Equity members of the Bloomfield Hills, Mich. club will vote on September 29 on whether to sell the 104-acre property to Pennsylvania-based homebuilder Toll Bros. A proposed clubhouse renovation has also been put forth as an alternative to the sale. A non-equity member, backed by a “Save FLCC group” pointed to club employees, fellow members, nearby residents and preserving the natural beauty of the property as reasons to not sell the club.
Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. will vote September 29 whether to sell the 104-acre property to Pennsylvania-based homebuilder Toll Bros. C+RB covered the quandary between sale and clubhouse renovation earlier this month.
Crain’s Detroit Business published an open letter written by Forest Lake Country Club non-equity member Jared Berman and a group known as the Save FLCC “Sweet 13” in advance of the September 29 vote on a possible sale of the property for development into a subdivision. The letter follows.
“You may be one of the 94 equity members voting on whether to sell FLCC, but I am:
The employees who keep the doors open, the lights on, or serve your needs
The valet who happily takes care of your car as you arrive and depart the many activities and events FLCC families have come to love
The locker room attendant who makes you smile and ensures your shoes are cleaned and shined and cups are full as you enjoy the course and the club
The greenskeeper and members of the maintenance crew who keep your course pristine; we are out before the sun comes up to make sure the fairways are cut, the greens are mowed and rolled, the bunkers are raked, the course is free of leaves and debris, and the pin placements are fair and changed daily
The bag and cart attendant who always greets you with a smile, ensures your clubs are cleaned and ready to go and that your cart is washed and prepped with a wet towel, a scorecard, and a bottle of sand for your countless divots
The starter who orchestrates the golf course symphony every day, with a smile and precision
The golf pro who organizes your events, provides your tools for success, fixes your swing (or at least tries), and always looks to make your season more enjoyable
The caddy who is there when you need one, to loop 18 holes carrying your heavy bag and filling your divots so that you can walk and enjoy our beautiful course
The halfway house attendant at the turn who waits patiently for you to come say “hi,” if for just a moment, and makes sure you are fed and hydrated before you finish your last 9 holes
The bar or waitstaff who knows your name, your drink, your member number and who always tries to make your time enjoyable
The kitchen employees who feed your family, let you continue your social time on the “19th hole,” make sure you are satiated after a great meal and that your night is complete
The swim team coaches who work with your kids on countless summer days to make them Gator Ready competitors in the many area club swim meets
The lifeguard who shows up each summer morning to watch and protect your children while you chitchat at the pool and enjoy some much-needed R&R
The tennis coach who teaches the game and builds lifetimes of summer tennis memories for FLCC families
I am also:
The life member who raised his/her children at this club, gave generously in terms of time, talent and treasure and who wants to enjoy the club in retirement years
The legacy member who wants to follow in your footsteps and raise his/her children at the club at which they grew up, in the spirit of FLCC family tradition
The intermediate member who provides youth and vitality to the club, brings their family to the pool several days a week and is among the last to leave after men’s nights (like you used to enjoy “back in the day”)
The nonequity member who is just getting started at their first golf club — trying to meet new friends and learn or improve their golf game but then fortuitously FLCC gets in the blood and becomes the family club for life
The surviving spouse who uses the club as a safe haven and getaway to meet up with longtime friends with whom we share many years and memories of life at FLCC
The social member who lives for the days of lounging at the pool, playing a tennis match or kayaking on tranquil Forest Lake
The promotional member who just joined FLCC in the past few months because this club had everything you maybe once wanted
Let’s not forget:
The sand cranes and eagles and squirrels and deer that call FLCC home
The neighbor who lives by the course and bought a home in part because of the tranquil scenery and environment FLCC provides, hoping to one day be in position to also join
The member who is no longer with us who loved this club, developed this club, and had so many memories at this wonderful place
The child in junior golf, junior tennis, swim team, AJGA who will never get the chance to excel at these amazing sports, develop lifelong experiences and FLCC friendships, learn independence, and will never know how wonderful childhood can be at FLCC
Before you vote on selling this club, please think about the following:
This was never an investment for you. This was not a stock market pick, a business endeavor, or a life insurance policy. You paid an investment to be allowed to enjoy a golf club and when you were done, you were going to leave it better for the next generation to enjoy it the same.
If you are unhappy with the facilities, the course, the members, the board, the commute (or whatever your issue is at this moment), this too shall pass. These are small issues compared to the bigger issue of whether or not this club remains intact after 94 years of success.
We do not need to destroy 94 years of rich tradition and history upon this sacred ground. We ask that your risk associated with a “yes” vote be further contemplated in terms of the timing, amount and post-vote plan. How will your life change after you receive the money in 2-3 years and pay taxes? What effect will this have on your life one way or another?
But your vote on Sept. 29 will change the lives of employees, the locker room attendant, the halfway house attendant at the turn, the bag attendant, the starter, the golf pros, the caddy, the waitstaff, the kitchen staff, the lifeguard, the valet, the greenskeeper, the swim and tennis coaches, the life members, the surviving spouses, the legacies, the socials, the intermediates, the nonequities, the promotionals, the indigenous animals, the neighborhoods surrounding you. …
But mostly, your vote affects all of the FLCC children who want to learn to swim, play tennis, golf, become independent, have their birthdays, bar mitzvahs and sweet 16s at the club; get married here and bring their kids to the club. And have all the memories that you have been so fortunate to have.
And when you vote, please remember, that I am you!
I am the young member who wants to raise my family at FLCC. I want to celebrate the birthdays, the weddings and all the special events. I want to play golf every weekend and even weekdays when I get a chance. I want to swim all summer and dine when the weather changes. I want to hold a wake when I lose someone special. I want to make friends and be with family. And I want to do this all our special home called Forest Lake Country Club. I AM YOU!
Vote no to Toll! We don’t need 100 more houses in Bloomfield Hills. We need Forest Lake Country Club to thrive for 100 more years!”