“Many people have questioned my sanity in buying a golf course,” says Bert Hovenkamp, new owner of Olde Mill Golf Course, as he reflects on the work that has gone into upgrading the course since he purchased it last year with limited partner Craig McDonald.
Last summer, they rebuilt the sand traps, along with some greens and fairways that had suffered heat damage when the irrigation system broke in 2012.
A new clubhouse is being built, although they retained two walls of the old one, to keep the liquor license intact, he says. The new clubhouse has 10,000 square feet of space for a restaurant and a banquet facility.
In addition, the maintenance barn has been replaced. A new irrigation system is being installed and greens and fairways have been rebuilt.
“We are taking it to the next level,” Hovenkamp says.
His wife, Cheryl, said that Bert likes to buy things and make them nice, which explains why he is working so hard to bring the golf course up to par.
In the past, Hovenkamp has had experience with golf courses, having been a limited partner at the Heritage Glen course in Paw Paw. He also has a passion for the game itself, playing every week when he can.
While Hovenkamp and his wife will oversee the business, several staff members are on board to take care of the day-to-day details. Craig Rhoda, greens superintendent, has worked at the course for the last 14 years. Darla Cramer is the bar manager while Sheila Penn is the kitchen manager, and John Fuentes is director of golf.
Easy Ride Memorial
On Saturday, May 24, Olde Mill is hosting the Easy Ride Memorial. Over 500 cyclists will converge as a benefit for Eric Zapata, a Kalamazoo City policeman and others who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The benefit is sponsored by the Sons of Malta, an organization of police, EMT and fire department personnel in the county. There will be a motorcycle ride, golf, entertainment, and many other events planned to run throughout the day.