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15,000 Holes And Counting

Davis Tanis and Carl Arendsen, retired professors from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, have played over 15,000 holes of golf together, including all but 18 of the 261 holes that make up the 15 courses of the Gaylord Golf Mecca.
“We haven’t played Indian River yet,” Tanis said. “I’m sure we will get there.”
Indian River Golf Club, a classic Wilfrid Reid original design, joined the Mecca marketing effort in 2017. It will be added to the Tanis/Arendsen list as soon as next year.
“We’ve been to the Gaylord Golf Mecca many times,” Tanis said. “Carl’s brother used to own a condo at Gaylord Country Club, so we would go up there often and play the golf courses in the area, and we have played a lot of rounds at Gaylord Country Club. It’s a great classic golf course.”
The two golf buddies met at Grand Valley, but not as fellow professors. Dave, a professor in the chemistry department, and Carl, a professor in mathematics, met instead when Grand Valley built its on-campus golf course, The Meadows, and opened it in 1994.
“I remember telling my wife and other people that I found a guy that likes to play golf even more than I do,” Dave said. “What happened is we both ended up working at The Meadows as starters and rangers, and played a lot of golf. Then we started traveling together – with our wives a lot of the time who don’t play golf but like shopping and movies – and now we’ve played golf as far away as Hawaii. We’ve played in Arizona, a lot of the courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama. We’ve been all over.”
They spring away every spring break and head south until the grass is green on the courses. They have played in many of the states on other trips, very often 36 holes most days, and Dave said the golf found in Michigan, especially in the Gaylord Golf Mecca, stacks up with any of the golf they have found on their adventures.
“The variety and quality in the Gaylord area is amazing,” he said. “We have played the Treetops courses a lot. It’s hard to match that group of golf courses anywhere.  Another one I really like up there is The Tribute at Otsego Club. That’s a nice golf course.”
Carl, 75 and a native of Holland, Mich., retired in 2008 and Dave, 77 and a native of Zeeland, Mich., retired in 2009. They play Monday, Wednesday and Thursday almost every week through the Michigan golf season at The Meadows, and they take part in various golf trips together through the year and golf with other friends, too. They are adept at the game as a result.
“I have to brag, I shot my age six times this year,” Dave said. “I don’t think Carl has shot his age yet, but he is often shooting in the 70s. He’s getting close. It’s tough in this game. You have to get old enough and keep enough of your game to do it.”
Weather rarely keeps them off a course. They are clearly worthy of being Mecca regulars.
“We have this little saying we use – that we can always say we have played in weather worse than this,” Dave said.  “You see, we played in Birmingham, Alabama, one day, the wind was out of the north, it was very cold and we were walking. I went to wipe off my wedge after hitting a shot to the green on the first hole, and there was water on the clubface, and it was frozen. We finished, had a bowl of chili, and then played another 18 on one of their other courses.”
-Greg Johnson

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