Golf Gaylord’s Golf Mecca

The 18th hole of The Loon.

The 18th hole of The Loon.

Photo courtesy of The Loon

Play: Golf Week magazine mandates you play Treetops Resort once before you die. We feel it only fair to warn you: the resort’s breathtakingly beautiful and riotously fun 9-hole par 3-only course, Threetops, is killer. Survivalists, hack your way to Black Forest (866 585-7090, blackforestgolf.com), where each Tom Doak-designed hole is so isolated inside the Mackinaw State Forest, each feels like an island unto itself. Looking for a kinder, gentler course? Head for the chill hills of The Loon (877-732-4455, loonlakegolfclub.com); locals call it the players course, the course calls itself the home of friendly championship golf, we call it just plain fun, friend.

Stay:

Plush reaches new heights inside the newly renovated Hilltop Retreat at Otsego Club Resort—most notably when you’re snuggled up in the standard downy-soft double-sheeted to-die-for beds ($199+, 800-752-5510, otsegoclub.com). You’ll find log cabin luxury plus four fab courses and family activities and amenities galore at Garland Resort (877-442-7526, garlandusa.com).

Eat:

Nobody does post-play protein like Chef Brad McKay of Black Forest’s Osprey Grille—he’s won the hearts and bellies of Gaylord golfers with his hardwood smoked ribs. You can go to Otsego Club to tip your Paddy cap to the Mecca’s founding fairway, The Classic, but you’ll want to raise a toast too; the club’s chichi- rustic Pontresina Ristorante boasts a wine cellar so sublime, it’s only one of eight restaurants in the state awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence—a perfect pairing when dishes like oysters "rockafeller," Hong Kong duck and espresso crepe cake are on the menu.

Insider Tip:

A little luck and a little less than $100 will get your mitts on the 2008 Golf Passport Coupon Book, which nabs you a free round of golf with cart for every purchased round with cart at 20 courses in the Gaylord Golf Mecca. But act fast; only 1,000 passports are printed (gaylordgolfmecca.com, 800-345-8621). Plan on more free fun in fall: October 17 through 19, every might booked at a participating hotel in the Gaylord Golf Meca gets you a free round of golf at a participating Mecca course (freegolfgaylord.com.) 

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