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How would you react in this scenario?

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

For four hours I thought it was just a joke. The guys on the ride would race to see who would be furious about this crazy wrench thrown at the ride, but then after playing 18 holes the story kept unfolding and then it started to sink. that this would not be the trip we paid for, but it was too late. We were four hours from home and we were not going to return to our normal lives.

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


It just so happens that Treetops has been renovating their chalets that were used the previous two years as COVID testing sites. Home builders have been there this summer rebuilding these things from scratch and by Thursday night they finished enough units for us to become the first people to stay in those chalets. The bathrooms had not yet been breached. The coffee pots still had the shipping carton inside.

Lodging worked out, but golf wasn’t ideal. We paid to play Treetops and we only got to play one round at the resort and it was on the course where they had just removed 1,000 trees in an attempt to turn the course into a links course. During our round it was about 95 degrees in a field where they cut off all the shade.

This was the golf calendar:

Wednesday: (18) The Crest

Thursday morning: Otsego Club Tribute Course

Thursday Afternoon: Treetop Tradition

Friday morning: Gaylord Country Club

Friday afternoon: El Natural

Saturday morning: Tribute to the Otsego Club

Saturday afternoon: (9) Tribute to Club Otsego

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

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

Was it going to change anything if someone got mad and freaked out over Treetops? No. I was on this trip to turn off my phone, connect with nature and golf balls, hang out with old friends, and make new connections.

It was mission accomplished. As for how a resort gets it right by screwing up a trip, I’ll leave that to Andy B. Needless to say, we may need to see a discount on next year’s trip.

Golf Trip Observations:

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

• This country has a shortage of beer cart girls. Thursday night we had eight teams on the field at a resort messing up our tee times and not having a spare drink cart girl to send. Not only that, they closed down the halfway house that sells beer before we finished the nine holes. Not only Treetops had problems. If my memory is correct, Otsego Club was the only course that had consistent service, which was important because it was over 90 degrees and sunny for four days straight.

• I’m not sure if I’ll ever play golf in Northern Michigan during a four-day period like that. Fortunately it clouded over a bit on Saturday afternoon because enough was enough.

• The air conditioning never stopped working 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 40 with wind chill.

• Nobody can play “Strokin” by Clarence Carter like the tour coordinator, Andy B. The guy takes full control of the room. It has become the highlight of the trip for me. Northern MI ladies eat it up.

• I made a 30-foot eagle putt for our scramble team, which was Team Hooters. Thanks to the Hooters Social Media team for creating the team team just a couple of weeks in advance. The unis were a huge hit. We finished 9-under and adopted a 22-year-old college kid who was playing singles. That’s right, we had five shots and still couldn’t get into the playoffs with 12-under teams. It was just one of those rounds.

Diesel resting before attacking 18 holes of scramble golf.
Chris B. and Kirk H. enjoy a lazy day in the field.
Team Hoots with The Natural’s giant beaver at No. 1. What a round it was.

• The boy that the Hooters team adopted likes to do the Happy Gilmore rides for us. He was so kind that he even wanted to teach Diesel the proper technique. He’d say he did four Happy Gilmores and there wasn’t one that didn’t finish 500 yards to the left. We laughed so much that there is no doctor in this world who can prescribe me better medicine than that little boy who swings.

• This month I learned that orange shorts are very hard to find. Credit goes to Chris B. for finding shorts as close to the real Hooters uni as possible.

• I promised myself that I would not look at social networks and it was absolutely incredible to be disconnected from the outside world for so long. I can’t tell you how relaxed I was, especially on Friday morning riding with laid-back golfer Matt J. After a night at the bar, the last thing I want on Friday morning is to have to ride with a super alpha. Give me the Matt Js and Andy Bs.

• This year’s tournament was reduced to a chalet practice on the green between A’s Darren G. and Casten R., who both broke into the PGA minor leagues. Darren hit one from the rough at No. 1, but then Casten birdied a monster putt at No. 2; he had no idea how he could read the green through the headlights, but he hit a crazy putt and it was enough to hold on for a big tournament win.

Crazy field conditions for the School’s Out tournament playoff. Those mini flags weren’t on the cups Thursday night. Our group was the first to touch that green.

• Will I come back next year? I have to. It was announced at the banquet on Saturday night that I was named team captain for the coming year. You are absolutely right, I will be on the phone confirming that our tee times are booked, at least for my team.

• All survived the trip. Everyone laughed. Memories were made. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.

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

Let’s have an amazing week and head into the 4th of July weekend with high spirits.

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