ESCANABA - Mission accomplished. Goal reached.
However you want to put it, I have now lost a ball on every golf course in the Upper Peninsula.
The quest to play every golf course in the Upper Peninsula concluded last week with a round at Blue Heron Golf Course in suburban Curtis/Germfask.
Daily Press sports editor/golf fanatic
Blue Heron appears to have been carved out of an old farm field and was actually fun to play, even though the greens were a little spongy thanks to recent rain.
The par-32 layout only measures 2,080 yards from the back tees and 1,830 from the front, with only two holes more than 300 yards.
No. 7, the longest at 390 yards, either requires a bomb that is not part of my game to clear water, or a layup followed by a long second shot.
After the 16-mile drive via Curtis back to U.S. 2 , we stopped off at Hiawatha Sportsmen's Club in Naubinway for another quick nine-hole round. I had played there before, but it was the first time my wife Sally played there.
There are 56 courses and 792 holes in the 906 area code, and from conversations among the U.P. golf world, it appears no one else has ever played each one. By the way, being stuck with me, my wife has played 40 of the 56 U.P. courses
The goal did not surface until about five years ago when I was looking up information about a couple U.P. courses for a story.
Realizing only a handful of courses had not claimed one of my wayward shots, the quest to lose a ball on every course became a goal.
I have played more than 225 courses in 34 states, and it is clear Upper Peninsula golf stacks up with the best anywhere. Geography dictates the demands of each course, but U.P. golf shares the best and toughest traits across this great land.
PGA Championship host Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. has the links characteristics of Sweetgrass Golf Course, in Harris.
The mountainous Bully Pulpit Golf Course in Medora, N.D. is reminiscent of award-winning Marquette Greywalls.
The hilly, forested Treetops complex in Gaylord is similar to Iron Mountain TimberStone, which twice has been declared a Five-Star course by Golf Digest magazine.
Wild Bluff Golf Course in Brimley has hosted a couple of professional tournaments, including one that featured LPGA star Michelle Wie.
Other than alligators, courses in Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Florida have nothing on some of the finest U.P. layouts.
Better yet, most U.P. courses offer the same quality at much more affordable rates.
In the U.P. we can play on two islands, on a course (Gateway Golf Club) shared by two states, and a course in which you have to yield to approaching aircraft (Drummund Island Golf Club).
Ranking the courses is judgmental, so I'll just list some favorites: TimberStone, Wild Bluff, Sweetgrass, The Rock, The Jewel, George Young, Indian Lake, Greywalls and Hessel Ridge. Another U.P. Golf Association favorite is Four Seasons, just beyond the U.P. border in Wisconsin.