Treetops Tradition (855) 437-2189
Michigan Golf Course Review
Opened in September of 1997, the Tradition is the latest course to be added to the Treetops arsenal of championship courses. This is Rick Smith's third resort design, and is
perhaps the most player-friendly layout at Treetops. It was developed as a walking course, with the tee boxes situated a short distance from each green. There are no water
hazards, but 86 sand bunkers, strategically located in the fairways and greenside, provide plenty of challenge. The Tradition has the look and feel of an authentic Irish course
through the use of wooden pins, wooden hole signs, and wooden flags. Along with the Premier (Fazio), Signature (Rick Smith's first course), and the famous par three Threetops
(voted #1 par three in the U.S.), the Tradition is located in a high upland area at Treetops North - just minutes from the Jones course (Masterpiece) and resort property. Take away
the weekend, and the Harry Melling dream of building a golf course for every day of the week at this resort, becomes reality.
Recently completing a $4.5 million renovation, Treetops is an all-season resort, featuring the greatest variety of upscale golf in the Midwest, along with winter activities including
downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing and ice skating. It is a four-time recipient of Golf Magazine's Silver Medal Award, and is recognized as one of the finest resorts in the
country. Facilities include: 260 guest rooms, 2,3 &4 bedroom condominiums, two outdoor and 2 indoor heated pools with spas, tennis courts, fitness center, saunas, volleyball
courts, salon, massage therapy, hiking trails, and an award winning Child Development Center. The Treetops Golf Academy is on property and is one of only 3 official GOLF
CHANNEL ACADEMIES in Michigan. The Convention Center can accommodate up to 1,100 people, and casual and fine dining are available at the Sportsbar, Legends on the Hill
or Hunter's Grille. In addition, each golf shop serves up great food and drinks as well as halfway houses on each 18 hole course. The Broken Pub serves over 250 brands of beer
, from all over the world.
This is a golfer's paradise. Step up to the first tee on the Fazio or Smith course, or at Threetops - and take a deep breath. The vistas are stunning. Ditto for the Jones Masterpiece.
You will be awestruck by the view of the first hole from Wilkerson Road as you approach the property. What you see is what you will get for the entire round on these spectacular
layouts. Jump into your cart and take the 5-minute drive over to the Tradition, and you will find a course set amidst high ridges and hilltops with some fairly steep slopes. This
course is unique on the Treetops property - with many native and unmaintained areas supplemented by native wildflower plantings. Wildlife abounds on the layout, which
traverses valleys and ravines, but with topography that is much more gentle in comparison to the defining elevation changes found on the three other championship courses. The
fairways and greens are absolutely immaculate - and are defined by high cuts of rough and tall native grasses that grow abundantly throughout the acreage. The fairways are
generally wide, with level lies awaiting well placed tee shots. With four sets of tees, a slope rating of 122-109, and yardage measuring 6467 to 4907, the Tradition is an enjoyable
test for all levels of skill.
The opening hole bends a bit left and features a downhill approach to a green that is well guarded by three bunkers. The second tee is elevated, and plays to a wide fairway that
slopes uphill to the green. - a very pretty and playable par four. Bunkers and tall grasses guard the left side of the fairway on number three, which bends in that direction. The
right side is the safest bet all the way. Aim right of the furthest fairway bunker on the left on the par four 4th. There is a deep bunker left and two small pot bunkers right of the
putting surface. The number one handicap follows - it plays as a par five from the tips (545 yards) and is a par four from the three other tees. The fairway is very open, but the
approach will require 1 extra club to reach in regulation. Club selection will be the determining factor of your score on the tricky par 3 sixth. Factor in the wind and pin placement
from this elevated tee. The closing stretch of holes on the front, beginning with the par 3 sixth, is the easiest sequence of the course. Following are the 11th, 17th and 15th
handicaps - two short par fours and a closing mid-length par three. High grasses and bunkers on both sides of the fairway invite a long iron off the tee on number seven. The right
side is best for the approach. Eight doglegs left, with the right side once again being the safest venue. Long hitters may be tempted to go for the green (plays between 313 and
236 yards), but may be deterred by the long, deep bunker guarding the left side of the putting surface. Take plenty of club on the closing par 3 ninth, which plays uphill onto the
prevailing wind. There is room both short and long here.
The tenth is a gorgeous par five, that is reachable in two for long hitters. Trees are far removed on either side of the fairway, but bunkers guard the green short left and long right.
Eleven plays into the prevailing wind, and is the longest par four of the layout. This number two handicap will require a long, low tee shot, followed by an accurate fairway wood or
long iron. Most golfers will need to pitch or bump and run to the green on their third shot, playing for a tough par/easy bogey. Twelve is a tight par three, with bunkers all around and
deep heather to the right. The putting surface slopes back to front, so stay below the hole here. Number 13 is short and easy off the tee, but narrows on the downhill approach.
There is room for driver, even though this par four plays to only 319 from the tips. A wide fairway greets you on the 14th tee. Favor the right side of the fairway for the best approach
, which plays longer than the indicated yardage. There are two deep greenside bunkers left, but lots of room to the right. Number 15 plays a bit uphill, with bunkers on either side of
the green. Nonetheless, this is a very score-able par three. Pay attention to the pin placement and go for the flag, as a ridge in the middle of the green makes lag putts a chore.
There is an open fairway on the long par four 16th, but bunkers right and left of the green make par a good score here. After a simple par three, you should step up to the
eighteenth with confidence to finish strongly. This closing hole is a mid-length par five with a set of fairway bunkers all along the left side. The right side is wide open for a long tee
shot. The safe play is to lay up on the approach, as an intimidating bunker complex guards the right side of the green. Trouble in the form of trees and a natural area comes into
play quickly if you are long. Throw in a long, narrow and undulating green, and par is a good score here.
Our round on the Tradition was incredibly enjoyable. There are few "hidden shots" - as you can see most of the greens from the tee boxes. The quality of conditioning from tee to
green is so outstanding, that we felt we were playing on a brand new course. The absence of cart paths is a unique feature - all you see is green... This is a wonderful course and
a great golf experience, adding variety to a spectacular collection of championship layouts - five unique experiences on one property. With ownership transferring into the hands of
Rick Smith (among other prominent businessmen), we can expect the reputation at Treetops to grow even more nationally. Get up there and play it soon. With great
accommodations, pools, spas and other first class amenities - this is a destination unto itself - in one of the true golf meccas of the country.
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. Visit the Two Guys Who Golf information page for Treetops Resort by clicking here.