In fact, it was Jones who dubbed Melling’s
resort, Treetops. When Trent Jones viewed
the skyline from the sixth tee on the Jones
Masterpiece Course, the only thing visible was
trees as far as the eye could see, thus the name,
Treetops came to be.
Over the years the industry’s best have trekked
to Gaylord to build new courses as demand
skyrocketed. Robert Trent Jones’ son, Rees
Jones, Tom Fazio, Rick Smith, Tom Doak, Gary
Koch, along with his partner, Rick Robbins,
plus Don Childs, Al Watrous, Butch Harmon,
as well as, Michigan’s most prolific designer,
Jerry Matthews, have all designed and built
courses in the area.
The rolling terrain, natural tall pines and sandy
soils made golf in Gaylord a natural.
Over the years many professionals have
ventured to the Gaylord Golf Mecca. In fact,
Golf Channel launched its popular “Big Break”
series here in 2003. The original 10 golfers
competed in various events and after the other
nine competitors were eliminated, Justin Peters
from Florida was crowned the winner.
Because of Rick Smith’s involvement with
Treetops and his coaching relationship
with Phil Mickelson,
ESPN filmed the par-3
“Shootout” at Treetops.
In 2001, Lee Trevino
made a hole-in-one on
hole, during the
event, featuring Trevino,
Mickelson, Paul Azinger
and Raymond Floyd, to earn $1.09 million, the
richest prize ever awarded for a single shot. A
plaque bears the exact location of the Merry
Mex’s famous shot yet today.
The par-3 course, Threetops, was designed by
Rick Smith after visiting the 1990 Masters and
viewing the par-3 course at Augusta National.
It is still a must-play for any golfer visiting the
Gaylord area. The nine-hole course features
endless carries with elevation drops of up to
135 feet from tee to green.
All of this public exposure drew more and
more golf fans to the Gaylord area and the
cooperative marketing efforts of the Gaylord
Golf Mecca began to yield positive results.
One of the original GaylordGolfMeccamembers,
Larry Bowden, former owner of The Natural and
Marsh Ridge (now called The Ridge) said,
NWO Golf Links