It must surely be spring when local golfers find a reason to break out the sticks and start taking practice swings even when the temperature is below 40. They are hoping the sight of that first robin means golf courses are open and ready for play.
Most courses are allowing play but leagues won’t start until mid-April, depending on the weather. The south county area is fortunate to have a plethora of good golf courses to choose from that are challenging, fun, in excellent condition and locally owned.
A survey of five courses within a 10-mile radius comes up with the following information:
Angels Crossing Golf Club, on W Ave., owned by the village of Vicksburg with Jeff Rohrstaff as the resident pro, is opening this first week of April. Its popular Creekside Restaurant, which has been open from Wednesday through Saturday, will now be available seven days a week when golf is being played.
It will be a busy year for Angels with 16 leagues signed up for the 2017 season, Rohrstaff said. This will mean 290 players a week and a couples league every other Friday. A new rough mower has been purchased. The improvement plan calls for surfacing with crushed asphalt on the cart paths on holes 8 and 13. New irrigation will be installed between the green on 14 and the tee boxes on 15. “We hope to put more emphasis on bunker maintenance with more rakes and a clean-up of the embankments.” The biggest change with be a kayak landing at the foot of the club house on Portage Creek, which flows past the course.
States Golf Club, on W Ave. between Schoolcraft and Vicksburg, opened the last week of March with leagues tentatively scheduled for April 10. That signals the opening of the dining room, Eric Jasiak said. His family has owned the course for 35 years, with his mother, Rosalie, given a green light to take a little time off and retire in 2017, Eric said. He and his wife will be taking over completely. Eric’s sister Anne is going back to school and will no longer be involved in the day to day operation. Prices did change slightly with 18 holes and a cart at $29 individually and $28 for seniors.
Indian Run Golf Course, on R Ave. near Scotts, has a familiar face in the management arena with Mark Bush as general manager and chef. He grew up living on the course in the residential area and wants to bring it back to what the course was like when he played it and all the neighborhood kids hung out. He is in charge of the restaurant and banquet and event planning. One of the owners, Matt Van Acker, serves as the greens superintendent. The greens have improved because of his turf management training at Michigan State University, Bush said. There is a renewed emphasis on the bunkers with a complete renovation planned. Bush worked for Jaspare’s and when he took over at Indian Run, the first thing he did was to update the draft beer lines. He also fine-tuned much of the other equipment. Bush said it is the most affordable golf course in the area.
Pine View Golf Club on 5265 Pulver Road, between Schoolcraft and Three Rivers, opened for play the last week of March. With 36 holes, it is the largest of the area courses and is owned by the Tom Scott family with Steve Scott as the general manager. Lots of emphasis has been placed on maintaining the course over the last few years with Tom Scott, the chief mechanic, keeping the equipment in tip-top shape. Not only can a player or foursome book online, they can also spend some time at the bar, dine in the club house or schedule a banquet by working with Betty, the chef and bookkeeper who has served the course for over 25 years.
Olde Mill Golf Course at 6101 West XY Ave. was sold by Bert and Cheryl Hovenkamp in early 2016. The new owners come from illustrious backgrounds in golf and related fields. Al Lefere is the pro at Hankerd Hills near Jackson. Mark Frever is the director of landscape services at Western Michigan University, and Steve Anderson is retired from Inverness, Ohio golf course as its superintendent of grounds. All three are involved in a product called Driject which aerates the greens with a machine that goes over the top and has them ready to putt within 30 minutes in even better condition. Tina Sagers oversees the clubhouse, the banquet rooms, and manages the food and beverages. Spencer Galan is the head groundskeeper. The course opened for play on Saturday, April 1.