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How would you react in this scenario?

There are twists and turns on a golf trip, but then there’s the scenario that faced our group of 32 guys Thursday morning when word started to trickle out that the trip we paid for into northern Michigan wasn’t actually booked by the Treetops golf resort. I’m talking no rooms or tee times were booked for us by the resort’s group sales guy. They had no record of us.

For four hours I thought it was just a joke guys on the trip were running to see who would get furious over this crazy wrench thrown into the trip, but then, after playing 18 holes the story was still unfolding, and then it started to sink in that this wouldn’t be the trip we paid for, but it was too late. We were four hours from home and we weren’t going back to our ordinary lives.

Andy B., our trip coordinator who has been doing this same trip for a decade-plus, was on the phone with this group sales guy working to get tee times at other courses in the area. And then there was lodging to figure out.

It just happens that Treetops has been renovating its chalets that were used the previous couple of years as COVID testing sites. Home builders have been in there this summer rebuilding these things from the ground up and Thursday night they finished up just enough of the units for us to become the first people to stay in those chalets. The toilets had yet to be violated. The coffee makers still had the shipping cardboard inside.

Lodging was figured out, but the golf wasn’t ideal. We paid to play Treetops and were only able to play a single round at the resort and it was on the course where they’d just removed 1,000 trees in an attempt to turn the course into a links course. During our round, it was approximately 95 degrees on a course where they chopped down all the shade.

Here’s how the golf schedule went:

Wednesday: (18) The Ridge

Thursday morning: Otsego Club Tribute course

Thursday afternoon: Treetops Tradition

Friday morning: Gaylord Country Club

Friday afternoon: The Natural

Saturday morning: Otsego Club Tribute

Saturday afternoon: (9) Otsego Club Tribute

I think you guys can spot the big problem when Treetops dropped the ball on reserving our tee times. I absolutely love playing Tribute, but three times just became way too much golf over the same stretch of holes.

But, again, I wasn’t turning around and coming home, so you just had to make the most of it.

Was it going to change anything if someone got mad and went full f-bombs on Treetops? Nope. I was on this trip to turn off my phone, connect with nature and golf balls, and hang with old friends and make new connections.

It was mission accomplished. As for how a resort makes things right for screwing up a trip, I’m going to leave that to Andy B. Needless to say, we might need to see a discount on next year’s trip.

Golf trip observations:

• McDonald’s in Gaylord, MI has a ‘Now hiring, $21 an hour’ sign on the front of the building

• This country has a beer cart girl shortage. Thursday night we had eight teams out on the course at a resort that screwed up our tee times and they didn’t have a spare drink cart girl to send out. Not only that, they closed the halfway house that sells beer before we finished nine holes. It wasn’t just Treetops that had issues. If my memory is correct, Otsego Club was the only course that had consistent service, which was important because it was 90-plus degrees and sunny for four straight days.

• I’m not sure I’ll ever play northern Michigan golf over a four-day stretch of weather like that. Thankfully it clouded up a little bit Saturday afternoon because enough was enough.

• The air conditioner never stopped running the first night in the chalet. When I woke up the room was 62 degrees. One of our chalet roommates, Gage, brought his box fan and his room had to be in 40s with the windchill.

• Nobody can hammer out “Strokin” by Clarence Carter like trip coordinator Andy B. The guy takes complete control of the room. It’s become the real highlight of the trip for me. The ladies of northern MI eat it up.

• I hit a 30-foot eagle putt for our scramble team, which was Team Hooters. Thank you to the Hooters social media team for throwing together team gear with just a couple weeks of notice. The unis were a big hit. We finished 9-under and adopted a 22-year-old college kid who was playing as a single. That’s right, we had five shots and still couldn’t get into the playoff with teams at 12-under. It was just one of those rounds.

Diesel resting up before attacking 18 holes of scramble golf.
Chris B. & Kirk H. enjoying a quiet day on the course.

Team Hoots with The Natural’s giant beaver at No. 1. What a round it was.

• The kid Team Hooters adopted like to do Happy Gilmore drives for us. He was so gracious that he even wanted to teach Diesel the proper technique. I’d say he did four Happy Gilmores and there wasn’t one that didn’t end up 500 yards hard left. We laughed our asses off so hard that there isn’t a doctor in this world who could prescribe me medicine better than that kid swinging his ass off.

• This month I learned it’s very hard to find orange shorts. Credit goes to Chris B. for finding shorts as close to the true Hooters uni as it gets.

• I kept my promise to myself that I wouldn’t look at social media and it was absolutely amazing to disconnect from the outside world for that long. I can’t explain how relaxed I was, especially Friday morning riding with a calm golfer Matt J. After a night out at the bar, the last thing I want on Friday morning is having to ride with a super alpha. Give me the Matt Js and Andy Bs.

• This year’s tournament came down to a chalet practice green putt-off between A-players Darren G. and Casten R., who dabbled in the PGA minor leagues. Darren putted one in from the rough on No. 1, but then Casten birdied a monster putt on No. 2 — no clue how he could read the green via headlights, but he sank a crazy putt and it was enough to hold on for a big tournament victory.

Crazy course conditions for the School’s Out tournament putt-off. Those mini flags weren’t in the cups Thursday night. Our group was the first to touch that green.

• Will I go back next year? I have to. It was announced at Saturday night’s banquet that I was named a team captain for next year. You’re damn right I’ll be on the phone confirming confirmations that our tee times are booked — at least for my team.

• Everyone survived the trip. Laughs were had by all. Memories were made. At the end of the day, that’s what’s important.

And now it’s back to reality. There’s a Zoom call to attend in an hour and the kids are hungry.

Let’s have an incredible week and roll right into July 4th weekend with high spirits.

Email: joekinsey@gmail.com

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Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.


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  1. Your golfing trip makes me even more eager to get up north next week to once again play some golf, drink some beers with friends, and tell ourselves “we’re still the young lions!” Love the photo of the car lights on for the putting contest! You can almost hear the laughter!!

  2. One would think that IG models are out there, making big, big bucks. And then there’s the TV personality/IG model posing in her kitchen in front of a white, electric range from 1983…

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