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Detroit-area man celebrates the longest golf outing streak in Crystal Mountain history

September 7, 2022

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (Sept. 7, 2022) – What started as a work trip in 1972 has turned into a 50-year family and friends tradition.

Don Clark, 82, was a manager at Michigan Bell when he signed up to play in the company’s Men’s Round-Up golf outing in Harbor Springs. He and three other guys decided they wanted to make the most out of their trip and play a couple other courses. Thanks to a Crystal Mountain brochure in a Detroit brochure rack, Clark discovered golf at Crystal Mountain.

“I thought it was just a ski place,” Clark said. “Golf was only around for a few years when I saw the brochure, so it was a new course we thought we’d check out. Plus, the price to stay was really affordable - and it included breakfast and dinner!”

There are likely only a handful of guests who remember Crystal Mountain in its first stages of life as a four-season resort.

“The check-in desk was inside The Lodge, and it was just that – a desk. The first year we came up, I remember there was a sign that said, ‘Welcome, Clark Golf Group,’ and that’s how we got our name for the event.”

There were four men in the original Clark Golf Group in 1972, but it didn’t take long for the foursome to multiply. Clark says the smallest group they ever had was 18 golfers, and the largest group was up to 32 golfers. This year there are 24, and some of them have been coming since the early years – ’73, ’74 and ‘75.

“Once someone new joins one year, they’re in for the next year, and they invite someone else to come and so on and so forth,” Clark said. “Now, it’s more than just a group of friends, its family, too. My son-in-law and grandson are both part of the group this year. It’s just a good old fashioned guys’ weekend.”

The Clark Golf Group books the three day outing for the same weekend every year – the weekend after Labor Day. Of course this year is no exception, with the first tee time booked for 11:30 a.m. Friday on Mountain Ridge.

While the tradition remains strong, there is one thing that will make this year a little more memorable.

“To celebrate 50 years, we’re kicking things off with a champagne toast and a few other surprises,” Hugh Walton, Golf Group Sales Manager, said. “We’re so grateful Don has enjoyed his time at Crystal every year for the last 50 years – and we’ll do whatever we can to make sure the tradition continues that way.”

The Clark Golf Group outing wraps up Sunday morning with an early morning round of 18 on the course where it all began – Betsie Valley.

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About Crystal Mountain:

Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 1,500-acre resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, shopping, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only alpine slide, Peak Fitness, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings, a conference center and real estate options. Visit for more resort details or information about Four Seasons Club memberships.


Media Contact:

Brittney Buti

Manager of Public Relations


Desk: 231-278-2091

Cell: 269-845-1352


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