Mountain Blog

Brighton’s Emmie Pietila Maintains Lead in Michigan Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain
Brian Lawson - Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Brighton’s Emmie Pietila Maintains Lead in Michigan Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain


THOMPSONVILLE – Emmie Pietila of Brighton had some trouble sleeping after a first-round personal best score, and Mother Nature offered a little rain, steadily increasing winds and decreasing temperatures to make things even tougher for the second round of the 22nd Michigan Women’s Open Championship at Crystal Mountain Resort Tuesday.

Pietila, a University of Tennessee golfer, followed her opening 64 with a 2-over 74 for 138 and remained in the lead by one shot over Sarah Hoffman of Saline through 36 holes of the state championship.

Hoffman, a former Grand Valley State golfer and nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital shot 73 for 139.

Caroline Powers, a former Michigan State star now playing professionally, shot 68 to settle at 141, just three shots off the lead. Her 68 and a 66 by Alliance, Ohio, pro Mary Snode were the only sub-70 rounds on the day.

Kendall Martindale of Jefferson City, who shot 74 with a lost-ball double-bogey 7 on No. 18, was tied with Powers at 141, as was pro Ally McDonald of Fulton, Miss., who shot 72.

Just seven golfers remain under par from the field of 114, which was cut to 70 players at 158. The final 18 holes in the $42,000 championship is Wednesday with the winning pro netting $6,000. Pietila and Hoffman are amateurs, and the tournament has been won just once by an amateur in 21 years (Breanne Hall of Kentwood 2003).

Pietila said she was excited about the opportunity to win the Michigan Open.

“I’ve been in this position before, and I want to be here, this is why I play,” she said. “I didn’t hit the ball as well as I would have liked to today. I didn’t give myself as many birdie opportunities, but the course played longer, there were more back pins it felt like and obviously the weather was cold and windy.”

She said sleeping Monday night didn’t come easy after her 64, a personal best by five shots.

“It was hard to sleep on that, and then have an afternoon tee time,” she said. “I’m ok with it though. The entire course was tougher today.”

Hoffman said she had a tough finish with consecutive bogeys at Nos. 15, 16 and 17, but said it could have been worse.

“I hit a once-in-a-lifetime punch shot from the woods to save a bogey on 15, had a bad lie on 16 just off the fairway and didn’t get up and down and then made a wrong club choice on 17, missed the green and didn’t get up and down,” she said. “What it came down to is I missed 10-footers at 16 and 17 to save par, and I had been making those. It was a tough day, ridiculously cold and windy, just a completely different day today. It was much tougher than yesterday. I didn’t hit the ball as well, but I thought I got the best score out of my round that I could.”

Defending champion Becca Huffer of Littleton, Colo., had a tough back nine to shoot 81 and fall out of contention. Whitehall’s Laura Kueny, a Symetra Tour pro and past champion, shot 75 for 146, eight shots back.

The Michigan PGA Section, which administers the championship, will have a two-tee start off Nos. 1 and 10 Wednesday. The lead group will go off No. 1 at 9:39 a.m. The public is welcome free of charge. For more information visit www.michiganpgagolf.com. For more information about Crystal Mountain visit www.crystalmountain.com.


For live results, click here.

Media contact: Greg Johnson 616 560 8995, greggie24@hotmail.com

How to conquer Father's Day
Abbey Neerken - Thursday, June 18, 2015


If you’re not already planning to treat Dad to a day of fun and adventure this weekend, the Father’s Day deals at Crystal Mountain will help you build an itinerary for a day that won’t soon be forgotten. And, since Father’s Day this year happens to land on Summer Solstice, one with more daylight than any all year, we’ve prepared an extensive list of discounts and activities to fill the day!

First thing’s first.

Stop by the Peak Fitness Center with dad and get a 10-punch punch card for $64, regularly $96. This card can be used toward access to the Peak Fitness Center, select fitness classes and select activities from Park at Water's Edge.

Visit the Alpine Slide or bike rental for more fun. On Father’s Day, dads receive free entrance into the Pool, a free Alpine Slide Pass, or free Bike Rental with the purchase of a child pass or rental.  

Dads deserve to golf on Father’s Day.

Before you are seen on the course or at the range, revamp Dad’s style at the Kinlochen Pro Shop. Father’s Day sales are available all day in the pro shop and include:
  • Bermuda Sands clothing: buy one at regular price, get one of equal or lesser value  50% off
  • 50% off all golf bags
  • 50% off TaylorMade and Cobra golf clubs
  • 20% off Suncloud sunglasses
  • Challenge Dad to a drive, chip and putt competition! Dads on Father's Day get buy one get one buckets of driving range balls for double the fun!

    After you get warmed up at the range, get out on the course. Father's Day only, dads can golf Mountain Ridge for $45 (including cart) and Bestie Valley $35 (including cart). Reserve your tee time while they last!

    Who can actually do more pushups, you or your dad?

