MichiganGolf.com Notebook: News from Around the Green
MANISTEE, MI -- Manistee National Golf & Resort director of golf Doug Bell fears the word "auction" might have a negative impact on the perception of his resort.
He says it shouldn't. The property, originally listed on the market for a sale price of $9 million, will be sold at a public auction at 1 p.m. April 16 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids by Sheldon Good and Co. for a minimum bid of $3.6 million.
"This is not a bank-forced auction," Bell said. "The public thinks the word auction means bad things, but from all indications, we are having a better booking season this year than last. Nothing will change (when the resort changes ownership). We only think this will be for the better."
There is no doubt whoever decides to buy the property will face serious challenges in the competitive northern Michigan golfing scene that is filled with resorts and hotels, both big and small. Manistee, a small town on the coast of Lake Michigan, has always been lost in the shuffle when it comes to tourism, sandwiched between Ludington's wondrous beaches and the breathtaking, windswept sand dunes of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
But Bell is confident his resort can continue to grow and improve its status as a golf destination.
The National's two courses - Canthooke Valley and Cutter's Ridge - along with the 42-room inn, are all relatively new. Designed by Gary Pulsipher, the Valley course was built in 1993 as a traditional northern Michigan layout cut through the forest. It plays to 6,619 yards from the tips. The 6,707-yard Cutter's Ridge design was completed by Jerry Matthews in 2000.
With a slope of 148 from the tips, Cutter's Ridge, which is filled with wetlands, ranks as one of the most difficult in Michigan.
Both courses cost $45 to play on weekdays and $60 on weekends, a mid-range price compared to a nearby heavyweight like Arcadia Bluffs, a highly acclaimed course that costs $125 and up.
The Inn, which features an indoor pool and whirlpool, was completed in 1997. Rooms with hot tubs and suites are available. Stay and play packages are currently listed between $60 and $100 for two players sharing the same room during the high summer season.
Alan Kravets, the president of the auction company, is promoting the opportunity to own a diamond in the rough.
"Manistee is experiencing significant economic growth due to a number of new developments and a tax-free zone creating opportunities for new business to relocate to Manistee," he told the Traverse City Record Eagle. "…An emphasis on tourism is a major contributor to Manistee's growth."
Bell said the addition of the nearby Little River casino has really perked up the area's nightlife.
"We understand there are a lot of choices out there (on where to play golf)," Bell said. "If we can persuade people to try us through golf shows, we can give you a great time. For the money you spend, you will get service you wouldn't expect for that price."
For more information, visit www.manisteenational.com.
THE MICHIGAN CUP: So you want to play like a pro, but you might not be able to stick that 240-yard 3-iron like Tiger Woods. Still, you can enjoy the feeling of competing in pressure-packed tournaments like Tiger by signing up for the Michigan Cup. The Cup, run by the Michigan-based Tournaments USA, features two competitions, one for juniors and one for adults. The Cup offers 36 tournaments across southeast Michigan - in Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw and Livingston County - for middle-school and high-school age players who want to learn the ins and outs of tournament play. The state championship is held every August.
Older men and women can enter the Michigan Cup Team Match Play, where six-person teams battle in a Ryder Cup format with rounds of best ball, alternate shot and match play spread out among four days of 18-hole competition. There isn't a million dollars at stake, like the Masters, but a little pride and a free trip to the state finals at the Gull Lake Resort near Battle Creek in September make the effort worthwhile.
Membership for junior players costs $100, while adults pay $85. For more information, call the tournament offices at 734-522-8872 or visit www.michigancup.com.
HALL-OF-FAME INDUCTEE: Jim Flick, a part-time resident in Michigan as the Director of Golf Instruction for Boyne USA Resorts, was recently inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, becoming just the ninth person to be so honored. Flick was elected from nearly 40 nominees by Golf Magazine's, "Top 100 Teachers" and a panel of golf historians and journalists.
Flick is credited with give out more than 75,000 lessons in 23 countries and has written four books in his 48-year career. And he's still going at age 72. He teaches six days a week as the principal instructor for the Jim Flick Premier Golf Schools in Scottsdale, Arizona. Besides the never-ending flow of regular players he sees, he's worked with more than 150 PGA Tour pros, including Jack Nicklaus.
He joins Tommy Armour, Percy Boomer, Ernest Jones, Harvey Penick, Davis Love Jr., Bob Toski, Paul Runyan and John Jacobs in the Hall.
RANKINGS GAME: Ten of Michigan's finest courses were recently honored by Golfweek. Six state courses made Golfweek's "Top 100 Classic Courses," a list of star layouts built pre-1960. The rankings at the top are somewhat controversial since many feel Donald Ross' South course at Oakland Hills is Michigan's finest, but it ranks second to Alister MacKenzie's Crystal Downs Country Club. Crystal Downs, in Frankfork, is ranked sixth nationally, followed by the South course (No. 17), the old course at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion (No. 54), Point O'Woods Golf and Country Club in Benton Harbor (No. 55), the Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms (No. 81) and Ross' Franklin Hills Country Club (No. 89).
Four other Michigan courses built within the last five years made the "Modern Courses Top 100" list (built after 1960) - Arcadia Bluffs in Arcadia (No. 41), Lost Dunes in Bridgeman (No. 46), the Links-Quarry combination at the 27-hole Bay Harbor Golf Club (pictured) in Petosky (No. 57) and the Kingsley Club in Kingsley (No. 98).
Besides Lost Dunes, two other Tom Doak designs made the modern list - No. 2 Pacific Dunes in Bandon, OR, and No. 44 Stonewall in Elverson, PA - which just confirms he is one of the great architects of our time.
A LEGEND PASSES: One of the founding fathers of Michigan's golf boom, Everett Kircher, the president of Boyne USA Resorts, passed away on Jan. 16 at the age of 85. Kircher, a Detroit native, started the Boyne empire, which includes ski and golf communities in Montana, Michigan, Utah, Florida, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. He was one of the first to incorporate golf into the everyday operation of ski resorts to help the business run year-round.
In 1971, Kircher had the Heather course built at what is now Boyne Highlands Resort in northern Michigan. Three decades later, Boyne owns eight, 18-hole championship courses and one 9-hole course in northern Michigan.
E-TEE TIMES: More than 100 golf courses in the state have tee times available through a service at the state's Triple A website, www.aaamich.com. Players can sign up for tee times up to a month in advance, thanks to the site's sponsor, the Michigan-based GolfConneX. The $12 registration fee will be waived the first year of use. Frequent users can earn points that can be redeemed for savings on golf merchandise. To check it out, just click on "Entertainment" after accessing the site's front page.
After the crash of many services providing tee times on the web, it will be interesting to see how many people actually use the service.
MANISTEE GOLF: ManisteeGolf.com has just added a giveaway to the web site, where once a month a lucky winner will win a golf getaway to the Manistee area (located on the shore of Lake Michigan). It includes a free round of golf for two (including cart), and one night's stay in an area hotel. The courses and lodging facilities rotate, so it's a different experience each time. To enter the contest, visit http://www.manisteegolf.com
April 4, 2002