Golf Where You Can See for Miles

America's Premier Golf Destination


America’s Summer Golf Mecca celebrated its 25th birthday in 2012, twenty-five years of Gaylord hosting more than 3,600,000 golfers at northern Michigan’s collection of outstanding courses, according to the Gaylord Convention and Visitors Bureau. Currently, that’s 265,000 in khakis, plaids, shorts and spikes annually.

Gaylord is a golf lover's paradise. Our resorts regularly receive accolades from national publications such as Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golf for Women. A recent Golf Digest poll ranked Gaylord and northern Michigan as the 12th best golf destination in the world and 8th best in the United States. 


The year 1987 marked the most significant turning point in the growth of the fledging golf industry in Gaylord.

           Harry Melling, a flamboyant auto industry supplier and NASCAR team owner who earlier purchased the dated, old Sylvan ski resort on the edge of town, unveiled the Masterpiece, the last major golf course design by the legendary architect, Robert Trent Jones. The Jones course would become the generator that jumpstarted Gaylord’s place in national conversations of golf destinations in the Midwest.

          That course was the first of four top-flight layouts Melling would go on to build at the resort. In the process, Jones came up with the name, Treetops, after observing the stunning view over the Pigeon River Valley from the ridge 180-plus feet above the green of the course’s iconic signature Par 3 sixth hole.

The name Treetops now resonates with golf fans everywhere as the resort has become of the lynchpin of the game in Gaylord.

In 1987, another new Gaylord institution that would boost the fortunes of local golf, the Gaylord Tourism Bureau, came on line. It, in turn, spawned the Gaylord Golf Mecca - a marketing label officials hoped would draw attention to the six golf courses that signed up as original mecca members.

          Fast forward three decades, and the Gaylord Golf Mecca is now celebrating its 30th anniversary, a wildly successful run, as the mecca tagline has become one of the state’s most well-known promotional campaigns.

          “The first budget for the Mecca was $15,000. The tourism bureau contributed $7,500 and we had a formula for the golf courses to put in $1,500 each to make up the rest,” said Paul Beachnau, one of the original founders of the Golf Mecca, and a multi-tasker who also serves as the executive director of both the Gaylord Area Chamber of Commerce and the Gaylord Convention and Tourism Bureau, as well as general manager of the Gaylord Golf Mecca.

 A new State of Michigan matching grant rant program for local efforts like the Mecca also boosted the golf efforts.

 “As this thing moved along in a couple of years we were able to leverage that $15,000 with the state’s match of another $15,000 and we were off and running,”

          The initial tourism bureau budget of just over $100,000 is now up to $893,000 with $150,000 budgeted for the Golf Mecca marketing and advertising, Beachnau said.

          Correspondingly, the first year of the Mecca saw courses record 60,000 rounds of golf, with revenues of $2 million. Over the years membership grew to as many as 22 courses before settling at the current 14.

High water marks for that group include a record increase of rounds played, 300,000, with revenues as high as $17 million, Beachnau reports.

Beachnau said even though he and the early founders of the Mecca were comfortable in the golf product they were selling, he is amazed by the success they are now experiencing.

“If you had asked me if I ever envisioned the growth in the number of quality golf courses I would have to say no,” he said. “I imagined us to be reasonably successful in developing a cool niche of the golf market but what it has led to in terms of the number of golf courses in Northern Michigan, the quality, and the number of world class designers that have found us, is just amazing.”

Treetops general manager, Barry Owens, like Beachnau, a Golf Mecca founder, also marvels at the progress. He credits the mecca members who have stayed united with Beachnau as the glue that kept them that way.

“Through thick and thin this group has stayed together,” Owens said. “The Gaylord region is great, as is the location, just off I-75. The courses are within a short drive of the freeway. Even Treetops, we’re 10 minutes from I-75 but we’re a world away from I-75. But despite that, and all the things we have to offer, the real story is how we’ve stuck together and continue to be a cooperative force for golf in Northern Michigan.”

