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Renaissance Golf Design has been chosen to complete the design and shaping work on the newest course at Gull Lake View Golf Club in Augusta, Michigan. Eric Iverson, Don Placek, Brian Schneider, and Brian Slawnik, the Senior Associates for Renaissance, are collaborating with the Scott Family to bring this new course into play in 2016. The course, tentatively named Stoatin Brae (which means Grand Hill in Scotish Gaelic) will be number six in the Scott Family’s collection of golf courses and a very different addition in terms of its design. This is only the second course that the Scott’s haven’t designed and built themselves and is a dramatic departure from their existing courses. “The open, rolling terrain really lends itself to a course with very strong, links type characteristics” says Jon Scott, a third generation of the Scott Family to own and operate Gull Lake View Golf Club and Resort. “We see this as an opportunity to grow our business and offer our customers more opportunity to play fun, interesting, and challenging golf courses.”
The Renaissance team has played a significant role in the design and shaping of many celebrated golf courses around the world. Renaissance is known for its minimalist approach to golf and a big part of the design process was finding the right places for the holes without moving any more dirt than was necessary. “This is a really dynamic piece of property”, says Iverson. “We knew right away we could help the Scotts build the kind of course that we love – roomy, engaging holes laid over great golfing ground, with beautiful views in every direction.” The design philosophy places a premium on working with the existing topography to disturb as little as possible while producing a fun golfing experience. “Finally, the focus on golf being fun has become more mainstream in golf design, but it has been our focus all along.
While part of the approach is to avoid having to manufacture any holes, it also means that we avoid undoing cool, unique features that nature provides, and navigating those holes is where the fun lies.” More than anything, the course is designed to be both visually memorable and something that a golfer can enjoy playing every time they return.
And return they have. For over fifty years, the Scotts have grown from a single eighteen hole course designed an built by patriarch Darl Scott to ninety holes of golf with overnight lodging, practice facilities, and restaurants. “We prefer to make our profits over the long term with return business. We try to keep our greens fees competitive and our courses in immaculate shape. It has kept people coming back. We have some groups that have been coming back for forty years or more.” Says CEO Charlie Scott.
This new course is slated to be a par 71 playing over 6800 yards from the tips. As one of the highest spots in Kalamazoo County, it has amazing views all around the course and vistas that rival those in northern Michigan or the mountains of Carolina. The site is a dramatic piece of land that makes for a dramatic piece of golf. The designers envision a championship caliber course with something for everyone. A variety of tees for all ages and skill levels will make the course playable for female and youth golfers. “We need to be able to offer golf as a pastime to everyone, not just the guy who can hit the ball 275 yards,” says Bill Johnson, Vice President of Gull Lake View. “This is too good of a site to keep for just a select group. We want everyone to come out and enjoy the experience that this ground has to offer.”
Even more than this, the new course will add to what is already a major golf economy in Southwest Michigan. Southwest Michigan is the unheralded gem of golf in the midwest and with six courses, Gull Lake View becomes one of a select few of golf resorts with this much to offer the traveling golfer. With nearby drive markets in Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Canada, the location is ideally located to draw from a huge population of golfers. The Scotts expect that this new golf course will provide a great opportunity to attract new customers and spread their golf message to a wider audience.“We want to make this area a choice destination for all types of visitors and vacationers. We feel like golf, especially new golf, can do that,” says Jon Scott.
The Scotts have always had a huge commitment to community (this year they will offer two new college scholarships to local high school graduates). “This course allows us to pursue our passion and grow the community at the same time, a win-win situation.” Offers Charlie Scott. There are some who may question the wisdom of building a golf course in such a tough golf market. “We may seem a little crazy to do this, but we are contrarians at heart. We quit building golf courses in the mid nineties when there was a boom and are starting to build now when others are closing.
It may seem nuts, but we love golf and this site is one of those that begs to have a golf course on it.”
The course is planned to begin construction this spring and the Scotts hope to have it in playing condition by mid 2016. Gull Lake View will be hosting a ground breaking event June 2015, for more information on our ground breaking event and course updates, visit gulllakeview.com.