Is it possible for a 9-hole par 3 course to be a resort’s signature course? When the par 3 course is as much fun as Threetops, it just might be.
Though I’m sure the folks at Treetops Resort are much more likely to hang their hat on their Robert Trent Jones Masterpiece Course, few who have played it would argue that Threetops isn’t the most fun they’ve had on a golf course and possibly the most memorable of Treetops many tracks.
Threetops is located at Treetops North, just a short drive from the main resort. There, it shares a large multi-tiered driving range and numerous putting greens with the Premier, Signature, and Tradition Courses. The real highlight of the practice area is the Putting Course, pictured above. It’s a great way to test your skills before you play or settle those last couple skins.
Amenities & Customer Service
Throughout Treetops, the customer service is excellent. It is always easy to find a resort employee, and they’re helpful without being smothering.
I’ll get into the amenities of the entire resort in an upcoming feature, but the course itself has ample “extras” without taking the focus off the golf. The clubhouse is well stocked with soft goods, and it has a handful of clubs in case you need an emergency replacement or upgrade. It’s also worth mentioning that the staff does an outstanding job keeping the pace of play brisk. I teed off around 1PM and was able to play quickly and without interruption.
Keeping a par 3 course in top condition may be the most difficult thing in golf. Everyone is taking divots out of the tee boxes and most people are hitting at least a couple greens. Threetops Superintendent is up to the challenge, however – the course was in excellent shape when I played. Even though I teed off in the afternoon, I didn’t have to search for a decent area to hit from. The greens were all smooth and quick, and, more impressively, they looked uniformly green instead of being covered in brown spots from ball marks. While I didn’t find myself in too many bunkers, the couple I played from were very well kept.
Beauty & Scenery
The beauty and scenery of Threetops is one of the primary reasons that it’s rated the #1 Par 3 Course in America. It’s wrapped in northern Michigan forest with loads of elevation. You will not find a prettier par 3, and there aren’t too many full length courses in its class either.
Course Design & Difficulty
With only one hole topping 169 yards (Devil’s Drop – 219 on the card but it plays like 160-170), the aim of Threetops is not to destroy your handicap but rather to give you a fun, memorable time on the course. That’s not to say the course is without challenge, the difficulty just doesn’t come from length.
The greens are all medium to small with an average depth of about 25 yards. The real challenge on this course is correctly judging the elevation and picking the right club. Three holes feature extreme drops – #3 (Devil’s Drop), #6 (High Five), and #7 (Hang Time) – and they’ll require anywhere from two to four fewer clubs than you’d expect for the yardage. This can be a little frustrating if you take too much club, but seeing your ball in air for days tends to erase the aggravation.
Despite the fact that so many of the holes have similar yardages, the variety of elevations, hazards, and shapes keeps the course from feeling repetitive. Every hole has the potential to throw a big number on your card, but it’s equally likely that you’ll hit a great shot and make birdie. Especially with three distinct sets of tees, Threetops is a fun, challenging course for golfers of all abilities.
The top rate for the Threetops Course at Treetops is around $45. While you could say that’s a little high for a par 3 course, Threetops is simply too good to skip. Especially if you’re taking a trip with friends, Threetops is a must play. The memories will be worth it.
As with any resort, the best deals can be had with stay and play packages. Treetops also offers heavily discounted replay rates.
If you go to Treetops, you simply need to play Threetops at least once. When I go back, I’m planning to play it every afternoon. Threetops is exceptionally fun and very beautiful. The three tee shots from extreme elevation will stay in your mind for a long time, but bring your camera anyway.
Below, you can check out a video of the course shot with our GoPro camera.