Next up for the Gaylord Golf Mecca is another dream coming true this season. After four years of wooing Dallas tourism and travel officials and American Airlines, the Mecca and its partner, Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport, finally hit pay dirt.

Starting June 2, the airline will begin direct service from Dallas to Traverse City. With those flights Beachnau and Owens envision hordes of players fleeing the stifling Texas heat and humidity to check out the Gaylord Golf Mecca and the beauty, climate, and courses in Northern Michigan.

Texas Golfers Escape to the Gaylord Golf Mecca


PURE Michigan & Gaylord Offers the Ultimate Escape to America's Summer Golf Mecca

Cherry Capital Airport Makes Travel Easy for Southern Golfers to Experience Cool Temps and Nationally Acclaimed Golf All Season Long!

GAYLORD, MICHIGAN – July, 2014 – Pure Michigan’s Gaylord Golf Mecca and northern Michigan’s regional airport – Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) continue to lure southern golfers the opportunity to experience summer’s most spectacular golf.

Located in the exact center of northern Michigan on the 45th parallel, Gaylord, Michigan is one of the nationally acclaimed golf destinations in the country offering something for everyone.

Often referred to as America’s Summer Golf Mecca, the Gaylord area provides a wonderful escape as temperatures rise above 100 degrees in the southwest and southern states. With breezes finding their way from the Great Lakes just 50 minutes away, cooler temperatures prevail in northern Michigan with average summertime temperatures reaching just 80 degrees. In addition, long summer daylight allows golfers to play 36 to 54-holes daily with sunsets being between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. in the middle of the summer.

Autumn golf is also spectacular throughout the Gaylord Golf Mecca courses. With brilliant blue skies, deep green fairways, and mosaic like autumn colors lining each of the 15 championship courses, autumn (September and October) is a great time for a golf escape to Pure Michigan.

With courses designed by the giants of the game (Robert Trent Jones Sr., Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Jerry Matthews, Rick Smith, and Tom Doak to name a few), the quality and quantity of golf combined with the affordability of golf packages is unmatched anywhere in America.

From three-day golf packages to four and five day golf packages; there’s a Pure Michigan Gaylord Golf Getaway to meet the most discriminating golf traveler. Each package includes golf and cart daily, and some even include a steak dinner cookout, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Accommodations range from spectacular golf course chalets, homes and condominiums capable of housing a range of guests from couples to large outings; to resort and hotel lodging.
Gaylord Golf Getaway partners include Marsh Ridge Resort; Treetops Resort – Michigan’s Most Spectacular Resort; Otsego Club Resort & Conference Center; Baymont Inns & Suites; Pine Cone Vacation Rentals; Great Northern Rentals; and The Loon Golf Resort. Visit for package details. Three-night, 3 round golf packages can be reserved for as little as $199 per person.

TESTIMONIAL from Dallas Residents Tom and Judy Karr
“We discovered the magic of Northern Michigan in 2000 and have enjoyed the magnificent forests, lakes, rivers, golf, and moderate temperatures every year since. A morning hike, a day of golf and an evening out is perfect for us, while enjoying the wineries, the beaches or the coastal villages is a close second. There is a New England and European picturesque charm to this area without either the costs or the crowds,” said Tom and Judy Karr while visiting Treetops Resort for dinner and staying in a vacation rental inspired by rustic elegance from Pine Cone Vacations - July, 2013.

Getting to northern Michigan’s Golf Mecca is easy with many non-stop and one-stop flights from every corner of the United States including the Dallas Ft. Worth, Houston, and Austin markets in Texas. There are daily non-stops to TVC from Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Newark, LaGuardia, and Minneapolis making travel to Pure Michigan easy.

Travel by way of Traverse City's Cherry Capital Airport is CONVENIENT. Northern Michigan’s regional airport – Cherry Capital (TVC) is serviced by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Visitors are just 60 minutes from runway to fairway. Visit for tickets and flight schedules and to download the all new APP making it easy to track flight changes and weather all in real time.

