Blogs > DSG's Affordabili-TEES

News-Herald Staff Writer David S. Glasier has been playing golf for over 50 years and writing about it for over 30. Always operating on a tight budget, Glasier is on a lifelong quest to find good courses to play at affordable prices.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"DSG's Affordabili-TEES'' spotlight: Garland Lodge & Resort

4700 North Red Oak Road, Lewiston, Michigan 49756
      Courses, par, yardages: Fountains, 72, 4,617 to 6,760
      Monarch, 72, 4.904 to 7,166
      Reflections, 72, 4,713 to 6,373
      Swampfire, 72, 4,791 to 6,854
      Stay-and-play packages: Ranging from $117 to $277 (per person, double occupancy, weekdays).
      Phone: 989-786-2211
      The "Pure Michigan'' media golf trip ended on a decidedly upbeat note with a two-night stay at Garland Lodge and Resort.
      With four championship-caliber courses, a range of lodging choices, natural beauty and welcoming atmosphere, it's no wonder that Garland has a large, loyal following among golfers and vacationers in Michigan and nearby states.
      Upon entering the grounds, your eyes settle on the main lodge, billed as the largest wood-log structure east of the Mississippi River. If you are staying in the main lodge or South Wing, as our group did, you are within east walking distance of the dining areas, pro shop, staging area for golf carts, practice range and putting green.
      The grounds lend themselves to exploration, carrying guests on paths to the outdoor pool and hot tub as well as gardens and fountains.
      DSG went 36 holes at Garland on a toasty-warm day last week, playing the Swampfire and Fountains courses. Both were challenging and pleasing to the eyes. The greens were slick and contoured.
      At various points of the day, I had the pleasure of sharing a cart with Director of Guest Services Susan Miesch and Director of Sales Johna Hewes. Both ladies are terrific golfers and effective spokeswomen for Garland, which has a year-round slate of activities.
      It's about a six-hour drive from Northeast Ohio to Garland. There will be more details about Garland's golf and other attractions in a feature story that will run in the Travel section of The News-Herald on Sunday, Aug. 14.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"DSG's Affordabili-TEES'' spotlight: Forest Dunes Golf Club

      Course: Forest Dunes Golf Club
      Where: 6376 Forest
Dunes Dr., Roscommon, MI 48653
      Par, yardages: 72; 5,032 to 7,141 (four sets of tees)
      Stay-and-play packages: $269 (per person, per night); Monday and Tuesday, $319 special, 2 nights lodging, unlimited golf, four persons.
      Phone: 866-386-3764
      It's always best to go easy on the superlatives.
      Otherwise, you cheapen the impact when they are justified.
      I'm perfectly comforable throwing around superlatives when it comes to Forest Dunes Golf Club.
      Designed by Tom Weiskopf and open since 2000, Forest Dunes is a great golf course. Tree-lined on the front nine and links-y on the inward nine, it's a feast for the eyes and a stern but fair test of your game.
      Yes, it's off the beaten track in upstate Michigan, about 2 1/2 hours north of Detroit and six hours from Northeast Ohio.
      Is it worth the long-ish ride to pit your game against Weiskopf's design? In my opinion, heck yes.
      The price of stay-and-play packages at Forest Dunes puts those packages at the outside edge of the "Affordabili-TEES'' envelope. But there is real value in them, from the super-sharp houses on site where stay-and-players stay to a truly special golf course.
      I'll share more thoughts about Forest Dunes in a story that will run on Aug. 14 in the Travel section of The News-Herald.

