Treetops Resort Set the Standard for Michigan Golf Resorts

Treetops early days provide an interesting story in how northern Michigan came to be recognized as the golfing mecca it has become.

It began, when Harry Melling, who owned a successful automotive parts manufacturing business in Jackson, Michigan, purchased the property in 1983. He loved northern Michigan, and was looking for a new challenge, when he purchased a dilapidated ski hill, with just a couple of T-Bars located on 179 acres near Gaylord, in the center of the state.

Harry got what he wanted – a challenge. It didn’t take long for him to realize, if he wanted to keep his dream alive, he needed to add summer activities to create additional income for the down months.

Golf crazy Chrysler, GM and Ford auto workers from Detroit and lower Michigan were looking for summer getaways and Northern Michigan had a lot to offer. With Treetops located on I-75, it made the perfect stopover for travelers heading farther north to Mackinac Island, the Bridge or even the Upper Peninsula.

Because other nearby resort owners wanted to extend their season and fill empty rooms during the beautiful Michigan summer months, golf courses sprang up in Traverse City, Boyne Mountain and Shanty Creek.

Melling immediately realized the potential income a golf course could provide and contracted Robert Trent Jones Sr. to build the first course at Treetops, The Masterpiece.

This story also has a Toledo connection. Melling understood the need for a competent golf professional for the resort and hired a little-known, 23-year-old teaching professional from Perrysburg, Ohio, Rick Smith.

Smith is now an annual fixture on Golf Digest’s Top-50 Golf Teachers List and has been the “swing guru” for Phil Mickelson, Lee Janzen, Rocco Mediate, David Duval, as well as, both Jack and Gary Nicklaus. Back then no one knew the brash young professional, but he helped Melling develop Treetops into one of the premier golf destinations in the Midwest.

A second course, designed by Tom Fazio, the Premier, opened for play in 1992, along with the popular par-3 course, Threetops. Smith proposed adding a par-3 course to Melling, after returning from a trip to the Masters in 1990. Melling gave the project his blessing and today, Threetops is a must-play course at the resort, recognized as one of the best short courses in the country.

ESPN filmed the par-3 “Shootout” at Treetops. In 2001, Lee Trevino made a hole-in-one on the 7th 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.

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.

Smith added two more courses to Treetops, the Signature opened for play in 1993 and the Tradition, which opened to the public in 1996, was built for the golfer who appreciated the value of walking a golf course. It was built on the principle of returning golf to a more relaxing attitude and stresses the use of a caddy as golf was played in the beginning.

With four championship golf courses, the par-3 Threetops and the Treetops Teaching Academy, Treetops developed into a year-round resort offering skiing and snow activities for the winter and a complete golf experience during the summer.

Toledo-area golfer, Andrew Brown told us,

Our group always looks forward to a fantastic week of golf, when we make our pilgrimage ‘Up North’ for our buddies’ golf trip each year.”

If you are feeling a little achy from a day on the slopes or the golf course and need some TLC. Treetops added a world-class spa that offers a wide range of Massage Therapies, Body Treatments, Skin Care, Facials, Manicures and Pedicures. All are designed to soothe, pamper, relax, and de-stress your body, mind and spirit. Spa clients may also feel free to enjoy the use of the nautilus fitness room, hot tub, steam room and sauna during their visit.

With the surrounding tree-covered hills and quaint lodges Treetops also offers an excellent setting to plan a romantic wedding. The resort offers assistance and urges future brides to contact them to help them plan their special day.

Treetops has never stopped growing and continues to provide the best resort experience. Northern Michigan has several other resorts, but Treetops is the “Most Spectacular” of all.

In addition to the outstanding skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, Treetops offers 81 holes of golf, a world-renowned par-3 course, world-class instruction, as well as, provides the perfect setting for fairytale weddings, family reunions, or your next corporate meeting.

Roundup your favorite foursome or family members and book a getaway to a resort that is perfect for any season and offers something for everyone in your group.

For more information and to book your stay at Treetops, call 866-348-5249 or visit:

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