In 1982, a group of local businessmen were sitting around the coffee table discussing the problems with trying to play golf. It seemed the biggest problem was the distance we had to travel to reach a golf course. Someone spoke up and said, “Let’s build a golf course in Au Gres”. This suggestion prompted us all to think so, we decided to try and do something about it. The first thing we agreed on was that we must get in touch with someone who knew something about golf courses. A letter was sent to the National Golf Foundation advising them of what we had in mind and asking their advice on how we should approach it. Their reply was a letter which included a list of about eight golf course architects. We reviewed this list, contacted some of them by phone and received about five resumes. After reviewing the resumes we decided on a firm known as “William Newcomb & Associates” from Ann Arbor, MI. We contacted Mr. Newcomb and invited him to Au Gres to discuss the possibility. He informed us that the first step would be to conduct a feasibility study to see if the area could support a golf course. We began our quest to see if we could raise the money to pay him. Once Mr. Newcomb reviewed the feasibility study he reported that he thought we should be able to support such a project and that a location would be the next step. We discussed this among ourselves and decided the AuGres Airport property was not being utilized to any great extent and perhaps this would be a good location for the golf course. We approached the City Council with this idea, but due to a lack of a shared vision we continued the search.
The search was on…..three different locations were discussed all of which we felt could serve the purpose. The decision was made on the location which is where the course is now located. In a closer look at this location we discovered we had to approach and communicate with seven different property owners to get sufficient land to do what was desired. We began the process of getting the necessary signatures on a purchase agreement. This turned out to be a monumental task and took slightly over one and a half years to obtain these signatures. It was agreed that we would attempt to get enough people interested in helping with the seed money to get the project started. This was not an easy thing to do but, the following people decided to go along with it: Harry & Delphine Bader, Dick and Lois Bowden, Grant Fox, Joe Kelly, John & Margaret Knight, Otis & Nancy McKinley, Harold Schutte, Fred Schutte, and Joe & Shirley Walker. This gave us the start-up money but, none of us could even visualize what problems lay ahead. We raised another $150,000.00 by doing this and we are still very grateful to those stockholders that helped us at a critical time. This gave us sufficient money to finish the grow in and also build a small Clubhouse which we spent our first several years in. At the same time, however, we knew it was very essential to start the second nine as a 9-hole course would just not make it. We accomplished this and the second 9 was opened in August of 1990. Now we were rolling…..making money on the golf course and a small fleet of golf carts and also a small Clubhouse for selling lunches and snacks. So why not get a liquor license which would top off our “country club atmosphere”. Whoa boy…..this also was not an easy task. We contacted the Michigan LCC for the best part of two years contacting everyone we knew with any contacts and made absolutely no progress. Finally, after some outside help we had a liquor license. Now we knew we were nearly in heaven, an 18-hole golf course, a small Clubhouse, a liquor license and we even squeezed out enough to build a maintenance building.
Along comes 1996 and things are running rather smoothly and we are showing a profit so what the heck….let’s spend some more money and build a larger Clubhouse. We engaged an architect and began the process of deciding what was needed and what we could afford. Our first plan called for one of 14,000 square feet and we whittled until we got it down to about 7,000 square feet with an appearance we felt would compliment the course. Construction began and we moved into our new facility in the spring of 1998. Wow…this was great, moving into a brand, new Clubhouse.
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