    After you school him on the basketball court, lap him in the pool and out-speed him on the mountain bike trails, bring Dad back to the Peak Fitness Center. Help your old man get in shape with a 10-session Personal Training Package at for $299, regularly $329. Sessions are valid for one year from the date of purchase, so next year he can beat you at your own game!

    You and Dad can relax on Father’s day at the spa.

    Maybe you’ve been a little too hard on Dad, after all he does do so much for you or whatever your store bought card said. This Father's Day spa special, designed just for men, is great to get dad relaxing after a workout on the links, a day of mountain biking, or screaming down the Alpine Slide. Valid June 1-30, the Mountain Man Package begins with a 25-minute Recharge massage, followed by our 50-minute Mountain Man Pedicure and includes a craft beer or glass of wine. A total of approximately 75 minutes, only $99 (regularly $109); Advance reservations required and subject to availability so make an appointment ahead of time or for another valid day. Visit Spa Specials for all the details.

    Take care of dinner; treat Dad to the Thistle Pub & Grille.

    It’s important to have a hearty meal after all that fun. The Thistle Father's Day Special includes a pint of on-tap microbrew beer & the Thistle burger for just $14

    Don’t hold back on your Father’s Day!

    Special offers only available Sunday, June 21, 2015 unless specifically stated otherwise. Get updates and more information on the Father’s Day event page.

    Get Back into the Swing of Things
    Abbey Neerken - Friday, April 10, 2015


    Crystal Mountain Driving Range - April 10, 2015

    It’s time to dust off those clubs and get to the golf course, or at least the range! After all, the range has been open since Wednesday with the Betsie Valley to open Saturday (April 11) and the Mountain Ridge likely to follow in the next week or so. The Masters is on television and the forecast is calling for temps in the 60s and sun this weekend. If you don’t feel it already, you’ll be getting that “itch” to get on the course. Tee off the season right by doing these five things before your first round:

    1. Ease into it 

    Use it or lose it, remember that? When you stop doing a sport for a while, like all winter, you lose muscle memory. Don’t worry; it happens to everybody so ease back into it by getting the feel of your swing again. Start by swinging without a club, then get to the range. “Start with high lofting clubs and work your way to low lofting clubs,” says, Ed Laprade, director of golf instruction at Crystal Mountain.  Start small by chipping or putting and work your way up to the driver. You don’t want to kick off the season by shanking one on the first tee!

    2. For the sake of your back, Please Stretch

    Throwing your back out is not going to help your game. You don’t have to spend an hour at yoga before hitting the course or range, but you’ll want to warm up those muscles you haven’t used in a while. “Even beginning a simple workout regime to get those muscles working again can make a world of difference,” says Crystal Mountain Director of Golf, Brad Dean. His workout routine recently changed for golf season, and although he is sore now, Brad agrees that it is better than feeling sore during the peak of the golf season.

    3. Get Real

    Remember, it’s been an ice box for nearly five months so make sure your expectations of the course, the game, and especially yourself are realistic. “You cannot expect to play a mid-season game right out of the blocks,” says Laprade.  Don’t get frustrated just be happy, you’re playing golf again! 

    4. Seek Help from a Professional

    Bragging rights will be on the line soon enough, so get a few strokes up on your buddies by taking a lesson. Crystal Mountain Golf School has made Golf Magazine’s Top 25 in America twice. Crystal’s instructors have worked with every type of player from those who’ve played in The Masters and US Open to countless who have never even picked up a club. A pro can identify and fix that hitch in your swing or short-game. And if it’s you’re club’s fault (even though a good carpenter never blames the tools), they can help get you a custom fit. 

    5. Spring Cleaning

    Once you’ve exhumed your clubs from the basement or garage (try not to inhale too much dust), first make sure they’re all accounted for and get last year’s dirt and grass out of every groove and give them a nice shine. Go out get the necessities: a couple dozen balls, tees, new towel and while you’re at it, a new pair of shoes – you’ve earned it.

    Congratulations! You are mentally and physically ready for five-and-a-half glorious months on the fairways and greens. See you on the first tee!

    Crystal Mountain Driving Range - April 10, 2015

    Anika Dy looks to drive, chip and putt to a title at Augusta National
    Brian Lawson - Friday, April 03, 2015


    While teaching a junior clinic at a golf show in Novi five years ago, Scott Wilson, Crystal Mountain’s Director of Player Development, met eight year old Anika Dy.


    “I asked her when she started playing golf and she said, ‘When I was six,’” says Wilson. “I asked if she’d played any tournaments and she said yes. I asked how she did in those tournaments and she answered, ‘I won them.’”


    This weekend the now 13-year-old Anika will be looking for another victory on one of golf’s most historic stages, Augusta National. By just about anyone’s standards you could already chalk this one up in the win column. She is one of just 10 girls in her age division and 40 from across the nation who will be competing in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals to be held on Sunday at the home of The Master’s. Two drives, two chips and two putts (from three different distances) means you have to make each swing count.


    “Anika had to compete against kids from Michigan, Ohio and western Pennsylvania to get here,” adds Wilson. “But if you spend just a few minutes with her it’s easy to see how she takes everything in stride and excels in these situations.”


