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Gaylord Golf Mecca Embarks on 2024 Path of Success

The Gaylord Golf Mecca moves into 2024 as premier U.S. summer golf destination for the 37th year, and it won’t be easy to top 2023. Last year generated 274,545 rounds played at member courses for the season, at an average price of $58.47 per round.

It’s quality, quantity and affordability in golf that powers the cooperative golf marketing group in the heart of Northern Michigan. And over almost four decades, Gaylord has earned the right to be called America’s Summer Golf Mecca.

“The first budget for the Mecca was $15,000, the Tourism Bureau contributed $7,500 and we had a formula for the golf courses to put in $1,500 each to make up the rest,” said Mecca Executive Director Paul Beachnau, who has been around since the start in 1987.

“The initial Tourism Bureau budget for Gaylord was just over $100,000 and is now well over $1 million, with over $300,000 budgeted for the Golf Mecca marketing and advertising.”

The first year of the Mecca saw courses record 60,000 rounds of golf with revenues of $2 million. High water marks for the Mecca are now nearly 275,000 rounds with revenues around $20 million.

JT Aude, the head golf professional at Gaylord Golf Club and the Mecca’s current president, calls the Mecca destination unique in the U.S. and beyond. “I can’t think of any other destination that has a similar combination of quality and quantity combined with affordability, ease of access and a clear effort to make sure the golfer comes first,” he said.

“There are places with affordable golf, but not with quality of courses we offer at our combination of prices. There are places with more courses, but not in a variety from family friendly to classic country club style to award-winning resort golf. To top it off, they’re all designed by some of the world’s best architects. You only find all that here, in Gaylord.”

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