Otsego Club - The Tribute (800-752-5510)
Michigan Golf Course Review
The Otsego Club has been around since 1939, but recent additions and renovations to the property have re-established the resort as a major player in the Gaylord golf resort
community - which is arguably the top golf destination in the Midwest. New for the 2002 season are: The Robbins/Koch designed Tribute Golf Club, a 400 seat convention center,
newly renovated rooms in the White Birch and Blue Spruce Lodges, new condominium rental units, a new pro shop in the lodge with a 20 mile view of the surrounding property,
and great real estate opportunities.
Accommodations include 117 suites, rooms and condos that provide the basis for some of the best golf/lodging values in the state. Amenities include: lighted tennis courts,
outdoor heated swimming pool, mountain and biking trails, 400 seat special events center, meeting and conference rooms, award winning Pontresina Restaurant, Alpine-style
"all you can eat breakfast buffet, extensive wine cellar, The Logmark Lounge with a 20-mile view, the casual Duck Blind Grille and the Bear's Den Cigar Lounge (members only).
Year round memberships for golf and skiing at Otsego begin at just $95 a month! The Mark Hogan School of Golf, with 3 and 4 day programs, is also on property. The main draw
of course, is the quality and variety of golf available at the resort. Two distinctive layouts comprise the 36 holes that feature quality experiences for all levels of ability. The Classic is
the original layout, ideal for a leisurely round, and great for beginning golfers or resort players. The addition of the Tribute late in 2001, brings to Otsego one of the very best
courses in the state - a truly unique design with spectacular views and abundant elevation changes. For more information on the Otsego Club Resort click here.
The Tribute (877-465-3475)
The Tribute opened late in the 2001 season, and has already gained national acclaim from various respected golf publications. This Gary Koch-Rick Robbins design
encompasses 1,100 acres of Northern Michigan splendor, featuring spectacular vistas while it crosses through towering hardwoods and crystalline wetlands. It offers a
challenging test of skill in one of the country's most memorable settings. This is the shining star in the Otsego collection of championship golf courses. Sports Illustrated has
named The Tribute to its INTERNATIONAL list of TOP TEN BEST NEW PUBLIC GOLF COURSES!
The Two Guys Who Golf were dually impressed. We certainly did not have to search for pictures, as nearly every hole was postcard material. Vistas from elevated tee boxes were
absolutely stunning, often presenting views of Michigan hillsides that stretched for miles. Conditioning from tee to green was outstanding, with quick, true-rolling greens and well
-sculpted fairways and tee boxes. Numerous bunkers with soft, high quality sand dot the fairways and are strategically placed green-side. The are only a couple water hazards, but
with the rolling topography and scenic elevation changes, the Tribute layout offers enough aesthetically. For a new course, the Tribute is well-marked. Yardages are posted on
each tee box, and 150 yards stakes are visible on the fairways. Sprinkler heads are measured to the center of the green and are easy to find. A unique feature you will want to pay
attention to is their method of pin placement positioning. Small color-coded flags appear on each flag stick, to indicate front, middle and back. Blue indicates the back third of the
green, white is middle and red means a pin placement on the front third. All of these flags are uniformly placed near the top of the flagstick - as opposed to the standard procedure
of placing them up and down the flag stick to indicate positioning. This allows for better viewing on elevated greens and from depressions along the course.
The opening hole on the Tribute plays uphill all the way, along a wide fairway flanked with high grasses on both sides. The par 4 second also presents considerable room on the
fairway, and doglegs sharply to the right on the approach. Both play long but are reasonable holes to score on. Number three is one of the most gorgeous holes in Northern
Michigan. From an elevated tee you should be able to grip it and rip it down this wide fairway. Catch the hill near the bottom and you can almost reach the green. Most golfers will
find level lies on the shelf that precedes the final depression. This is a good birdie opportunity! The fourth offers two levels of fairways, with both options rather generous. Long
hitters will want to stay on the left side, as it is possible to drive through the fairway along the right. You will have to make a tough decision on your next shot. It is very possible to
reach in two, but your fairway wood/long iron will have to be extremely accurate as the green is perched on a hill that slopes towards trouble on either side. If you lay up, it will be
with a wedge or short iron, to remain on the top shelf, avoiding the rough and depression that fronts the green. This will leave you with another short iron to the downhill putting
surface. Tough choice here. The fifth is a par four that plays incredibly long from the tips (478 yards), with a generous fairway. The uphill approach is best played to the right side.
Six is the first par three of the layout, and plays uphill with lots of room right. This is followed by the longest hole on the course, playing at 607 yards from the tips. Lay up towards
the last bunker on the left, or bend it right down the tree line as this hole doglegs on a 45-degree angle to the right. The second shot is fairly open on this 3 shot par five, but the
approach leaves little room for error. You will have to land a high, soft iron over the water hazard, to a ridged green. Pay attention to the pin placement on this number 2 handicap.
The eighth also doglegs right and features an approach over a gully to a wide open green. This precedes a gorgeous par three closing hole that plays over a marsh, to a green
with 30 yards of fairway providing bail out room in front.
The back nine is considerably shorter, with 5 par fours playing at 358 or less from the white tees. With the championships measuring 7347 and the blues playing at 6733, the
whites (6305) will be the tees of choice for most golfers. The tenth invites a fairway wood or long iron off the tee, as a depression 80 yards out will not reward the long tee shot. The
approach is to a putting surface sitting perched on a hill that slopes right to left. Eleven plays extremely uphill, making this short par five the number 3 handicap. There is ample
room on the fairway, but high grasses border both sides. The 12th will play nearly 100 yards longer than advertised, as it is extremely uphill and plays into the prevailing wind. Par
is good here. A beautiful par three is next. Land on the correct portion of the green, as anything away from the flag will demand a lag putt over a nasty ridge. Aim right of the fairway
bunker and left of the 150 yard marker on number 14. There is a grass swell to the left of the elevated green so the smartest approach is from the right side. Clear the bunkers as
you bend a shot towards the right and you will have an easy approach on the par four 16th. Other options include a lay up prior to the 150 stake and bunkers on the right side, or a
long drive along the left side to take the bunkers out of play. After a simple, mid-length par three (number 17 handicap) you will find one of the most picturesque holes in Michigan.
Stop at the tips to take a photo, than venture on to the correct tee box for your last drive on one of the most memorable courses you will ever play. This is a beautiful finishing hole,
that plays downhill off the tee, and uphill (1 club extra) on the approach. A good tee shot should afford an opportune chance at birdie or par. Be sure to use enough club and to pay
attention to the pin placement on this oversized green.
The Tribute is absolutely awesome. Most will enjoy the round for the scenery, regardless of their score. Competitors will appreciate the immense challenges that take shape in
the form of demanding length and accuracy. Club selection on the holes that feature elevation changes is vital. No problem here - take notes and play it again. You will want to
return, as one time is not enough at the Tribute - which gets our highest recommendation for aesthetics, quality and service.
Real Estate options include the opportunity to own a vacation condominium, golf or ski cottage, or year round residence. For information on the Founders Village condominiums
(along the Classic Golf Course), Classic Village homesites, White Birch Inn (hotel condos) and the new Woods Cabin development (golf course and ski-in/ski-out detached log
cabin condominiums), visit the Otsego Club website or Call Scott Chesley at Michigan Network Realtors at 989-732-5225.
Check out the Two Guys Who Golf detailed information page on this course (which includes a link to the course's website if available) - click here.