Otsego in the fall

Otsego in the fall

Text: Greg Johnson

When a golf course is carved in about 1,100 acres of hardwood forest, such as The Tribute at Otsego Club and Resort in Gaylord, Michigan, it is surrounded by trees and in the fall—color. 

“You can see for 20-to-30 miles in some places,” said Ryan Holmes, golf course superintendent at Otsego Club and Resort after a tour in fall 2018. “All you see are colors.”

The Tribute is the flagship course at the Otsego Club and Resort, which also has a playable-for-all course in parkland style known as The Classic. However, it’s The Tribute for golf combined with a color tour in the fall that steals the show. 

The Sturgeon River Valley basin rolls and dips, and The Tribute goes with it. Rick Robbins and PGA Tour and NBC golf analyst Gary Koch designed the course with the intent of wowing the visiting golfer. It worked, but even they didn’t realize the extra wow factor in the fall.

“Sometimes people come with just cameras to take pictures,” Holmes said. “They don’t care about playing golf. They come to get that fall photo of all the treetops.”

The Tribute and The Classic were closed for the 2019 season, but are open this year after Kathie Vollmar and Gary Vollmar of Lewiston, Michigan purchased the resort. A new fleet of golf carts were also purchased and improvements were put in motion.

The resort, founded in 1939, provides lodging, restaurant service via the Duck Blind Grille, and skiing and golf, among other amenities, such as nearly 24,000 square-feet of meeting and wedding space—and a tapestry of colors in the autumnal season.

The resort offers customized packages through its website, and it remains part of the Gaylord Golf Mecca marketing group, which will include the Otsego courses in packages to the Gaylord area—a region rich with fall colors amid miles of trees, lakes, streams, and wildlife. 

The Tribute was founded at the resort in 2001. It plays up to 7,155 yards with multiple tee additions. 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 with some trees, limited elevation changes and is popular for beginners, junior, and senior golfers.

Plan your visit at OtsegoClub.com