Super-Duper Yooper Troopers

by Bob Carter

Eight GAM course raters from the Grand Rapids/Big Rapids area piled into a 12-passenger van and traveled to the U.P. to fill a course rating vacuum that exists above the bridge. Led by Captain Mark Bultema, the self-named “Yooper Troopers” left lower Michigan in the morning on July 20, 2014 and returned in the evening of July 26, 2014.

We rated the following six courses in six days: Irish Oaks GC, Gladstone; TimberStone GC, Iron Mountain; Lac Vieux Desert, Watersmeet; Portage Lake GC, Houghton; The Heritage Course, Marquette GC; and Greywalls Course, Marquette GC.

The “Yooper Troopers” consisted of the following veteran GAM course raters: Captain Mark Bultema,, Linda Miller, Dee Piccard, Bob TerMolen, Connie Brady, Mike Brady, Bob Carter, and  Duke Morehouse.

Besides rating the six courses and playing four of them, the highlights of the trip included (in noparticular order):
1) rating two courses in two different time zones in the same day (world record?);
2) passing around homemade cookies, candy bars, pretzels, mixed nuts, and twizzlers on every leg of the trip;
3) being entertained by Mike as he googled every term and/or concept that came up;
4) laughing with Linda as she tried to get Siri to cooperate on her I-phone;
5) a hole-in-one by captain Mark on the 178 yard # 8 at TimberStone GC;
6) celebrating Bob T’s 82nd birthday at the Marquette GC;
7) frequent ice cream stops along the many legs of the trip;
8) going to Jilbert Dairy in Marquette to see ice cream made and, of course, eating that  ice cream;
9) having great weather for the entire trip until we experienced rain on the last 3 holes on the last day of rating; and last but certainly not least,
10) a double rainbow on Greywalls’ 18th hole when the skies cleared and the rain moved away to the east as we wrapped up the last day of rating at 7:30 PM (a fitting end to  the last rate of the week).

Double rainbow on # 18 at Greywalls (photo by Mike Brady).

The most challenging aspect of the trip was loading and unloading the van each day given that the eight raters, their golf clubs and their luggage had to fit into a van designed to carry twelve small adults on a short day trip without luggage or clubs (imagine sardines). Every bit of floor space and seat space not occupied by a body was occupied by either luggage, snacks or golf bags. Room was tight to say the least. At every stop, luggage and one golf bag had to be moved to get everyone out of the van, and even then, Connie and Dee had to climb over the seat back in front of them to get out of the rear seat (can you say “agile?”).

The super-duper “Yooper Troopers” with all their luggage and golf clubs: Linda, Duke, Connie, Dee, Bob T., Captain Mark,
Mike, and Bob C. Photo taken at the Ramada Inn, Marquette, MI. Not shown are the numerous snack bags!

The success of the trip was due in large part to the organizational, leadership and guidance skills of Captain Mark Bultema. He worked extremely hard both before and during the entire week and made this trip a wonderful experience for all of us. The group traveled together in the van for a total of 1,170 miles with Mark and Duke sharing the driving responsibilities. We ate together, rated together, and played golf together for seven days without any significant angst or disagreements. I am speaking for all of the super-duper “Yooper Troopers” when I say that this was truly a fun-filled, enjoyable bonding experience and one that we will not soon forget.

Intense bonding experiences such as this trip produce nicknames. Here are ours:
Dee Piccard – Cookie Monster
Connie Brady – Candy Queen
Mike Brady – Google Meister
Bob TerMolen – Birthday Boy
Mark Bultema – Boss Man
Duke Morehouse – Roger Ramjet
Linda Miller – Biker Chick
Bob Carter – Scrivener

I want to thank all my fellow “Yooper Troopers” for helping me with this article.
By the way, did I mention that we made frequent ice cream stops?

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge, July 20, 2014

The super-duper “Yooper Troopers:” Captain Mark, Linda, Dee, Bob T, Connie, Mike, Bob C., and Duke.
(Portage GC, Houghton)

Mark making a point with Connie and Duke on Portage Lake GC # 17.

?Kodak moment on Graywalls’ #5 green. (photo by Mark using Linda’s camera.)

Jilbert Dairy’s cow statue. Ice cream stops were a steady treat to break up the driving.

Mark picking his tee shot out of the hole on #8 at TimberStone GC. His favorite highlight?

Bob T’s cake with the incorrect and dyslexic number of years on top.!
(Photo by Linda Miller)