Norfolk Homes, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., purchased the former Alwyn Downs Golf Course in Marshall, Mich. in early 2020. A new roof, windows, doors and siding have been installed at the restaurant, along with updated lighting and fans on the patio, and a pro shop at the clubhouse. A short-range practice area of 50 to 75 yards is under construction. More housing will later be built and when that happens, the 18-hole course will be converted into a 16-hole layout, with two holes being played twice.
Changes are taking shape at the former Alwyn Downs Golf Course in Marshall, Mich., with more planned in future years, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
Ann Arbor-based Norfolk Homes purchased the site in early 2020 with plans to transform part of the property into housing. A variety of improvements to the 6,207-yard course and restaurant have ensued, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
The site is now known as Emerald Hills Golf Club and the restaurant has been renamed Tavern at Emerald Hills.
A new roof, windows, doors and siding have been installed at the restaurant, along with updated lighting and fans on the patio, and a pro shop at the clubhouse, according to Joel Tompkins, manager of the club and tavern.
Future interior renovations, to be completed in stages, will allow the tavern to operate year-round, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
“We will focus on carry-out with dine-in options at first,” Tompkins said. “We have seating for about 150 people — 60 inside on the first floor and about 80 to 90 on the patios outside. Our initial menu will include pastas, salads and wraps with fries. We have a full bar and soft drinks and eventually we’ll have a structured cocktail list with seasonal drink offerings.”
The course’s fairways and greens, which opened to golfers in 2021, have also undergone extensive improvements, Tompkins told the Battle Creek Enquirer. A short-range practice area of 50 to 75 yards is under construction.
“Due to the 2020 lockdown, we were unable to care for the course for several months and it had become overgrown, so we mowed everything down and turned a hayfield back into a golf course,” Tompkins said. “We took out 200 round bales of hay just in that first summer.”
To make the course more playable, dozens of trees were removed, the greens and fairways were reseeded and an intensive fertilization program was launched, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
“We’ll continue to improve the course conditions for all golfers in the years ahead,” Tompkins said, adding the course is expected to remain in its current 18-hole configuration for the remainder of 2022.
The upgrades are part of a larger effort to revitalize the former Alwyn Downs property with a variety of housing options, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
Development of additional housing — including single-family homes and apartments — is expected in future years, though when those will be built remains uncertain, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported. When the additional housing is built, two holes are expected to be removed from the current golf course, according to Tompkins.
“Once we’re at 16 holes, we still will operate as a 18-hole course, with two holes played twice,” he said. “We won’t be changing the game, just adjusting a couple of hole numbers.”
The overall development plan calls for a variety of home styles while retaining a nine-hole course, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported. The speed at which units are built will largely depend on how quickly they sell, according to Zuzga.
“Maintaining recreational activities in town is a very positive component of the project,” he said. “Norfolk is making improvements to the golf course and restaurant which will help keep them viable and an asset to the community. Providing green space, opportunities for local residents to golf affordably, providing a buffer from the airport and new housing, and another dining option is all a big win for the city.”