Welcome to our April Newsletter

Congratulations to the winners of our March 1, 2022, Golf Up North Newsletter

Shelene C of Midland, MI

Sue B of Johannesburg, MI

Because we are excited that golfing up north is right around the corner, we drew 2 winners!!!

You both submitted the correct answer: Schuss Mountain Course was the most challenging course for me during our weekend at Shanty Creek

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Waiting for Spring Up North

Golf Up North Honey Bee Course - Virginia Beach VirginiaI am STILL sitting here waiting to see some sign that spring will be here soon but all I am seeing is cold and snow. Following all the Up North golf courses on social media for the “we are open” post.

I had mentioned last month that I was flying to see my son in Virginia Beach and was hoping to get in a round with him. Happy to say we were able to do that. The weather most of the 2 weeks I was there was wet and cold, but towards the end of my stay the weather started to change. This is very typical of my trips to Virginia, wonderful weather the week before, northern Michigan weather while I am there and then sunny and warm the last couple of days. Kid says I bring it with me. 😊

Golfing in Virginia

The first time I golfed in Virginia the biggest difference was the grasses. Rough, fairway and greens all had a different texture and play to them. With the fairway being the oddest (for me). It is a tight, thick, and spongy grass. I do not get a lot of rolls with my drives/fairway hits, which I count on. If it is wet, it is even worse, it holds the moisture and seems to grab the ball and swallow it as soon as it lands. I will say I am the only one that complains and struggles with the grasses, the seasoned golfers in my life think I am being dramatic. 😊

I ended up not taking my clubs (such a pain on flights) and used my daughters-in-law. For the most part it did not make a difference other than her chipper. My son threw his old one in her bag because she did not have one and the difference of the longer shaft and heavier club threw my chipping off. I am a “graduate” of the Phil Mickelson school of chipping and after watching one of his how to videos on the subject a few years ago I actually got pretty decent at my chips. Other than that, it felt good to see I did not lose much muscle memory in my nice straight drives and made some surprising putts. It felt good to be on the course, even if they did not have liquor!

Back to talking about Golfing Up North

I had hoped that one of the 9-hole courses would be open for walking rounds by now, and I would have something to write about. That did not happen. So, I thought I would talk about my experiences golfing alone, with my husband, a group, and a young child. All quite different and with their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Golfing Alone

By now most of you know I started golfing later in life and am a little obsessed with the game. First 9 holes was with my husband at Interlochen Golf Course about 8 years ago and there was no going back. At that time, he was golfing in a league and with his buddies so there was not a lot of opportunity for me to golf with him and I started heading to courses by myself.

Golf Up North Elmbrook Golf CourseAfter purchasing the women’s clubs for me we bought a membership at Elmbrook Golf Course, a small local course where his league plays. That really became the turning point for my love of the game. That first year of our membership I was out on the course as often as I could work it around my job.

He goes on a few golf trips every summer and that is when I really discovered a day on the course playing a round was awesome! I would try to play at least 18 holes a day when he was off on a golf trip.

Nothing beats being on a course in northern Michigan on a warm sunny day!

I love how quickly I can play a round as a single. There are times where I have to wait and folks will not let me play through, but I can usually get 18 holes in in less than 3 hours.

Everyone thinks you need a partner

A common occurrence as a single golfer is everyone assumes you want to golf with them. I frequently get invited to join others so that I do not have to play all by myself. I usually politely decline, but I always feel bad. Every once in a while, I say sure and have a blast.

One such time was an older gentleman well into his 80’s that was on vacation. I caught up to him on the back nine, he invited me to play along with him. We played the last 7 holes together and I really enjoyed golfing with him. He was playing from the black tees and crushing his drives and his putting was amazing. That man could read the greens like nobody I had ever seen. He mentioned he had back surgery the previous year and was so happy to back on the course. When asked if I was open to advice, I responded, “usually,”. He helped me with how I held my club, foot placement and putting.

A genuinely nice man that golfed like a beast! I joked that he must be a pro because of how well he played from the pro tees especially with just having back surgery. He chuckled but did not confirm or deny. I only knew his first name, he said it was Charlie. I may not have proof, but my story is that I have played golf with a tour pro. Sometimes joining a stranger on the course may prove to be a lot of fun, you never know who you might meet.

One of the biggest reasons I enjoy golfing alone so much is that it is peaceful for me. I get to move at my pace (fast), and I always putt out, I never take a gimme when on my own. I can also try using clubs that I do not use often or have been afraid to try without comments. The last couple of years I have not golfed alone as much as I should have, hoping to change that this year.

Golfing with a Spouse

Golfing with my husband can be a lot of fun or incredibly frustrating

Golf Up North Arcadia BluffsThere are times when he feels the need to correct my club choice, stance, aim, etc., just as I am lining up to swing at damn near every hole. The thing with me is that I never take a practice swing because I am convinced, I use up all my good swings on practice. There is a very small window to offer advice after I grab a club and approach my ball. Once I have set up to swing any suggestion of a change will usually guarantee what I call a fluff ball. I second guess my decision and will usually top the ball and it will go 10 feet if I am lucky.

Offering club advice while I am picking out which club is fine, but once the decision has been made you have to let me live or die by that decision. Then I have nobody to blame but myself. Because if I listen to him and flub it, it IS all his fault!

