Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Otsego Tribute ... and change of plans (day 6)

We’re always looking for new courses, new gems to play in Michigan. There are SO many courses. This year, we add Otsego Tribute and Classic to the list. Tribute is on the Top 10 (maybe Top 5) in Michigan, after Crystal Downs, Arcardia, Oakland Hills. In Gaylord, it’s a Gary Koch (think: golf commentator) design, again, at a ski resort. After McDonalds (yes, breakfast of champions) we head out for our hour drive to the course. Realize that we’ve driven by over the years on our way to Treetops. Unassuming from the road and guessing (hoping) that the Classic, or the older course, is the one on the side of the road because it doesn’t look like much except a cow pasture. “Cute” little chalet, Swiss village ski resort looking space. I’m a little concerned because the bathrooms in the clubhouse are communal (that’s not right, in my mind). Pro shop ok, but nothing I have to have (I’m holding out for Arcadia on Friday and haven’t bought anything – even at Bay Harbor!). But, it’s supposed to be a gem. Their driving range rates up there with Boyne’s Heather (actually, Heather is more picturesque). I’m driving Pete around today and we eventually head up, about five minutes of meandering up woods and ski areas to the first hole, which is up hill and pretty open. No starter, no one, so off we go. 
The course has some nice “bones” to it. Rather generous fairways with definite landing areas surrounded by bunkers. The greens have nice bunkering as well. But, we quickly find out that the course has not been maintained to keep it at its Top 10 rating (we find out about the drought burning things up, but that doesn’t give the rocky bunkers and other poor course conditions a complete hall pass). We haven’t played more than four holes and I bring up the Boyne raincheck I have and the conversation starts about skipping the Classic course (if the Tribute is like this, what’s that going to be like?) and playing Boyne – Heather, which we didn’t finish, or Alpine, because we like it and then can have Bob In Again on our way back to the Highlands. Tom’s my partner and pretty sucky on our robin and we lose. I’m not playing poorly, but not great, and at this part of the trip, I have to be in fairways, most of the time lay up on par 4s and then hit a green and hope to get par, but be happy with a bogey. I lose more and more distance on my clubs the more we get into the trip. Paul’s playing well and shoots a 41 on the front. Pete, well, Pete is having a bit of a continuation from the day before (but, since I’m driving him around, it can’t be me causing the issues since we’re right there together).
Tribute is good with the cart girl and we start early. But, Tribute is NOT good on the amenities/facilities. The cart girl says #12.  I know, I should have learned how to pee in the woods at this point, but I can’t. Shy bladder. Or call it what you will, I do not have the pee in the woods in me (there was a port a potty between #12 and #13 – boy, I miss Bay Harbor’s nice, clean, pretty smelling, mural painted bathrooms).
End the day with a sandie, so I’m happy with that. And off we go for our refund for Classic ($25 to play that after playing Tribute) using someone’s back as an excuse. Dairy Queen in Gaylord for a quick lunch (Blizzard…) and to Heather we go. This is going to be great because we’re staying a couple of minutes from there and we can have pizza for dinner at the Lodge.

#1 At Otsego's Tribute after a five minute ride from the clubhouse.

Yes, there are nodding donkeys in Michigan, Texas.

"Treetop-sy" views downhill on some holes (you're supposed to see for 20 miles from here)

Par 3 with quite a bit of carry over, as Tom says: "A Christmas Tree farm."

Par 5, up hill (I think all par 5s in Michigan are up hill).

Find out that the Boyne raincheck I’ve been holding on to for a couple of years has $100. With another little discount from the rain cancellation on Sunday (BTW, they are still getting back after that storm in Michigan – LOTS of damage and Consumers Energy has their work cut out for them on the repairs and getting power restored). Ends up costing each of us $25 to play Heather, the same it would have cost to play Classic, but better, much better.

I’m driving Pete around again in the afternoon, who contemplated not playing. We get him a drink and that helps (he doesn’t drink beer and I don’t know too many people who drink wine on the golf course – a Crown and Coke works). They also move up a tee box from the Purple to the Orange tees. I add extra strokes to my handicap since I’m now getting penalized for their lesser yardage.

Last time we played Heather on Sunday, I had a solid 40 going on the front 9 before we had to bring it in. Not so much the case this time. But, on four, we do see a mink. This is the second mink we've seen since Bay Harbor day.

Mink at Heather,#4
Dinner consists of pizza at the Lodge. Only a walk away so no driving!

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