Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 4: True North and Black Lake

Another morning to get ready and head out. I’m dragging a bit because I can tell I’ve been “armsy” – my legs and back are fine, but my arms are a little stiff. Need to try and reduce that today, but I know that’s hard to do on this trip.

Meeting the Whites for breakfast and then off to True North (! Tom’s favorite.

About True North: “True North has received a host of regional and national awards, including being ranked #7 among golf courses in Michigan by Golf Digest magazine in its Best in State Rankings 2015-2016.” Tom and I have been a handful of times to True North when it was public and when it was “semi private.” It’s Frankie’s favorite course (78) and one of Tom’s. It’s one of mine too, but I don’t necessarily play it well. There are a few of those memorable holes, in the wrong way. Now it’s private and Tom was able to get us on for $175 (without a member). I think they also have a “stay and play” but it’s pretty pricy. Last time we played, everyone liked it so much that for an extra $60 we did a “do over.” Well worth it. We’ll be on our “best behavior” today so Tom doesn’t get in trouble.
True North is about 15 minutes from Boyne Highland. Turn left at the church (under construction this year). Then a right into True North and weave your way to the clubhouse. We have changed into our golf shoes already because it’s not proper at private clubs to change in the parking lot. Check in. Driving range that has: ProVi range balls, training aids, tees in a bowl like candy, towels. Just like Woodbridge… Then practice putting where we meet Brent who welcomes us. He suggests drinks since there is no beverage cart today. That means Bloody Marys for me, Heather, Mark and Paul. The best ones in Michigan so far (good amount of celery salt).

Off we go. It’ll be Tom, Paul and Mark. Me, Heather and Pete. The cart has that cool “booper” GPS – you get this gun thing and aim at flagstick and it beeps when it has the yardage. We have my back up Sky Caddie and Heather’s as well. True North is lush. Yes, lush. Lined most of the time with trees. Plenty of bunkers. Plenty of gorse. Some, but not a lot of water. The second hole always gets me because it’s a tight line of trees on the right and from the forward tees, we can hit to the second level. Heather and I do. Heather gets a break with the cart path and being off to the right of the cart path gives her a flatter lie. The lies at True North: I don’t know if there are many flat ones, even in the fairway.
obligatory entrance photo


Yesterday, Pete got a little heat exhausted, so Heather and I want him to have a relaxing morning full of estrogen. He plays pretty well. So does Heather. So do I, for this course. Even #2. Not #8 – this is a par 5. It used to have a big tree, but now only three trees. A storm must have taken it down. And then it’s uphill. And uphill. And more uphill. In front of the green, don’t just do uphill. Let’s add a bunker fronting the green. And put a big mound in the middle of the green. Heather’s comment: “it’s so slope-y.” At the turn, another Bloody Mary for me, one for Heather. Stop for a picture of Pete’s much-wanted Porsche.
Pete's new car.

#10 is a fun Par 3. #11 is a “weird hole.” I can only tell them that it’s short, you don’t want to cut too much of the hill on the right or the ball won’t come down. Stuff on the left. Oh, and a pond next to the green. It’s a fun hole, but not if you haven’t played it.

Heather in the Heather

Scott at Woodbridge has offered up $20 for the biggest divot. We're documenting the adventure and Pete's in the lead.

#18 green

I’m bummed that with the $175 we each paid to play this course that we didn’t get a discount. They have verticut (sp) the fairways and they are all chopped up and full of the clippings that they are starting to pick up. We had thought about a reply today for $100 each, but I know I wouldn’t if they didn’t give us a discount. They should have given us one already considering the course condition. But, it’s still plenty great and worth playing. Definitely worth playing. But, probably collectively we’ll end up at Black Lake in the afternoon instead of a do over.

#18 is another unique hole that Pete and Heather don’t believe me when I describe it (Heather more than Pete). It’s a par five with a divided fairway. If you want to go for it in two, you have to be on the top left side (HAVE to be). If you go down the right side, no way you can go for it in two. The left side to the green is gorse stuff between the fairway and green. The right side is lined by trees on the left and then you take a hard (90 degrees hard) turn for your third shot into the green. Heather gets it when we get to that third shot and she sees Mark, Tom and Paul at the green. You really don’t get it until you see it. But, it’s fun.

Lunch at True North and then the 40+ minute drive to Black Lake (in Onaway). It’s really been pretty fun to ride all six of us together in the same car, rather than two cars. We didn’t think we’d all fit, but Paul has a little spot in the back, back seat next to the clubs (with a blanket I took from American Airlines first class – these always come in handy). It’s cozy, but more fun. Mark and Paul had quite a few “pancakes” at True North (for birdies, maybe others, but not sure exactly what the rules are). This makes Mark quite talkative on the way. Peter takes a nap (kinda). Get to Black Lake (owned by the United Auto Workers).

$40 to play isn’t bad. We actually play this course the “right” way for the first time, starting on one (we usually start on 10). It’s me, Pete and Tom. And Heather, Mark and Paul. I really like Black Lake. It has a bit of everything on it and to it. And, for $40, you just can’t beat it. I lose my Puffin headcover and have to text back for them to save him. They do. I tell them he can't have "pancakes" -- but I believe they got him pretty toasted.
My duck doesn't want his friend the puffin getting drunk on pancakes.

tee marker and apples

Heather finds our gift of apples. The apple altar.

A story about pancakes and Michigan and golf:

After Black Lake, we head back to the Highlands, stopping for dinner at a non-chain establishment, Wilson's River Edge in Indian Creek, Michigan (they don't have a website, but they have a Facebook page: ). 

Wouldn’t say it was outstanding, but it was fun eating out on the patio overlooking the large parking lot). Pretty much a fried basket kind of place. Pete got the perch – or, as Mark said based on the size of them, perches. Mark’s still mighty talkative after all of the “pancakes” at True North and Black Lake. Big surprise that I got chicken tenders basket. Back to the casa.

Time to get ready for my day!

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