Golf Up North September Newsletter

Welcome to our September Newsletter!

Congratulations to the winners this month!

Patti C.

You are the winner of the August 1st newsletter – they submitted the correct answer – The kids saw Nelly the night before “The Big Bet”

Matt T.

You are the winner of our special August 15th Newsletter. Your picture “Adirondacks overlooking #18 green at Arcadia Bluffs” received the most votes..

Golf Up North Schwag for both of you is on the way!!

If you would like a chance to win some Golf Up North schwag you have to subscribe to the newsletter. Subscribe to Golf Up North Newsletter and be on the mailing list for the October 1, 2022 edition.

We finally made it to Treetops!

We have been so busy this summer with family and friends that golf trips we talked about did not happen. I have never been to Treetops in Gaylord; I had heard wonderful things from the guys who have had a few golf trips there. It was time for me to see what the fuss was about.

Treetop Inn Views over ski hillWe booked a weekend with 1 round on Saturday and 1 on Sunday before we headed home. Since we were going to be getting in later on Friday than was ideal for us, we did not want Saturday too full. Saturday’s course was The Signature, and we will talk about that in a future issue.

Sunday’s course was the one I was excited to try and will tell you about in this newsletter. We played the Threetops which is a 9-hole, par 3 course with a lot of history.

I also bought a new set of clubs and have only played a few rounds with them. I am still adjusting to the lighter weight and a ½ inch shorter shaft. Played the previous weekend and thought I had figured out the adjustments I needed to make. This trip told me I still have things to work on.

Treetops ClubhouseHistory of Treetops

Threetops was designed by Rick Smith and was opened in conjunction with the Fazio-designed Premier course in 1992. Soon after opening it became the number-one ranked par-3 course in the U.S. It was a model course for many of the par-3 courses that popped up all over the country. Threetops is also one of the most recognized par-3 courses because of hosting the ESPN Par-3 Shootout for 8 years.

ESPN Par-3 Shootout

In 1999 Threetops became the home to the ESPN Par-3 Shootout. Some of the biggest names in golf have played the Threetops. Names like Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples, Lee Trevino, Phil Mickelson, and Arnold Palmer to name a few. The last shootout at Threetops was held in 2006 with Couples, Chris DeMarco, Craig Stadler and Andy North back to defend his 2005 win. Fred Couples walked away with that honor and $300K and Andy North ended up in 4th place and only won $20K.

Par 3 shootout wall at Treetops ClubhouseThere have been a lot of great shots by some talented players and players who participated in the shootout have collectively won over 50 major championships. There was one swing on July 30, 2001, that is often referred to as “the shot heard ‘round the world” by Lee Trevino

Million Dollar Shot

On the 7th hole from 135 yards Lee Trevino sunk his swing for a hole in one! In addition to the million dollars, Trevino also won $10,000 on that hole for closest to pin. It is said to be the most valuable shot in the history of golf. He followed this play with a much more impressive play by donating $500,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

After Trevino’s ace on Hole 7 a plaque was placed on the spot where he swung his club for the million-dollar shot. Couples and Mickleson jokingly would tap the plaque for good luck before taking their shots. They never got a hole-in-one but started a superstitious tradition. Everyone needs to tap the plaque before teeing off on Hole 7.

Playing Threetops

We were excited to play Threetops, with as many times as my husband has played at Treetops, he never played the par-3 course. He had heard somewhere along the way that it was around $150 for a round and he said he could not justify paying that for 9 holes. We decided regardless of price this time we would play it and live on PBJs for a week if we had to. Happy to say that our menu that week was not affected, 9-hole round was only $45. Funny though because as I sit here writing this newsletter, I am having a crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 😊

This could be my course!

Threetops at Treetops scorecardLooking over the scorecard (we grabbed one the day before) and seeing how many holes were totally within my driving range I was stoked. I just may get a birdie, definitely a few pars. This was going to my course! There are 3 sets of tees back (black), middle (white) and front (red). Longest hole from the reds was hole 3 at 137 yards.

We pull up to the starter and get checked in. My husband’s golf bag is a Michigan bag, so he first showed us some pictures from the teams visit a couple of weeks before. I am chomping at the bit, ready to get out there and kick some butt. The starter than provides us with some helpful tips (actually scared the hell out of me) and said to watch out for hole 3. Good to know. I may be scared but I know I can hit the green with my driver on most of these holes.

If only I could golf like Trevino did!

One of the fun things about this course is that they have given the holes names. As we played each hole, many of the names made sense. One of the hard things about this course is that most of the holes either have elevated tee boxes, elevated greens or both. Trying shoot over valleys can be a challenge. Staying on the cart path and climbing up to, or out of tee boxes and greens did get tiring. Halfway through your legs are feeling it from all the hill climbing.

