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Ultimate Golf Giveaway Winner Announced

Josh Martin of Rittman, Ohio, and one of his regular golf buddies were making their way through the Cleveland, Ohio, Golf Show last winter, a little overwhelmed by the size of the crowd but checking things out.

They wedged their way to a Gaylord Golf Mecca booth that caught their eye and filled out a form to enter the Mecca’s 2023 Ultimate Golf Giveaway Contest.

“Didn’t think I would win, never won anything, well a $500 scratch off (lottery ticket) once, but nothing like this,” Josh said. “We’re amazed it happened. I have three buddies I play golf with a lot, and last summer we went on a golf trip for the first time. We went to West Virginia, had a great time and we decided we were going to take more trips. Winning the Gaylord Golf Mecca trip is perfect. I’m bringing those same three guys with me.”

Martin’s prize for the summer of 2024: Six rounds of golf for four people, as well as four nights of lodging and two dinners. The golf rounds will be played at Black Lake Golf Club, Michaywe Pines, Gaylord Golf Club, Lakes of the North, Indian River and The Tribute at Otsego Resort. Accommodations will be with Mecca lodging partners Hampton Inn by Hilton and Holiday Inn Express. The delicious dinners will be at popular Gaylord destinations, Alpine Tavern and Big Buck Brewery.

Martin, 42, has never played golf in the Mecca area before and had to do some research when he found out he had won. “It’s not a bad drive for us coming from the Akron area, but it will be a lot of golf for us,” he said. “None of us have played that many rounds in basically three days like that, but we’re going for it.”

Josh’s buddies for the trip are Ethan Aberegge, Doug Krummel and Ryan Maslak. They are still relative newcomers to golf. Aberegge is on the far left in the above outing photo of the golf group in dresses. Krummel is second from the right and Josh, the prize winner, is on the far right. Maslak is the golfer in the purple tutu in the second picture. Josh said they were playing that day in an annual charity outing for a friend’s grandmother and on a specific par 5 hole, if they donned dresses and paid $20, they were allowed to hit tee shots from the shortest or front tee position.

“We always have fun doing whatever and we started golfing about three years ago, going every weekend, so we’re all still figuring it out a little bit,” Josh said. “We were all getting older, early to mid-40s and we figured playing golf was a lot better for us than going to bars on Saturday night and feeling lousy on Sundays.”

They have been friends for 37 years, since starting elementary school in the same town and through the years have stayed friends, played on softball teams together and socialized in many other ways.

“We all decided on Sundays, take four hours of the day and we would play golf,” he said. “We’ve mixed in our circle of friends, added more people to the group and now at times we have 12 guys play. Then we might all throw in a few bucks and have a two-man scramble. We make sure we have fun.”

Martin, who works as a robotic welder operator for Ventrac (tractor and mower manufacturers) and is getting his 15-year-old son hooked on golf, too, said golf remains the hardest game he has played in his life. “The first year I just wanted to break clubs it was so frustrating, but I stuck with it because it was hard,” he said. “I had to get better. Now, it’s so much fun. It’s still hard, but we just have a lot of fun and we are all stoked to make this trip. We are going to have a great time up there.”

The Mecca’s resorts and courses regularly receive accolades from national publications like Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golf for Women. A Golf Digest poll from 2020 ranked Gaylord and Northern Michigan as the 12th best golf destination in the world and 8th best in the United States. Golftime Midwest readers voted the Mecca the No. 1 Best Golf Destination in the Midwest in 2019, too.

The Ultimate Golf Giveaway is an annual promotion of the cooperative marketing group that in 2024 will include 16 courses and 20 lodging partners. Sign up for the next contest here.

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