Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 4: Treetops

Two years ago after playing and staying at Treetops, I wrote a polite letter to Treetops about the condition of the course (slow play, poor course conditions, outdated rooms -- think: teal bathroom fixtures -- and really bad toilet paper). The result of my letter was a phone call to discuss, followed by 8 free rounds of golf at Treetops. While we decided not to stay there, free golf is free golf. And the courses are beautiful, even if the course conditions were not. Maybe they’d have improved by the time we came back.

Drive to Gaylord, stopping at McDonalds on the way. Masterpiece (the course that was in pretty poor condition last time) was first up. We had already heard that the course still wasn’t up to snuff from someone at Forest Dunes. Well, bunkers still weren’t great, but at least the pace of play was fine. Bob really, really liked the elevation (sometimes three clubs less on a couple of downhill par 3s). Headed to Premiere next, grabbing lunch. I couldn’t hit the side of a barn so I eventually decided I’d ride around in the cart and drink beer. But, luckily, the skies opened and we looked at the map on the scorecard to try to figure out how to get back to the parking lot. Looked like it wasn’t going to work until we found a dirt track that we decided was a maintenance or marshal shortcut. It was. Tom gets the car (using the best umbrella ever from Ensco). Bob and I hide out with everyone else, trying to stay dry. Note on the Town and Country windshield wipers -- they work. Well enough that when they are going full steam next to people standing next to them -- they splash lots of water. Poor couple kept saying -- turn off the wipers!!! Bob and I are giggling.
A mile down the road, heading back to the condo -- dry as can be. But, I know Bob and I are happy to have a half round less than what we planned. Rest up. Swing through Meijers for amenities (Vernors, Monster, Better Made Butter Braided Pretzels, fruit). Shower up. After the night be fore’s experience at dinner, figure we could go into town for a meal. Tom and I are watching golf. Bob heads upstairs. While later and Bob is still upstairs. While later and there is a noise coming from upstairs. Ask Tom if that’s snoring coming from there. Put on mute. Yep. Bob is sacked out, snoring like Darth Vader. Guess that dinner may be out now. Doesn’t matter to me and Tom.
Phone rings and Mark’s at the Grand Lodge, checking in. We warned him it could be an experience to check in. We’d already had two of them ourselves, and each time, they told us Mark would have to pay for what he missed. We know, we know! Tom and I head over to the Lodge, wondering if Mark is even where we think he is supposed to be. He is. And, Logan, our best buddy at Boyne, was helping him check in (guess pre-Logan the check in wasn’t going so smoothly). Couple minutes later and we’re on our way to the townhouse.
Bob and Mark are hungry (it’s now 900ish). Tom and I aren’t. We send frick and frack out on their own to forage for food (hoping that they also figure out how to get back to the townhouse on their own).

Day 3: The Mountain

We almost always have our first day at Boyne at the Mountain (Alpine and Monument) so that we don’t have to drive around much. Grab breakfast. Read the paper (big news about Tiger and Steve Williams parting ways). Pack up the car (again since we have to move to Creekside). Head to the courses.

Start off on Monument (takes 15 minutes to drive to the top of the mountain from the pro shop). Play down the mountain to the “valley” on this course that honors top golfers with plaques and stories along the way. Have lunch at the half way house after our first round. Then off to play Alpine. Don’t know what hole Bob decided that he was going to play barefoot. Then Tom followed suit. I finally succumbed to it and the grass is so spongy and soft that it’s amazing. In Texas, the ground is hard and hot.
Finish our round and check in (long, long line for check in that Bob and I bypass -- then Bob goes and gets us beers at the bar as we go through check in). Off to Creekside. This place is nice. And has a hot tub. Settle in and unpack. Clean up and decide to go to the Beach House for dinner. Tom and I remember it as being nice -- with fish on a plank. Not the case anymore. It’s definitely gone “family.” Service is spotty. Food is incredibly bad. Bob returns his for a steak. The steak is incredibly bad as well. But, they comp his meal and give us a discount. Extreme disappointment. Don’t know if it’s the economy, or just Boyne. Sad to see.

