Keith Gornick, owner of the Otsego Club, has walked, hiked and hunted the massive land holdings of the club since he was a kid. The treasures he found in the Sturgeon River Valley as a youth will now be enjoyed by others, since he opened it up to build the newest Otsego course, The Tribute.
The Tribute will join the other Otsego courses, The Classic, by Bill Diddle; The Loon, by Mike Husby; and the Lake course by Jerry Matthews. Gornick chose the designing team of Rick Robbins and Gary Koch to work with him and share his vision of the type of course he wanted. Gornick made it known that he is but a custodian of the land and that he wanted any changes under his tenure to be positive in nature and thoughtful in their execution. These were the marching orders for Robbins and Koch, ones they were more than happy to carry out. Seldom do architects get such a wonderful piece of ground on which to ply their craft.
Robbins has designed Millcreek GC in Mebane, NC; Kedaton GC in Tangerrang, Indonesia; Palm Garden GC in Kajang Selangor, Malaysia; Waterways's Edge GC in Worth, Ill.; and Horseshoe Bay farms in Wisconsin. He is a serious golf architect and provided much of the technical background of the team. In addition, he also was the person who created the community land plan that set aside over 100 spectacular home sites in and around the course. Koch, who was a tour regular before he started doing golf commentary for NBC, added shot making knowledge to the layout. Scott Chesley, of Otsego, gave high marks to both architects saying that they came often and stayed on the site for long stretches to make sure that everything was done to their specifications.
The course, scheduled to open August 1, was warmly received by the media on a preview walk through last fall. While the course was still rough in many areas, you could tell that this was going to be a course destined for greatness. Robbins and Koch have blended some of the existing high ground of Otsego's ski hills layout, with the lowlands of Sturgeon Valley. They were also able to weave the course through a number of Sturgeon River tributaries. Golfers will enjoy the elevation of both the third and fourth holes and the serenity of the seventh and eighth that are riverside. The point-to-point course stretches out to 7,002 yards, but has a variety of well placed tees to challenge all golfers.
The Gaylord Golf Mecca now has 23 courses to market to the golfing public. There are the multi-course resorts of Treetops, Otsego, Garland and Wilderness Valley along with the single courses of Michaywe, Marsh Ridge, Gaylord CC, The Natural and Lakes of the North among others.
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