Friday, July 22, 2011

DSG's Affordabili-TEES spotlight: Lakewood Shores Resort

DSG's Affordabili-TEES spotlight: Lakewood Shores Resort
7751 Cedar Lake Rd., Oscoda, Michigan 48750
      Courses: The Gailes, par 72, 5,246 yards to 6,954 yards.
      Blackshire, par 72, 4,936 yards to 6,898 yards
      Serradella, 5,295 yards to 6,806 yards   
      Wee Links, par-3 course, 18 holes, holes 50 to 105 yards.
      Stay-and-play packages: $203 (per person, 2 nights) to $401 (per person, 4 nights)
      Phone: 989-739-2073; 1-800-883-2493
      Websites:, Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau
      In this hyper-connected world, it does a body good to “go off the grid’’ every now and then.
      Go off the grid to play good golf courses at great prices, and in short order, it won’t bother you a bit that your cell phone is silent.
      That’s how I felt after spending two days at Lakewood Shores Resort in upstate Michigan on what’s called the “Sunrise Coast.’’
      This low-key resort on the west shore of Lake Huron features three 18-hole courses, a really cool par-3 course, comfortable lodging, good food and outstanding hospitality.
      It’s a 375-mile drive from the center of Lake County to the driveway at Lakewood Shores. Quite by design, the place isn’t posh. I was told it’s a favorite destination of middle-class vacationers from Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Grand Rapids and other downstate urban areas.
      And it isn’t just affordable golf that brings folks up to Oscoda-AuSable River area. Dotting the west shore of Lake Huron on the drive up Route 23 are individual cottages and cottage communities that are the epitome of “cozy.’’
      The three courses at Lakewood are as different as they are challenging. Gailes is a links course with a seaside feel. Blackshire blends a traditional tree-lined layout with large sand and waste areas. Serradella is relatively open with less trouble than its two sister courses but extremely challenging greens. Wee Links is behind the 72-unit main lodge.
      Lakewood Shores will appeal to golfers who love a bargain and don’t mind a long drive through open country. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the place at first, but the more I was there, the more I liked it and the more I appreciated being off the grid.
      If you like to mix fishing and other outdoor, water-related activities, check out the Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau website. Renting one of those lakefront cottages for a week would be intriguing.
      There wlll be more about Lakewood Shores, its courses, its interesting history and out-in-the-country ambience in an upcoming Travel feature story in The News-Herald. The scheduled run date is Aug. 14.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

DSG's Affordabili-TEES spotlight: Upstate Michigan trip

                     Courses: Lakewood Shores, Oscoda, MI; Forest Dunes, Roscommon, MI; Garland, Lewiston, MI
      The weather was hot and the golf courses first-rate as DSG participated in a media travel trip to upstate Michigan. We started out at the Gailes and Blackshire courses at Lakewood Shores Resort. From there, it was on to Roscommon and Forest Dunes Golf Club, a Tom Weiskopf design. The trip ended at Garland Resort & Spa, where we played two of its four courses.
      In days to come, we'll do detailed blogs on each location. Also, there will be an overall feature piece running on The News-Herald's Travel page on Aug. 14.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DSG's Affordabili-TEES spotlight: Hershey Golf Collection

Courses: Hershey Country Club East and West, Hershey Links, Spring Creek (9 holes)
1000 East Derry Road, Hershey, Pa., 17033

      Par, yardages: East, 72, 5,645 to 7,115; West, 73, 5,276 to 6,860; Links, 72, 5,335 to 7,009; Spring Creek, 1,701 to 2,125
      Greens fees: See story for information on stay-and-play packages
      Phone: 1-717-533-2360; 1-800-437-7439
      A couple of months ago, I was invited to Hershey, Pa., aka "The Sweetest Place on Earth,'' to play the Hershey Country Club East Course as part of a media preview for the PGA Professional National Championship.
      It was my first visit to Hershey, home of the internationally famous chocolate company, but it will not be the last.
      I made the trip with good friend George Sweda, the retired golf writer from the Plain Dealer. George, a Concord Township resident, is a member of several golf Halls of Fame. George may not know everybody in the golf world, but there aren't many places in the continental U.S. where George doesn't know someone.
      With the media event in Hershey as a "tent pole,'' we turned the trip into a four-day tour of the Hershey-Harrisburg-Lancaster area. Gettysburg and its many historical attractions are in the same area, but we didn't have time to visit there.  We will next time, I assure you.
      It's an easy drive from Northeast Ohio to Hershey-Harrisburg-Lancaster. Depending on your desired pace and how many times you elect to stop, it will take about six to seven hours to complete the drive through some pretty Pennsylvania countryside.
      The Hershey Golf Collection is part of the Hershey tourist nexus that also features the Hersheypark amusement park, Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge.
      Although the walk-on greens fees at the Hershey Golf Collection's three 18-hole courses are on the high side, there are stay-and-play packages that bring the cost into the realm of affordable. Go to and check out the packages.
      A golf vacation here is definitely a splurge, but the place has so much to offer it's worth the expense.