Back to Creekside to rest up for our day at Treetops (8 free rounds of golf). We’re assuming that Mark isn’t going to make it to Treetops and aren’t sure when he’ll get in.

Day 2: Forest Dunes

Good night sleep. Wake up, make coffee. This is when we usually don’t find out how compatible a newbie will be with me and Tom on this trip (meaning: just because you think you can get up a the crack of dawn every day, doesn’t mean you can). Why? Because the first day for a rookie is like the first day of school. Way too excited. It’s further along in the trip that we find out.

36 holes of golf today at Forest Dunes -- how good is this. Get there before it’s even opened. We don’t care. Craig (he played with us the year that Steve came with us -- I don’t think I blogged much because of wifi problems) was going to join us so that we had a foursome until Mark shows up. Bob has his mouth opened already and we haven’t even teed off. Great first round re-remembering the course. Quick lunch (their food is good). Go around again (even easier to remember two times in a day). I like the front nine over the back nine. I think it’s just the woods/preserve type of courses that I enjoy over links -- or maybe I just play them better?). Have a beer and tally up the trash (we played robins and team trash -- for once, I cleaned up with $45 and Tom lost most of it -- yes, I was throwing a party).

Bob’s mouth (btw) was still open. And probably full of bugs because that is Forest Dunes only problem as I see it: bugs (not mosquitos, just no see ems, horse flys, bugs).

Off we head to Boyne (about an hour, hour and a half when you stop for ice cream (DQ, because Chet requested it), Subway for Bob (he needs three square -- Tom and I are good with ice cream and pretzels and almonds) and 7-11 (Big Gulp for Tom -- note to potential sponsors of this trip -- being in advertising, I have no issue name dropping products (but, if I don’t like your product, beware!).

Pull in to the Grand Lodge for check in. This is always an adventure because Boyne’s front desk isn’t always the swiftest. This is the case for this check in as well, but Scott is a sweetheart. And, then we get to our room (the Salzburg Suite). We’ve been making fun of Bob for a couple of days about the Hansel and Gretal room (it’s real and we knew it). BUT, in real life, it’s super real -- and Bob took a look and went “no f**” -- well, you get the drift -- and went out for a cigarette. Tom and I looked at each other and Tom says “we need to fix this.” NOTE TO BOYNE, IF YOU READ THIS: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ASSIGN THE SALZBURG SUITE WITH THE HANSEL AND GRETAL ROOM (NOT A ROOM) TO PEOPLE ON A GOLF PACKAGE. That rooms is NOT for an adult and should not be considered a room.

Down we go to the front desk. Scott again (sweetheart). Well, he listens to our story and gets flustered. And then gets Logan. Tom explains our predicament. We need three bathrooms (because of me needing my own bathroom). And then we need four bedrooms (sometimes three is OK because people don’t mind bunking up). The Hansel and Gretal room is not sufficient as a fourth. What can we do? Logan gets on the phone -- another Boyne inefficiency is that Logan’s “book” and the person on the phones “book” don’t synch up. But, we hear Creekside. Four bedrooms. Three bathrooms. Hot tub. Only bad thing: can’t get in until the next day. No problem. We’re three people and no one will have to sleep in the Hansel and Gretal room (unless they really want to).

Shower then grab a drink in the bar and then off to bed.

The great thing about Boyne beds is that they are super comfy.

Day 1: Travel day

Can’t believe I’m sitting in bed at 435 am (335 am Texas time) wide awake, watching ESPN (because Golf Channel is still on infomercials) deciding to get caught up on the blogging for the trip (at least started). No WiFi because we’re staying at Creekside and Boyne doesn’t reach there. And not uploading photos (because my camera is in my golf bag (story to follow).

Well, I’m in Michigan. On my annual golf trip. Life is good. Recap since we left, blog by blog.

Our first day sets the course for the trip. We don’t have to leave on a 630 am flight like we usually do (but should have because I was bored by 7 am and itching to get to the airport). But, Tony appreciated me because he didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to take me and Tom (and Bob this time) to the airport.

