GAYLORD — They don't call Gaylord 'Golf Mecca' for nothing.
Home to 17 different premier golf courses, a golf weekend in Gaylord sits on the bucket list of many golfers not just in Michigan, but across the Midwest and beyond.
Those pristine courses tend to draw their fair share of attention this time of year, but if you're a Michigan State football fan, you may have seen a familiar face on the greens this weekend.
MSU quarterback Payton Thorne stopped by Gaylord this weekend to hit a few of the courses at the Treetops Resort, culminating with a conversation with MSU and Detroit Pistons play-by-play announcer George Blaha and WJR Radio's Steve Courtney at the North Pro Shop on Saturday, July 9.
— WJR 760am (@wjrradio) July 9, 2022
When Thorne sat down with Blaha and Courtney on Saturday evening, he had already played two of the Treetops courses, the Smith Signature and the Smith Tradition, and the Spartans' signal caller had nothing but praise for the condition of the courses.
"I played the Signature this morning, that was awesome," Thorne said. "Then we grabbed lunch and headed over to the Tradition, which I guess they are turning into a links-style course, which again, another awesome course."
As Throne later mentioned, the best of Northern Michigan summertime weather greeted him as Saturday turned out to be the perfect day for a golf marathon.
"I don't think the weather could be more perfect for us, so it's working out," Thorne said.
Thorne said their group's final round of the day was on the Smith Treetops Course, at which point the veteran announcer had some advice for the redshirt junior QB.
"When you get to hole No. 3 on Treetops, and you're looking down, it will be hard to select a club, but whatever you select it will be fun," Blaha said.
The conversation covered a host of other topics, including the growing complications of name, image and likeness rules (NIL) as well as the origins of Thorne's love of the game of golf.
Thorne is entering his redshirt junior season and presumably his second as the starting QB after a successful 2021 campaign, leading MSU to an 11-2 overall record while setting the school's single-season record for touchdown passes with 27.
Blaha, meanwhile, is beginning his return to the mic after a health scare resulted in him missing the final month and a half of the Pistons' 2021-22 season after a successful surgery.
This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: MSU's Payton Thorne plays golf, talks football at Treetops in Gaylord