About Gaylord, Michigan and America’s Summer Golf Mecca
The Gaylord Golf Mecca, located on the 45th parallel in the heart of northern Michigan, is a co-op group of some of the top golf courses in America. Launched in 1987, and often referred to as America’s Summer Golf Mecca, the Gaylord area has hosted over 3.6 million golfers from around the country. The region features four-world class resorts and 20 hotels lead by Treetops Resorts, one of the world’s top golf destinations by Conde Nast Traveler. Other resorts and lodging include The Loon, Otsego Club, Pine Cone Vacations and The Ridge.

In addition to great resorts, the area boasts 15 championship courses designed by the giants of the game, including Robert Trent Jones Sr, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Tom Doak, and Rick Smith to name a few. Golf Digest, GOLF Magazine, and Golfweek, have awarded Gaylord courses top national and state rankings. Golf Digest has also ranked the region among its top ten golf destinations and “Best Buddy Trips” in the country.

It’s the true Michigan “Up North” summer and autumn golf experience with forests of white pine, aspen, birch, cedar, fir, oak and maple trees, lakes and wetlands, the second largest free-ranging elk herd east of the Mississippi River, whitetail deer, wild turkeys and occasionally a black bear. Scenic rivers flow through the area including the Au Sable, Pigeon and Sturgeon, with world-class fly-fishing in the 100,000-acre Pigeon River State Forest.

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Architects of the Gaylord Golf Mecca

Click to Watch Gaylord Golf Mecca Featured on Golf Channels Morning Drive


Festivals & Events

Alpenfest, a weeklong summer festival held annually in July, draws visitors from all over for Alpine-themed food, events and fun. The free ice cream social is just one example of the many ways that Gaylord opens up to visitors during this festival celebrating Gaylord's Alpine heritage and partnership sister city, Pontresina, Switzerland. The Pavilion on Court Street offers free community band concerts, Friday night concerts and a twice-weekly farmer"s market

Gaylord is home to many other events including the Big Ticket Festival, Wings Over Northern Michigan airshow and our annual winter celebration, Alpenfrost.


Hike Pigeon River

Hike, Bike, Boat or Relax

During each season, stunning natural beauty including pristine lakes and rivers, wooded hiking trails and scenic natural areas beckon visitors to Gaylord. In our fair city, look no further than Aspen Park, which offers both paved and rugged trails for hiking, biking and in-line skating. 

The Pigeon River Country State Forest, just east of Vanderbilt, offers over 98,000 acres for hiking, biking, horseback riding, backpacking and exploring. Home to the second largest free roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi, elk viewing areas are popular places linger.  The Green Timbers special use area has 6,300 acres of State Forest closed to all motor vehicles.  This specially designated parcel is located right along the picturesque Sturgeon River, making it a prime location for an abundance of wildlife. 

Water lovers will enjoy over 100 inland lakes, many with easy public access. The lapping waves, a good book, towel and pair of sunglasses are all you’ll need for an afternoon of priceless relaxation. Fishermen will also delight as they reel in their catch of the day, which may include walleye, perch, small-and large-mouth bass, pike sturgeon and crappie, among other sport fish. 

Alpine-themed downtown

Shopping & Entertainment

When shopping is your chosen "sport," visit Gaylord's Alpine-themed downtown, with its unique shops offering everything from gourmet chocolates to one-of-a-kind Michigan-made souvenirs. Newly remodeled, our downtown area will delight shoppers with it's eclectic collection of shops, eateries and pedestrian-friendly layout.  A cruise west along M-32 offers "big-city" shopping opportunities at new and expanding stores. 

Evenings bring live entertainment to a number of area restaurants and bars - the perfect finish to an enticing meal and a long day of golf and recreation.

Most Gaylord Golf Mecca visitors discover there's more to the Gaylord area than just our award-winning courses. We hope you will come for the golf but return for many, many reasons.

20 Spectacular Courses Sculpted Among Michigan's Northern Forests

Local Weather

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Gaylord, MI

Gaylord Golf Mecca

A Division of the Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau

  • 319 West Main Street, Gaylord, MI 49735