MANISTIQUE - The fifth hole at Indian Lake Golf and Country Club borders its watery namesake, so the "Beach Party" theme of the 86th Upper Peninsula Ladies Golf Association tournament is appropriate.
The course will offer a difficult challenge, but tourney chairman Jackie Villemure said it will not be set up to standards of some tournaments, such as the annual four-man scramble in June.
"I don't want difficult to be that difficult," she said, sounding a bit like baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra. "I just want it challenging."
She asked grounds superintendent Glen Rasmussen to put six pin placements in easy, medium and difficult locations but not to demand the kind of precision four-man teams face.
Qualifying for 68 players begins at 8:30 Monday to determine each flight for the match-play portion that begins at 8:30 Tuesday. The lowest handicap players will be in the initial groups Monday. The championship match begins about 1 p.m. Thursday, after the semifinals that morning.
Since defending champion Carley Saint-Onge will not participate, the low shooter Monday will get the No. 1 seed and will play No. 16 in Tuesday's first match.
Because of the Ronn Rubick Manistique Booster Club fund-raiser Sunday, women will not get to practice until 3:30.
This is the first time Indian Lake has hosted the UPLGA tournament. Next year it will host the U.P. Golf Association men's tourney, for the second time.
Wawonowin Country Club will host the UPLGA tournament in 2013, with Pickford Munoscong the host in 2014 and Gladstone Irish Oaks in 2015.
The 68 entrants is about par for the field over the past few years. Since 104 entered in 2006, the fields have gone to 71, 60, 70, 67 and 74 players. Gladstone Golf Club is the only Delta County course sending players to the tournament.
Last year, Saint-Onge was the only entrant younger than 37. This year, Marquette High School junior Avery Rochester is the only high school entrant, and spring graduate Zoe Woodworth of Calumet will be the only other youngster despite UPLGA efforts to broaden the interest level among the younger set.
The forward tees play at 5,426 yards, longer than most UPLGA venues, which will favor Rochester, Woodworth and veterans such as Polly Anderson of Escanaba and Sue Micklow of Marquette.
The course expanded to 18 holes in 2000 with nine holes (6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17) designed by Mike Husby of Gaylord. The original nine was constructed in 1927 by John Barr of Milwaukee.
"The first four holes are easy holes," said Villemure, who has won the women's club title 11 times. "Once you get into the woods (for No. 6) you will notice a difference. It is a different atmosphere."
No. 17 is by far the toughest hole, even if it is just 323 yards for the tourney, because of a large, undulating green that requires precise approach shots and a velvet putting touch.
The nine new greens, especially the par threes and No. 17, are tougher because of the undulations and speed, although the greens will not be as slick as they have been at some events.
"On the old nine, everything goes to the lake when putting," said Villemure.
She said out-of-bounds markings have been improved and noted players "should be especially leary on the back nine" in those areas.