Otsego Club & Resort

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The Otsego Club & Resort
Location Gaylord, Michigan
Nearest City Traverse City, Michigan
Coordinates 45°01′40″N 84°39′19″W / 45.0277°N 84.6554°W / 45.0277; -84.6554Coordinates: 45°01′40″N 84°39′19″W / 45.0277°N 84.6554°W / 45.0277; -84.6554
The Classic
Designed by William H. Diddel
Par 72
Length 6,347 feet
Course Rating Back 69.8
Middle 69
Forward 71.5
Slope Rating Back 121
Middle 119
Forward 113
The Tribute
Designed by Robbins/Koch
Par 72
Length 7,347 feet
Course Rating Championship 74.1
Back 71.9
Middle 70.0
Forward 60.0
Slope Rating Championship 134
Back 130
Middle 125
Forward 115
Top Elevation 1430 feet
Base Elevation 1049 feet at lowest chairlift, 1360 feet at Main Lodge (ski area is a valley)
Skiable Area 11,000
Longest Run 360 feet
Lifts 5, 1 High Speed Quad
Terrain Nordic and Alpine Trails
Average Snow 155.7 inches (2012–13)
Snowmaking Yes
Lessons Available Yes (private and youth group)

The Otsego Club & Resort is a year round golf and private ski resort in Gaylord, Michigan, right off of I-75.

Opened in 1939, the Otsego Club was the brain child of steel mogul Donald McLouth. McLouth hired society architect Hugh Keyes (who had designed McLouth's mansion in the suburbs of Detroit) to build a ski lodge in the Swiss Chalet style. Otsego (formerly known as Hidden Valley) is America's oldest private ski club. Its facility consists of 31 slopes, 5 chair lifts, a high speed quad, and both alpine and Nordic ski trails.[1]

The Otsego Club offers a golf experience consisting of two uniquely-challenging PGA championship courses - The Classic, and The Tribute, designed by Rick Robbins and PGA Tour Professional, Gary Koch. Each course offers scenic beauty in the form of woodlands, water and wildlife.[2]


Built in 1939 by Detroit-area steel magnate Donald McLouth (of McLouth Steel)[3] as a Tyrolian-style ski resort for Detroit industrialists (including the families of Henry Ford, William Durant, Walter Briggs, C. Thorne Murphy, Alvan Macauley, David Wallace, Gordon Saunders, and Lang Hubbard[4]), Hidden Valley Resort was the first private ski club in North America.[5] Keyes incorporated bow-fronted, symmetrical Palladian wings into the design of his “Hansel-and-Gretel-look lodge.” The log lodge inspired an alpine theme throughout the nearby village of Gaylord.

Alan L. Gornick, a former general counsel for Ford Motor Co., bought Otsego Club in 1955 from the estate of steel magnate, Donald McLouth. Alan turned the Otsego Club into a year round resort by building the "Classic" golf course, a William H. Diddle designed championship track.

In 1981, Keith H. Gornick purchased the property from his father. Under the Gornicks, Otsego Club grew from 60 rooms on 500 acres to 105 rooms on 4,000 acres.

In 1991, the stylish Pontresina Restaurant, which affords diners a wonderful view of the Sturgeon River Valley, opened to much acclaim. The Pontresina is open to the public and has recently received the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, one of the only eight restaurants in Michigan to receive it.

The Otsego Club's increased its presence in the golf industry by adding the "The Tribute", designed by Rick Robbins and PGA Tour Veteran, Gary Koch. This is a breathtaking golf experience spanning 1,100 acres of the Sturgeon River Valley and was recently named a Top 10 Best New Course by Sports Illustrated, a Michigan Top Ten Golf Course by Michigan Golf Magazine, and is a featured course on Microsoft's Links 2003 Video Game.

In 2006, Osprey Recreation Property of Osprey SA Ltd. bought The Otsego Club & Resort and owned it until 2012.

In November 2012, the Otsego Club was purchased by Mission Point Management, LLC – a group of current & long time Otsego Club Members. Mission Point’s goal is to maintain the integrity of the Club while bringing the amenities & hospitality to a whole new level.[6]

Golf courses, scorecards and maps[edit]

The Otsego Club & Resort features two courses, The Classic and The Tribute.

The Classic was designed by perhaps the country's finest golf course architect of his time, William H. Diddel, and became the founding course of the Gaylord Golf Mecca. The traditional, "Country Club" design of The Classic provides a no gimmicks honest approach to the game.

The Classic is a favorite among golf course traditionalists, the golf course sits in a beautiful parkland setting overlooking the famed Sturgeon River Valley just one mile from downtown Gaylord. The Classic provides much needed relief from some of the long and demanding golf courses that the make up the Gaylord area.