Off to the airport, picking up Tom (no problem) then Bob at our office (on way there, Tom gets a text about him being stuck on 75 -- we’re early but wondering if that’s going to be typical -- that’s important on as Tom calls it: a “hut hut hut trip.” Bob gets there. We tightly load up the Explore (another note: hard to fit three people’s golf bags in their travel bags, and suitcases for a week golf trip, and four bodies into a a Ford Explorer -- why we rent a mini van on the trip).

Tony drops us off, we check in, no incidents through security (actually, Bob had his bag searched), then head to the Admirals Club for lunch (and free beer). Weird that Admirals Club has all of these free things -- and then charges for bottled water. Would think Fiji would step in for some promotions and donate water (at least occasionally).

Finally, time to board. We’re all in row 12 (exit row). No incidents because I had crossword puzzle, soduku. And, a new Clive Cussler downloaded onto my Kindle. Plane take off. Plane lands. Bags arrive with us all in one piece. The Town and Country mini van that Tom had been talking about -- we have one. And, it has Sirius (this is important in Michigan where the radio, cell, any electronic coverage can be spotty). Off we head to /Forest Dunes in Roscommon, Michigan, about three and a half hours away per our maps (we have a printout, garmin and backup from the Forest Dunes website). Pretty boring drive. We stop in Cadillac at Glen’s to stock up on staples (Diet Mountain Dew, Vernors, Oberon, Better Made Butter Braided Pretzels, Apples, Cherries, Almonds -- you know, STAPLES!). Then, Bob’s looking to stop for a cigarette -- ice cream, screech. Pull in for our first ice cream on the trip.

Get to Forest Dunes (in the middle of nowhere). Pick up the “keys” to the Eagle at the bar and go and find our house (on the seventh hole). This house is nice. Three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, nicely furnished, comfy beds. Bob, who hasn’t played here, goes skipping out with his pitching wedge to pitch and putt. Head for one last beverage at the bar (no one is there -- Michigan does close down early). Off to bed for Day 2.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One day until Michigan

We're one day away before heading to Michigan. Yes, I've been pretty well packed for two weeks. Charging up all of the electronics to occupy us on the flights. There's a heat wave going on in Michigan right now -- they are advising people to turn on their air conditioning (if they have it). Compared to the 100+ weather we're having, we might still be wearing sweaters up there.

Just checked out the suite we're staying on at the Boyne lodge. Bob (aka LemonDrop, or Three-putt Bob -- I'm sure he'll have some new names), the rookie, is going to end up with this room (the kid's bunk room). Oh, me thinks that we'll have some fun with this trip!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

8 Days Until Michigan

It's 105 degrees + in Texas these days. Way to hot.

But, on the bright side -- 8 days until we hit Northern Michigan and our golf trip. This is about the time the the bantering amongst us happens. With newbies, Tom and I usually initiate it and see if everyone is up for the banter.

Think this year will be a good group. Daigle is definitely up to the banter. Think his jaw will drop at the beautiful courses that he's been reluctant to check up on because he wants to be surprised. Being the only woman on the trip, I usually expose them to some pictures of "hunks."

Example today was Tom emailing us that Veronica from Forest Dunes was asking if we needed any amenities at the house for our arrival. I responded with: firemen (after spending lunch at a chili cookoff that we judged with firemen). Tom responded that they may be able to find an old 350 pound fireman. I responded with, no, need one of these please:

Tom, responded with -- well, I won't post it because it was an over 400 pound gentleman who doesn't need to be featured on my blog. Bob responded with an email -- that we need to talk to him about because he either can't type or can't spell so interpretation was suspect.

Then, realized that Forest Dunes is owned by the plumbers union, found this gem on the Internet and think he may be there when we arrive:

Let the days tick off, and the banter continue. Michigan, here we come! Forest Dunes, Boyne, Treetops, Bay Harbor, True North, Tullymore. We might actually head over to Mackinac Island our afternoon off to play on their Executive Putting Course (sounds like miniature golf without the clown's mouth). Waiting for them to rerun the handicaps so we can polish up the spreadsheet.