Threetops is Tops with Three Golf Road Warriors

Are you KIDDING me?  Devil’s Drop, number three at Threetops, descends 17 gazillion feet from tee to green.

Here’s a common dilemma in golf: you’ve played 18 holes in the morning (as the Golf Road Warriors did today at Rees Jones’s Black Lake Golf Club), you’ve consumed the requisite lunch of burger and fries and an Arnold Palmer, it’s mid afternoon, and although you don’t have another 18-hole round in you, you’re not quite finished with golf for the day.

Enter such great inventions as the new Bandon Preserve, a 12-hole par-three layout at the Bandon Dunes Resort, and the Rick Smith designed Threetops, here at Treetops Resort, in Northern Michigan.  And much as I hate to admit it as a guy who walks playing golf whenever I can, I was not unrelieved (okay, I was relieved) to hear that Threetops doesn’t allow walking.

And for very good reason, as you can see from the photo above.  Nearly every hole on the course features some drastic climb or drop or carry over a ravine, and each is a tribute to Rick Smith, who routed and designed the layout on this very dramatic site.

Number five, "Valley Lo."

Since missing the fairways is not an option, as there aren’t any, worry instead about missing the greens, even by a few inches, and finding your ball hunkered deep down in thick grass and requiring the deft touch of a bomb squad technician, which is to say blow-ups are imminently possible at any moment.

Holes range from 143-219 yards from the back set of three sets of tees and are well protected by bunkers clustered around many of the putting surfaces.  Don’t necessarily expect to score well here– in fact, The Golf Road Warriors recommend Threetops as the perfect skins game locale.  And while it’s not exactly a living, I did win .75 cents from Brian McCallen and Tom Bedell.  And that’s .75 cents each!

So light up a short, stubby, mild stogie, maybe bring a beer or two along, and have a blast on one of the most fun and clever half-rounds of golf you’re ever likely to play.  And if you’re even a little luckier than I was, perhaps you’ll emulate Lee Trevino, who one $1,090,000 by making an ace on number seven, called “High Five” during a competition here.


The final shot.


One Response to “Threetops is Tops with Three Golf Road Warriors”

  1. Dave Smethurst

    Glad you had fun on our courses. I live in Gaylord and we are blessed. We have more good one as well. Michiwaye and Black Forest (Tom Doak) are very good courses. The Classic at Otsego is indeed a classic 1950’s country club designed by Pete Dye’s mentor. Come again.

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