Changing of the Guard
As 2002 heads out the door, the year left behind some changes in the world of Michigan golf that are in some cases, substantial.
One of our major companies, Sleeping Bear Press, was carved up into three entities, with the new Clock Tower Press claiming most of the golf titles. Two of the principals, Skip DeWall and Brett Marshall, were part of the Sleeping Bear team and thus, the transition has gone quite smoothly. Brett Marshall indicated that there were 50 manuscripts still waiting to be evaluated when the company changed ownership in August. Of those, 50, ten are being given further consideration. According to Skip DeWall, one of the new areas they are looking at, is the area of golf instruction.
Treetops Resort changed hands, with Rick Smith being the most visible of the new owners of the resort. Rick has become the model of success in the golf world, having started two very profitable golf schools in Gaylord and Naples, Florida, been involved in producing a number of successful instructional videos, he has become a regular on the Golf Channel's instructional team, he heads up the national coverage of the Par 3 Shootout and is the current instructional guru to Phil Mickelson.
The clock is ticking on the ownership of the Otsego Club. Owner, Keith Gornick, has put November 20, as the cut off date for auctioning off this storied Michigan resort. Gornick has taken the resort and really changed it dramatically in the past 10 years. He has purchased The Loon, taken over the Lakes course and built the new Tribute course. The Tribute is a tribute to his father, who bought the resort and was the original catalyst for its development.
There were also rumors that the Grand Traverse Resort would be purchased by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Thus far, that has not happened, but talks are still going on.
On the golf course side, a couple of them went back to the banks, Black Bear and The Preserve, being two of the courses. A number of courses have also been put up for sale,
Obviously, the sour economy has had a major impact on golf. However, there was a slow down in golf prior to 9/11 and the failing economy. Michigan had simply overbuilt its golf course inventory in the past 10 years.
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