This is one of the things I love about this sport. No matter how many years, miles or pandemics keep you away, nothing changes on the course when you are back together. You cannot help but to laugh, make stupid bets and have a fun time! I hope you have enjoyed this month’s issue.

See all the pictures we have taken over the year and the Trojan Football outing by visiting Elmbrook Golf Course Picture Page


Golf Up North was at the Trojan Football Golf Outing

Golf Up North Elmbrook Golf Course Trojan Football Golf OutingAll three of my boys played football for the Trojans and I have continued to support them throughout the years. This is the first year we participated in the golf outing, one of my kids was looking for a twosome to add to his team, we said yes and also sponsored a hole. We played best ball and we ended the round with a 76, 4 over par, my teammates were not happy, me I was thrilled. Does this count as my finally breaking 100?

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We hope you enjoyed our latest issue of The Golf Up North Newsletter.

Disclosure: We never tell a course who we are when we book and play a course. We do not ask nor will we accept free rounds to write about a course. We pay full price for our rounds for everyone in our group.