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RV Owners Drive Long and Straight
by Thad Gutowski

Calendar of Events The Natural at Beaver Creek Resort, is one of the finest RV and golf facilities in the state. As part of the Gaylord Golf Mecca, people can not only play the Natural, a Jerry Matthews course, they can also play others in the area. Beaver Creek Resort offers lots of things for the family to do. http://www.thenatural.org

An increasing number of Michigan golfers are heading for the links in recreational vehicles (RV) according to a study made recently by the Michigan Association of Recreational Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC). About 20 percent of RV owners said they commute to the greens in their RVs for a day, week or even months. There are over 250,000 home-away-from-home vehicles registered in Michigan, so that adds up to a lot of rounds anyway you slice it.

Like golfers, RVs come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, but all combine transportation and living quarters. Some provide a simple place for sleeping or eating, while others are rolling luxury lodges with deluxe amenities found only in very upscale permanent homes.

The folding camping trailer is a lightweight affair with collapsible sides that fold for aerodynamic towing. When set up, they provide kitchen, dining and sleeping facilities for up to eight people.

The popular truck camper can be placed in and removed from a pickup truck bed with a little well-planned effort. Many have kitchen and bathroom facilities and sleep two to six people.

Travel trailers are designed to be towed by car, van or pickup. Most provide like-home comforts: kitchen, bathroom, sleeping, dining and living facilities, electricity, water systems and modern appliances. Most conventional travel trailers sleep four to eight people and sell for an average of $14,300. Some models can go for up to four times that, depending on size and features.

Motor homes are what the name implies -- a home with a motor. Everything: kitchen, sleeping, bathroom and dining facilities are all conveniently accessible to the driver. Motor homes are available in sizes that sleep from two to eight. A compact class C model sells for just under $50,000 and a Class A equipped with space expanding "slideout" rooms run about $82,000. And of course there are the rolling castles often used by rock stars and race car drivers that can go for over a million bucks.

There are hundreds of places in Michigan to set up an RV. The Department of Natural Resources offers a wide variety of campgrounds throughout the state, many located close to a golf course. But a few privately owned campground members of MARVAC, like the Washakie Golf and RV Resort near North Branch in Michigan's thumb, have very successfully combined camping and golf in a single package.

The Ferrier family opened the Washakie campground in 1973 offering swimming, fishing and just plain old-fashioned relaxation in a comfortable environment. But when the golf boom started in the mid '80s, the Ferriers decided to join in by building a golf course adjacent to the existing 100-site campground. If you are looking for a back breaking 7,200 yards, with long, exhausting holes and a 150 slope, this isn't the place. But if you haven't forgotten that golf is supposed to be fun, then Washakie is a great place to tee it up.

Exceptionally well manicured, with rolling fairways, an abundance of beautiful shrubs and flowers, lots of water and quick greens, Washakie offers true enjoyment. Though somewhat short (just over 5,000 yards) this is no pitch and putt course. You won't easily forget No.13, a testy 158-yard par-3 surrounded by water just waiting to swallow an errant shot. But you also won't forget the fine hospitality offered at Washakie by the five generations of the Ferrier family, that has owned this property for over 120 years. For those who are linguistically challenged, "Washakie" is not Polish but means, "Come back soon," in Shoshoncan.

Contrary to popular belief, members of the graybeard and blue-hair crowd are not the only ones buying and driving recreational vehicles. A recent study found that Baby Boomers, aged 45-54 are the driving force behind a new high in household RV ownership. This group currently represents approximately 40 percent of all RV owners. Incidentally, Michigan ranks third in new RV sales, only slightly behind California and Texas.

Bill Sheffer, director of MARVAC said, "There are a lot of recreation vehicle owners exploring Michigan golf courses. They're either making day-trips or spending the night at nearby campgrounds. There are about 18,000 new RVs purchased each year in Michigan with many buyers looking for golf courses with camping amenities nearby."

June 2001 Issue Table of Content
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Golf Travel | Lodging | Golf Guides | Michigan Golf History | Tournaments | Michigan Golf Real Estate
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