Text: Greg Johnson
The Otsego Resort in Gaylord, Michigan has planned a soft opening event this weekend, Dec. 14 through Dec. 16, 2018 for public skiing as it returns to year-round service under new ownership and management. The returning debut also means golf will swing into action once more in the spring on The Tribute and The Classic courses.
Michelle Norton, director of sales and marketing at Otsego Resort, has had nearly 33 years of experience in the resort industry in northern Michigan and said the future looks bright for the resort purchased this summer by Gary and Kathie Vollmar of Lewiston.
“Kathie and Gary [Vollmar] are excited about this opportunity,” Norton said. “They have been keeping an eye on the resort for the last few years and are tickled to get it open and serving customers.”
The resort, which was founded in 1939, will provide lodging, restaurant service via the Duck Blind Grille, skiing, and golf among other amenities, such as the approximately 24,000 square-feet of meeting and wedding space.
As for golf, several things are at hand including the purchasing of a new fleet of golf carts and remaining part of the 31-year successful marketing via the Gaylord Golf Mecca group.
“We will have 80 brand new carts, and we are adding a full-service halfway house on The Tribute at No. 10,” Norton said. “Beverage cart service has always been a challenge through that part of the course. It will be a great addition to our service.”
Ryan Holmes, golf course superintendent, maintained the courses while they were closed much of last year during the auction process, and has been retained throughout the ownership transition.
“Our new owners are passionate about the property and bringing it back to what it used to be and more. They are savvy business people. They do their due diligence. They don’t make snap decisions,” Norton said.
“Since they took control in August, they have looked at everything closely and it’s wonderful they did not just walk in and make rash decisions. They are doing what is best for the property, our clients, and the community,” Norton added.
Vollmar is a native of Cass City, a graduate of Central Michigan University, and a certified public accountant who worked with Walbro Corp., a Fenton-based engine management and fuel systems manufacturer. He purchased a division of Walbro in Indiana, and in 2003 started Aggressive Manufacturing Innovations, or AMI. AMI is a supplier to agriculture, construction, automotive, and the marine industries with five facilities in Michigan.
Land adjoining the resort has also been purchased and additional development may be a possibility, according to Norton.
The Tribute is a Gary Koch and Rick Robbins award-winning design that was founded at the resort in 2001. It has dramatic elevation changes and vistas with sweeping modern golf design with classic elements. It plays up to approximately 7,155 yards with multiple tee additions. Otsego Resort’s other course, known as The Classic, is a 1957 design by William Diddel. It plays from multiple tee choices from 6,267 yards and 3,920 yards. It has open parkland space, limited elevation changes, and is popular for beginners, junior, and senior golfers.