GAM Travel - Michigan

Gaylord Country Club Welcomes Golfers with Traditional Design and Great Greens          

GAYLORD – J.T. Aude’s family moved to Gaylord when he was nine-years-old.

 He’s 46 now and this year will be his ninth as head golf professional at Gaylord Country Club, a place he thought was great the first time he played it.

“I grew up in Gaylord, played high school golf here, know what Gaylord Country Club has been like for a lot of years, what it should look like, and to be working here and running it is really nice,” he said. “The first 18 holes I ever played were right here. Before this became the Gaylord Golf Mecca with the resorts coming on board, this was really the place to golf. Gaylord Country Club and The Pines at Michaywe’ were the only public courses in the area for a long time.”

 Gaylord CC and The Pines are two of the 15 courses that market through the Gaylord Golf Mecca resort destination group, and Gaylord CC has a long history at two sites. The club itself was founded in 1924, and established south of downtown Gaylord. What is now the Elks Lodge was the clubhouse. In 1974 it moved to the current site along M-32 on the edge of town. Don Childs, who built several courses in Michigan and Indiana, did the current course’s design, and it remains a vibrant golf attraction.

 Travelers up north have long appreciated it, Aude said.

“So many people tell stories about family trips from years ago that included playing here,” he said. “It’s a wonderful layout, traditional parkland golf with Northern Michigan scenery. You see where you are going to try to hit it, and if you hit it well, you are rewarded. Hit it bad and you get penalized. The great thing is you will probably still be able to find it, hit it out of trouble forward and keep playing.”

 Aude said he pitches to potential customers, traveling golfers and locals that they just need to try it once and they will be sold on the value at Gaylord CC.

 “The greens win them over,” he said. “I think we have some of the best greens in Northern Michigan.”

 He said the design of the greens is part of it, but the large portion of credit for the most-mentioned feature of the course is Superintendent Paul Holmes, who has been at Gaylord CC for 32 years.

 “He has been here forever, and this is his baby,” J.T. said. “He takes care of it, and he is meticulous about how it is done, how it is mowed and with the care for the greens.”

 Aude said being part of the Gaylord Golf Mecca has been great for the course, but also demands extra attention.

 “The Mecca books groups, works with us, the resorts, the local hotels, and we take pride in knowing we have the quality to be part of it. We try to give the best condition we can when they come from a resort course to our course.”

 There are 125 equity-ownership members of the open-to-the public facility, and each day of the summer schedule there is something going on for all golfers.

 “We have leagues, and always a few openings, great access for traveling golfers and we have various fun things and promotions,” he said. “As I understand it Gaylord Country Club has never been private. I know the mission statement that has been around as long as I’ve been around it says the golf course is available to all players.”

 The standard rates start at $50 with a maximum of $65 and a lowest of $41, including carts, but there are twilight rates, spring and fall rates and specials.

 The course is tree-lined true north woods golf with water hazards and natural elevation changes that challenge the golfer and please the eye. The area where No. 18, No. 8 and No. 17 collect is marked by a beautiful stone bridge and a fountain. Flowers are in around several areas on the golf course.

 The maximum yardage is just under 6,500 yards with the front tee of four positions measuring at 5,171 yards.

 The par 5 No. 5 hole is a 469-yard dogleg around a pond that plays as the No. 1 handicap hole. The tee shot at No. 8, a 398-yard par 4, is blind but classic from the top of a hill. The green is tucked behind a pond and bunker which makes for a beautiful and yet difficult challenge.

 Nos. 13 and 14 combine the look and challenge of Northern Michigan golf in the trees, though there is plenty of room to hit golf shots. No. 13 is a classic short par 4 well-guarded by a water hazard and sand, and No. 14 is a par 3 that requires a long, accurate tee shot.

 “Just great, traditional golf at a friendly place,” J.T. said. “And you will love our greens.”

 Learn more at www.gaylordcountryclub.com.  Call 231-546-3376. 

-Greg Johnson

Gaylord Country Club has a long, celebrated history. 
The green at No. 8 is tucked behind water and sand.
The short par 4 at No. 13 is regarded as the Signature Hole.
Flowers and attention to detail add to the experience at Gaylord CC.
It's a parkland setting that greets the golfer at No. 16.
A glance from behind the green at No. 18 reveals a classic Northern Michigan golf scene.
The stone bridge and the fountain between Nos. 17 and 18 are pleasing to the eye.
   
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