All the pictures of this course (at least 1 picture for each hole) are posted here.

Threetops hole 1

Threetops Hole 1 from White Tees

Time to tee off!

We get to the first hole called Plateau, and it is only 100 yards to the green, perfect for my driver and since I always hit straight, I may just get a hole-in-one. Of course, I hit right, damn those new clubs! Still did not do horrible considering where I landed and ended up bogeying the hole.

Hole 2 is called Double Cross because there are 2 greens, depending on which green is flagged is which tee box middle and back use. At only 114 yards from the reds another hole that my driver can easily hit the green. I fell short, not a little, but a lot. Not only did I fall short, but I ended up in a little valley that I had to hit out of. Not my finest moment, ended with a double bogey.

Devils Drop

Threetops Hole 3 From white tee - 150 foot drop looking across from edge of tee box

Threetops Hole 3 From white tee – 150 foot drop looking across from edge of tee box

This is the hole that the starter warned us about. With a 150-foot drop from the white tees. For the back (219 yds) and middle (207 yds) tees this was going to challenge the best of them. Fortunately for me I had less of a drop and had a 70-yard advantage over my husband. 137 yards from the reds. I swung my driver hard and saw my ball sailing towards the green, I knew I had hit it well and I would be rewarded. That drop is very deceiving, and I ended up short again. Was getting concerned we were going to see a pattern with my score.

The next few holes were not kind to me. Hole 4 got its name Deception from its hard right dogleg with sand traps lurking at the turn. Hole 5, called Valley Lo is just what it sounds like a hole down in the valley. Hole 6 is called Harry’s Way. I can only assume that someone name Harry decided water and sand was a good thing.

Hole 7 is called High Five

Threetops Hole 7 Trevino million dollar hole from white tee

Threetops Hole 7 Trevino million dollar hole from white tee

Now we are at hole 7, called High Five. This is the hole that Lee Trevino sank the ace for a million bucks. The tee boxes sit high and the green down below is long and narrower and has some slants that could make this a blow-up hole. From the reds, this was the second longest hole at 130 yards, I was ready for it. I learned a couple of things the last 6 holes and my driver was not necessarily the right club even though the yardage suggest it was. I started driving with my” seven is heaven” wood and having some success with distance and control (remember new clubs).

Tried for some Trevino magic

Well, folks I nailed that ball and hit it solidly on the green with a very doable 2 putt for a par or maybe a 1 putt for a birdie. This was Trevino’s hole, and I was going to at least get par. I was excited. When we got down to the green, my excitement waned a little, looking down hill was deceiving. Highly unlikely I would get a birdie on this hole, but still a chance at a par.

That first putt was just to get it close without ending up rolling off the green. Somehow the stars aligned, and I did exactly what I was trying to do.  I putted the hole for a par! To make this even better, my husband’s drive ended up off the green in some rough. This was definitely going to be my hole!!! He chipped that damn ball right next to hole. Damn, he ended up with a par as well. Just could not let me have it to myself. LOL!!

Final 2 holes

Threetops Hole 9

Threetops Hole 9

After the high I was on getting par on 7, I was feeling pretty invincible until I saw hole 8 in person. The hole is called Hang Time . On the scorecard it looks pretty straight forward, but it is not. It is not really a dog leg, but from the red tees at 103 yards I needed my ball to go a little bit right to end up on the green. Otherwise, it was going to be nasty rough or sand. I ended up on the green but not in a spot that was going to prove to be easy to putt from. Another double bogey on this hole.

Hole 9 called Upward Home is just that you have to drive up toward the green over the valley. This was another deceiving hole. The yardage from the reds was only 125, but I could not get close to the green. To me, this was a par 4 hole, although my husband did get par (pure luck 😊). For me, this was my final double bogey. I mentioned this hole to a friend that lives in Gaylord and has played Threetops several times. He agreed that he thought it played more as a par 4 than a 3.

Threetops is a fun course and a must play when you visit Treetops

Overall, I did enjoy the Threetops even if I did have to climb a few mountains and only got 1 par. This course is one of those courses that you need to play a few times. First time out I got the lay of the land and now know what to expect. It was hard deciding what club to use, where to hit, how hard etc. when you are looking down at the green. Most of the holes were difficult to see how the terrain rolled. Now that I have see both sides of the hole, I think my decision making in the tee box would be smarter.

Treetops Weekend

Our weekend was surprisingly very affordable for the two of us. For under $700 we had a decent room for 2 nights with wi-fi and cable. This included breakfast buffets both mornings and 27 holes of golf for each of us. Add in dinner and alcohol and it was a little bit more. Overall, a surprisingly good deal. We will definitely be back to play the other courses and of course Threetops again.

If you get the chance, stop by and at least spend a couple of hours playing Threetops.

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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.