Though 6348 from the tips, the course offers enough challenges for the most skilled golfers and wide fairways for the beginner. The Classic is a sleeper amidst the big name resort courses in this area. The greens are kept at a very quick pace and are considered by some players the best in Northern Michigan. The signature hole, #18, is a par 4 measuring 310 yards from the back tees — where golfers hit from one ski slope top to another. A glance back from the #18 green offers the same panoramic twenty mile view as seen from the historic main lodge.

The Tribute, recently named the 8th Best Public Golf Course in Michigan by Michigan Golf Magazine, The Otsego Club's newest masterpiece, a Robbins/Koch design, is an 1,100 acre tour of the majestic Sturgeon River Valley. Four to six tee boxes accommodate all levels of play, and the shear magnificence of the elevation changes, natural forestry and the flowing Sturgeon River Valley.

The Tribute is more than 1 signature hole. Every trip in the golf cart from green to the next tee, unveils elevation changes and exciting new golf experiences. Nearly every tee is elevated, with numbers 3, 6, 11, 14, 16 and 18 being the most stunning. From the tees of the 430 – yard par – 4 3rd, players can see the horizon over 30 miles away. The green complexes are spectacular from hole to hole with huge undulating greens. Yardages range from 5085 from the forward tees to 7347 from the tips.[7]

Mountain statistics[edit]

Season dates[edit]

  • December 26-Mid March


  • 2012-2013 155.7 inches
  • 2011-2012 107 inches
  • 2010-2011 127.5 inches [8]

Elevation and acres[edit]

  • 390 feet
  • 11,000 acres

Trails and lifts[edit]

  • 31 Slopes
    • Beginner 25.8%
    • Intermediate 16.1%
    • Advanced 32.25%
    • Terrain Park 9.7%
    • Glade Skiing 16.1%
  • Longest Run 360 feet
  • 6.2 miles Nordic trails
  • 5 Chair Lifts
    • 1 High Speed Quad [1]

Other features and facts[edit]

  • Ski and Snowboard School
  • Highest point in the famed Michigan Snow/Sun Belt
  • In 2010 the Otsego Club built an Olympic size half pipe (22 foot high, 500 feet long) to accommodate a training facility for snowboarders from 12 different countries for the Vancouver Olympics.[9]
  • The headwaters of the Sturgeon River flow through the Otsego Club property. The Sturgeon is a high gradient blue ribbon trout stream that begins in Gaylord and empties into Burt Lake.[10] The River can be seen throughout the club's ski area, and the club's coffee shop, the Headwater's Cafe, is named in its honor.


There are 117 guest rooms and suites on property, including five different lodges, two chalets and suites.

Meetings and events[edit]

There are 12 meeting rooms with a total of 17,000 square feet to accommodate many size groups for meetings, weddings and other events. Audio and visual equipment along with other meeting and event equipment is available for use. [11]

Restaurants and bars[edit]

The Duck Blind Grille- The main dining and bar facility at the Resort serves breakfast, lunch and dinner during the winter ski season and breakfast and dinner in the summer golf season. Patio dining available during the summer.

The River Cabin - Only open during the winter season and for private events, the River Cabin is set on the head waters of the Sturgeon River. In the winter months, there is regular bar & food service with the house specialty being rum & cider, otherwise known as a "Broken Leg".

The Logmark - Located at the top of the Sturgeon River Valley overlooking Otsego Club's ski slopes and the 9th hole of The Classic golf course. The Logmark serves cocktails and a variety of domestic and imported beer a large fireplace, a complimentary pool table and a big screen TV.

The Stubli - Located in the main Lodge. Serves Fondu and traditional Swiss fare. Great for groups.

The Pontresina - Located in the main lodge. The Award winning fine dining and unmatched wine list.


  1. ^ a b "Trail Map". Otsego Club. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  2. ^ "Golf". Otsego Club. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  3. ^ http://www.dbusiness.com/September-October-2009/Peaks-and-Valleys/
  4. ^ Eckert, Kathryn Bishop, ‘’Buildings of Michigan’’. Oxford University Press, New York, 1993. p 440
  5. ^ http://www.dbusiness.com/September-October-2009/Peaks-and-Valleys/
  6. ^ "History". Otsego Club. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  7. ^ "Course Map & Info". Otsego Club. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  8. ^ "Winter Weather Briefing Page". Crh.noaa.gov. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  9. ^ "Olympic Training Hot Spot Has Emerged". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  10. ^ http://www.huronpines.org/projectinfo.asp?pjt=av&aid=24
  11. ^ "Otsego Club & Resort - Gaylord, Michigan Resort | Cvent Supplier Network". Cvent.com. Retrieved 2013-11-29.