The date was July 30, 2001. It was a Monday and George W. Bush was our President. Americans were listening to Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child and American Pie 2 was being watched by millions in theaters across the country.
In Gaylord Michigan, Golf Legends Paul Azinger, Raymond Floyd, Phil Mickelson and Lee Trevino descended upon Treetops Resort to take part in the 3rd Annual Par 3 Shootout Event which aired in primetime on ESPN. Threetops, a 9 hole par 3 course, was in its 10th year in operation and as per the usual was in tip top condition. Thousands of golfers from all around the world came to play this gem (consistently ranked the #1 Par 3 Course in America), but on this day, play was limited to these 4 greats of the game who have combined to win an impressive 17 major championships.
The competition was a friendly skins game with some twists which was to be played over the course of 2 days. Not only was each hole worth $20,000 for the skin (as long as the player winning the skin tied or won the next hole) but also $10,000 for the golfer who was closest to the pin. All told a purse of $540,000 was up for grabs….but wait there’s more. In addition, each and every hole was insured for $1,000,000 if any of these talented players knocked one in for an ace. In the first two years of the event, there were some close calls but nobody had made a hole in one.
That would change on this day. The event got off to a quick start with Mickelson, Floyd and Azinger cashing in on proxies on holes 1, 2 and 4 respectively with Floyd knocking it stiff to 3 feet on hole 2. Lee Trevino, affectionately known as the “Merry Mex”, got heated up on hole #5 knocking it to 7 feet and making the birdie for the win, then following it up with another CTP on hole 6 to just over 10 feet. However, that was nothing compared to what would follow on the appropriately named 7th hole…”High Five”.
Trevino was 3rd to hit as Azinger and Floyd had both just birdied the 6th. He stepped up to the shot in front of the respectfully hushed crowd surveying his 138 yard shot with a 90 foot tee to green descent. Immediately after striking the shot, he exclaimed, “it’s gotta get down” and he was right. The ball pitched about 3 yards over the green and into the rough but the well struck shot was spinning. After a bounce backwards the ball hit another time in the rough but quickly got back onto the putting surface at which point Lee did a little whistling like you might do when you want your puppy to come back to you. The ball listened to Lee and rolled some 30 feet right back into the hole with a pretty good head of steam left on it. The first and only ace in the history of the Par 3 Shootout at Treetops was just accomplished by one of the greatest ball strikers to ever play the game. For this feat, he earned $10,000 for the obvious closest to the pin, another $80,000 for the skin (he actually followed this shot with a birdie and shot a cool 4 under par 23 on the day) and capped that off with the $1,000,000 for the ace. Showing his true character as a human being, it didn’t take him long to make the call to donate half of those winnings to St. Judes Children’s Hospital.
Fast forward to 20 years later in 2021. Treetops is thrilled to celebrate this amazing accomplishment by celebrating Mr. Trevino and our beautiful golf course, which is still ranked #1 in North America by several publications. On July 29th, 2021, Mr. Trevino will be back to celebrate the 20th Anniversary almost to the exact day of the shot heard round the world. Our boutique event will allow 80 lucky golfers to spend the day with Lee Trevino with the schedule consisting of the following:
- 11am – Sponsor’s Lunch
- 12pm – Golf Clinic conducted by Lee Trevino and fellow World Golf Hall of Famer, Dennis Walters
- 1pm – Shotgun start for 9 holes on Threetops. Trevino will be stationed on the 7th hole hitting a shot with each group that comes through
- 4pm – Fireside Chat with Lee Trevino moderated by the voice of the Spartans and the Pistons, George Blaha
Playing spots have been sold out for quite some time. Currently, there is limited availability for sponsorships which would allow the final 4 to 8 players into the field. In addition, Treetops recently added the opportunity to be a spectator on hole #7 during the golf event. However, this is limited to the first 150 people to sign-up and spots are going fast. Can he do it again? With over 20 shots to this green and the same exact pin location as it was when he knocked it in 20 years ago, it is likely that he might. Go to Treetops.com right away so you don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity or better yet, book your tee time to play the #1 Par 3 Course in North America and walk in the steps of these legends of the game.