DSG's Affordabili-TEES spotlight: Painesville Country Club

Course: Painesville Country Club
84 Golf Dr., Painesville, OH 44077

      Par, yardages: 71, 4,586 (bronze tees); 5,155 (silver); 5,915 (gold); 6,267 (black)
      Greens fees: $15.75 (nine holes, walking) to $40.75 (18 holes, cart); senior rates and specials available.
      Phone: 440-354-3469
      DSG is a simple man with simple wishes.
      Sometime before I pass from this earthly orb, I want to knock a tee shot onto the green at the par-3, 203-yard 3rd hole at Painesville Country Club.
      Sticking to that timetable, I'm also bound and determined to solve the riddle of the par-4, 402-yard 13th hole.
      These are two of many difficult holes at the venerable layout in Painesville Township, overseen for three generations by the Alden family.
      Since I'm partial to family businesses and to Painesville CC, I'll keep going back to Painesville Country Club until I get it right on both of the aforementioned holes in the same round. As I'm now 59 years old, I figure I've got some time.
      There are many holes at Painesville CC that challenge my modest skills and equilibrium. Comfort is taken in the knowledge I have plenty of company in that regard.
      Painesville CC begins and ends with long, tough holes - the par-5 521-yard 1st hole and the par-5, 499-yard 18th hole. In between, there are challenging par-4s and par-3s, some diabolical holes (see above, Nos. 3 and 13) and some funky holes, the par-4, 251-yard, hard-left-turn 16th being the funkiest.
      The new 10th hole - par-4, 317 yards - is a decided upgrade on the old 10th. I played it for the first time last week, made a par and am anxious for a return engagement.
      My final aside about Painesville CC is a rave for the snack bar's hot dogs and to the old-fashioned split buns into which they nestle.
      Does the hot dog make the bun or does the bun make the hot dog at Painesville CC? I'll split the difference, pun intended, and pronounce it this union the perfect marriage of both. 


DSG's Affordabili-TEES spotlight: Hemlock Springs

Course: Hemlock Springs Golf Club
Where: 4654 Cold Springs Rd., Harpersfield Twp., OH 44041
Par, yardages: 72, 5,381 (red tees); 5,990 (white); 6,520 (blue); 6,812 (gold)
Greens fees: Weekdays, $20 (18 holes, cart); $30 weekends
Phone: 1-800-436-5625
As solid values go in local golf courses, they don't come any more solid than a $20 weekday round at Hemlock Springs. We're talking a whole lot of golf for not much green.
Owner and general manager Greg Maruna formerly charged more for a round at the challenging, eye-pleasing track in Harpersfield Township. I know from recent conversations with Greg he wishes he could charge more. But in this economy, you set your greens fees at what the market bears or your tee box turns into a ghost town.
Geography has something to do with the ultra-reasonable. It's a bit of a poke to Hemlock Springs.
The same as all good public course owners, Maruna is a keen observer of the license lates on the vehicles in his parking lot. He'll give you a detailed breakdown of his customers, many of whom are from Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties. Ashtabula County golfers have long been loyal to Hemlock Springs.
From the east, Maruna draws customers from the Conneaut and Erie, Pa. areas.
No matter their points of origin, Hemlock Springs patrons all appreciate the challenges, top-notch conditions and scenic beauty of the course. Friendliness is a big selling point, too.
As far as I'm concerned, there isn't an "easy'' hole at Hemlock Springs. Every hole places a premium on some phase of the game. The putting surfaces are fast enough and fair.
On any fair-minded list of the 18 toughest holes on public courses in Northeast Ohio, Hemlock's par-3, 186-yard 11th hole must be included.
It's been 35 or so years since I first visited Hemlock Springs with my late father and some of his friends. I've posted some bad scores there and some good ones.
Given the quality of this course and my fondness for it, the good scores always feel great.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Affordabili-TEES'' pro Bryan Huff: Better long iron & hybrid play

Envision this situation.
      You're on a long par-4, 415 yards, having just driven the ball 230 yards into the fairway.
Facing a 185-yard approach, do you go with a hybrid, 3-iron or 4-iron?
      Are you as confident over this shot as you would be with a wedge from 100 yards?
      Shots with long irons and hybrids are among the most challenging in the bag.
      Executed correctly, they look great in the air and give you a chance to make par on the toughest holes.
      Misfire, and the ramifications smack you in the face on the next shot and the one after that.
      In this three-part lesson, "Affordabili-TEES'' pro Bryan Huff breaks down the fundamentals of long iron and hybrid play.
      These videos were shot at StoneWater Golf Club in Highland Heights, where Bryan is an instructor at Jimmy Hanlin Golf School.
      To book a lesson with Bryan, call 440-382-5305. His rates are $40 for 30 minutes, $75 for one hour and $200 for three hours. He also offers a special rate for younger players, ages 23 and under