As the fall color season begins to turn northern Michigan into a leafy wonderland, Michelle Norton notes the state’s weather extremes have created conditions for a prolonged explosion of reds, oranges and yellows.
The September warmth being felt across the state is coming at a perfect time for golfers, according to Norton, the director of sales and marketing at the Otsego Resort in Gaylord.
“The stage is set for an incredible blast of color and we’re getting a lot of interest in people trying to squeeze in as much golf as they can,” said Norton.
It also helps that the resort, with two championship level courses in The Tribute and The Classic, has teed up great deals to tee off with two packages that place players on the courses with amazing views over a 20-mile swath of the Sturgeon River Valley. The Tribute winds through the woods and water while The Classic’s wide fairways are as forgiving as the tree-lined courses are beautiful.
“The courses really showcase the valley and all of its beauty,” Norton said.
Otsego Resort leaders have crafted these two offers:
- Play the Rick Robbins-designed Tribute any day from Sept. 15 to the end of the golf season for $55, and then replay it for $30 on the same day.
- Travel to the resort for The Classic, designed by William H. Diddel, and get a room, an 18-hole round in after 2 p.m. on the day of your arrival and then unlimited play on your departure day for $89, based on double occupancy.
The Tribute deal allows golfers to get in two rounds for the price of one, and The Classic offer costs significantly less than the regular rate for a night in the summer season, Norton said. She also noted that weekday rounds allow for a faster pace of play and give lodging package golfers the ability to maximize the unlimited play.
“We want people to experience some of the best golf in the state under the best circumstances,” she said. “Fall golf gives you better temperatures, you can still play into the evening and it’s an opportunity to focus on your game.”
Lights are coming to Otsego Resort’s back bowl
While the golf season winds down, Norton revealed exciting news for the winter ski season: Resort owners Gary and Kathie Vollmar are continuing to invest in the property by adding lights to the back slopes.
This winter, which will be only the second year that the resort’s slopes are open to the public after being a private club for 78 years, all 29 runs, three terrain parks and five lifts will operate into the night.
“The lights are a wonderful addition to the property, and it’s going to make for tremendous night skiing,” Norton said. “The excitement is building for people who are ready to ski here again or ski us for the first time. It goes right with the saying that we are the state’s oldest new ski resort.”
The property, which is about 1 mile off I-75 and downtown Gaylord, features a natural topography that created Michigan’s best ski bowl. The features allow the resort to start making snow earlier in the season and then keep it longer into the year.
Norton said the plan is to have a soft opening in mid-December and then go into the full season around the holidays. The staff also plans to see how long they can stretch the season into spring.
“We make a lot of snow, we get a lot of snow and we can move it around,” Norton said. “Just like people try to get all the golf in that they can before snow comes, skiers want to stay on the hills until they can’t. We want to be the spot to go at the start and at the end of the season.
The design of the property and the number of lifts also makes for short lines to get to the top of the hill even during peak skiing times. The lodge and its historic Logmark bar, a great restaurant to grab a drink and a bite to eat, sit above the runs instead of the usual shape where guests stare up at a mountain from the bottom of the slopes.
Norton said that resort leaders have held the skiing rates the same as the 2018 despite others in the region raising their prices.
The resort has also added a third tubing lane due to what Norton called an overwhelming response to the activity that appeals to adults as much as it does to kids. The third run shows a commitment to guests, Norton said.
“We know it’s popular, and we want people to be having fun, not waiting in line,” she said.
“We have a constant focus on what we can do to make a visit here the best possible experience. The Vollmars want this to be a resort that guests will love coming to the same way they love coming here.”