    Anika and her family moved to northern Michigan in 2011 because they liked the lifestyle and not just to participate in Crystal’s Junior Elite program but to enjoy all four seasons - she’s also an avid snowboarder. Like any kid should, she’s tried any number of sports but her heart always brings her back to golf which is her main focus. And focused is precisely what she and Coach Wilson will be over the next two days.


    The two will spend time practicing this afternoon at the Capital City Club just north of Atlanta. Tomorrow there will be another practice session at a club in Augusta before the main event on Sunday at Augusta National. The competition begins Sunday, April 5 at 9am and you can watch live at http://www.golfchannel.com/liveextra/.


    Good luck Anika!


    The Trunkslammer's Warm-up
    Brian Lawson - Monday, August 11, 2014


    The Trunkslammer's Warm-up

    Every golfer is guilty of it at least once - if not a habitual offender. You roll into the parking lot minutes before the round begins. Throw on your shoes. Grab your clubs and slam the trunk before rushing straight to the first tee. It's anybody's guess what happens next.

    You might just fire one right down the middle of the fairway but let's be realistic, a duck hook, slice into the woods or tweaked back is probably a more likely outcome. Director of Crystal Mountain Golf School, Scott Wilson sees it all the time.

    "We all oversleep at one time or another. We're all busy at work or busy with the family. Even if you only have 10 minutes before your round there are few quick things you can do to ease into that first hole to prevent damage to your body and your scorecard."


    1. Spend at least half of that 10 minutes just loosening up the core muscles that are key to the golf swing. Do a few side bends, twists and bend at the waist touching the ground to stretch out your back and hamstrings.


    2. Take the heaviest iron out of your bag and swing it back and forth like a pendulum. Easy at first and then into a full swing. This will continue to loosen up the muscles and get you into the rhythm of swinging the club.


    3. Spend a few minutes on the putting green to get a feel for the speed. Begin with The Ladder Drill (pictured above), rolling a putt across the green trying to leave the next putt five feet short of the previous and the next five feet short of that ball. Next, move to The Stair Drill (pictured below) dropping balls at three, four and five feet in a straight line from the hole and putting each into the cup. It not only helps with speed but can build a little confidence as well.


    4. Leave the Big Dog in the bag on the first hole. It requires intense discipline but you're probably better off passing up the driver for a hybrid or 5-wood. Aim small, miss small. Once you've played a couple of holes and get into the groove, feel free to let the Big Dog eat.


    This warm-up will work in a pinch but it's far from ideal. Scott recommends trying to arrive at the course an hour before your round. He'll help share how to best manage that hour of practice in an upcoming post on the Mountain Blog. Stay tuned.

    Scott Wilson is the Director of Crystal Mountain Golf School with over 20 years experience as a PGA Instructor. He is a mainstay on Golf Digest's list of Top Teachers in Michigan and is a past recipient of the Michigan PGA's President's Plaque, awarded to those who have significantly contributed to growth of the game. 

    A Cut Above: How Crystal's greens are rolling smoother than ever
    Brian Lawson - Wednesday, July 09, 2014


    Rolling greens on Mountain Ridge with Crystal Mountain's new Tru-Turf Roller

    "I want them to look like billiard tables and roll that way too."

    Jason Farah knows that a golf course is first judged by its greens. So that's precisely where he started this spring when he took over as Crystal Mountain's Golf Course Superintendent. He brings with him almost 25 years of experience that includes work as an assistant superintendent (North Course) helping to prepare for the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills Country Club.

    "Maintaining a high-end golf course is all about doing the same thing over and over again," says Farah. "It can be a little monotonous but the crews understand it, embrace it and response has been great this summer."


    Golf Course Superintendent Jason Farah (left) works with Crystal Golf employee John McElduff

    "The attitude has changed right along with the course conditions," says John McElduff, pictured above operating the resort's new Tru-Turf Greens Roller, the same used at PGA Tour stops.

    Every morning at 6am crews take to the Mountain Ridge and Betsie Valley courses to manicure the greens. First they mow. Next they clear the clippings. They roll them weekly and this consistent, intricate approach to each of Crystal's 36 championship holes has created the consistency on the greens.

    "The greens are rolling really well so if you put a good putt on it, it's going to go in." Those were the words of Michigan PGA Women's Open Champion, Becca Huffer after shooting a second round 64 on the Mountain Ridge. It would have been the course record had Kimberly Dingh (runner-up and top amateur) not already shattered that score with a 10-under par the day before.

    The staff in the pro shop have heard the accolades as well, from players of every level. Of course, a quick look around and it's not hard to notice the consistent quality has spread into the fairways, rough and tee boxes. The new wooden flagsticks, tee markers and signs certainly provide a nice accent to the canvas Farah and his crew seek to perfect with each new day.

    "I love what I do and I feel like the crews out there working on the courses share that enthusiasm and take a tremendous amount of pride in their work."

    And it's reflected in each stroke of the putter and smooth journey to the cup.