Reading the Room

Most of the time, he is good about “reading the room” and either choosing wisely when to advise or keeping it to himself. The benefit for me to golf with just him is that I am not distracted by anyone else in the group. He is a good golfer, and I can really watch how he plays. What clubs he uses for certain situations and how he opens up the face of wedges depending how far from the green he is.

Watching him look at his shot and then putt is fascinating, I cannot read a green to save my soul. I joke that his drives are made for TV, they are so pretty in the arc, the turns, and the landings. I really want my drives to look like that (they do not…. YET).

The best part of golfing with your spouse is that you are enjoying time together doing something you both love. As much as I enjoy golfing alone, I look forward to the times he can join me. It took a couple of years, but he finally gave me a handicap of 18 when I play him. I have beat him a couple of times using my unofficial handicap, but I want to do it stroke for stroke. I feel it coming, especially after the drives and putts I had in Virginia. This may be my year to destroy him. MUHAHAHA!

Golfing with a Group

Golf Up North The Rock on Drummond IslandI am incredibly lucky that my husband’s friends will let me tag along to play a round by myself (when a 4th is not needed) or join them when they need a 4th. Great group of guys, all that have been golfing for 30+ years together and I learn a lot playing with them.

Most of my friends do not golf. Other than when my sister-in-law comes to town or one of my kids invite me to play. I have to rely on my husband’s friends for a group experience. I think golfing with a group of friends adds a little bit of a party element. Although I have heard stories of people who take the game a little too serious my goal is to have fun. Do not yell at me if you look at every round as a must win, for me it is about the experience, the relationships and being outside. Even though I know I will never win, I always bet my buck for closest to pin when playing with a group. If you are not playing for a big purse, why not just have fun on the course? As Cyndi Lauper says, “Girls just want to have fun!”

Stay out of my way!

For me, the best part of playing with the guys is watching the comradery and similar style of play that only comes with playing together for years. The fact that I get to be a small part of it every once in a while, is truly a gift. One of the fun things of playing with these guys is that they sometimes underestimate me. We were playing a par 3 at the Rock on Drummond Island and my ball landed shy of the green. I went to chip and suggested the guys move off the green. They stayed because they did not think I could chip it close to the pin.

Guess what? Yep, I nailed one of them in the shin. I declared a birdy for that hole because of his interference with my ball. He ended up with a nasty little bruise, I laughed and laughed. They stay out of my way now. LOL

I jump at a chance to play with the guys. W have a lot of fun and I learn a lot watching them play. Plus, one of them always is willing to be the DD so I get to have a couple of cocktails on the course.

Golfing with a Young Child

If you have a young child or grandchild that likes to golf, take them out for a round of 9 holes. You are going to both love it and hate it, but definitely worth experiencing.

I golfed with one of my granddaughters for the first time when she was 6. Her Papa (other Grandpa) golfed a lot and started taking her to Bay Meadows Family Golf Course where the front 9 is a par 3 course. He started her when she was about 4 years old and bought her a starter set of clubs for her size. I heard a rumor that she was a pretty darn good golfer. When I started golfing and was golfing by myself a lot, my son suggested I grab her and take her golfing. I picked her up one day and we went to Bay Meadows.

We loaded up our cart with our clubs and snacks from the club house and headed to the first hole. As she sets up at the tee box, she proceeds to take at least 100 practice swings. Okay, slight exaggeration, but fairly sure she was taking 8-10 every time. Since I never take practice swings this was trying my patience a bit. I asked why she took so many swings and she said that Papa told her to practice a lot, so she is. We did not have anyone behind us, so I left her to what she knew.

6 years old and beating Grandma

Watching this little 6-year-old swing the club and drive as far as me was amazing to see and a tad embarrassing. Would have been worse if there were others around us to witness. Turns out she was a good golfer with a strong drive for such a little body and club and some accurate putting that would put some pros to shame. She legitimately beat me that round.

We golfed several times after that, visiting some 18-hole courses that she would sometimes make it all the way to the end. But no matter where we golfed or how old she got she continued with the zillion practice swings. She eventually wandered away from golf. Now she is playing volleyball and softball. Every once in a while, I see a picture of her on the course with her dad. Who knows, she may come back to the course yet.

Random Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed our latest golf newsletter as I wait and wait and wait for the snow to melt, the course superintendents give all clear and I am back with a club in my hand in sunshine.

I am sure folks have their own opinions on golfing with friends, spouses, kids, or by themselves. We would love to hear your perspective. I know people who would never go to a course alone and others that will only golf by themselves. Some that prefer golfing with their mate and others that say no bleeping way! For me all I care about is that it is warm, friends or family, I will be there!

We are trying to keep up with all the courses in Up North Michigan opening dates. We will share course openings as we know them on our Facebook and Instagram Pages. Fingers crossed we have an excellent selection to choose from in the next few weeks!

Find your Up North Golf Course

If you would like to find your perfect Up North golf course visit Golf Up North and if you are looking for fun things to do after your round visit Up North Entertainment for dining, lodging and things to do Up North.

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

We want your feedback!

Please email us at contact@golfupnorth.com letting us know what you like and don’t like about the newsletter. What would you like to see in future issues? We want this newsletter to be something you look forward to and read!

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.