The Hemlock, Mich., property closed earlier this year and will reopen as Maple Hill Club in the spring with scaled down staff and no food and beverage to keep costs down.
After financial hardship caused it to close earlier this fall, Maple Hill Golf Club in Hemlock, Mich., now has new owners who aim to streamline the operation and reopen it as Maple Hill Club in the spring, Michigan Live reported.
Jim Kruszynski and Gregg Matekel recently purchased the decades-old, private golf club and 166-acre course. Kruszynski also operates the Bay City (Mich.) Country Club with his wife Wendy Dore. Matekel is an associate broker for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and president of Matekel Quality Homes, Michigan Live reported.
Kruszynski said the economic downturn, busy schedules and fewer people playing golf are some of the reasons golf clubs across the country are closing, Michigan Live reported.
“It’s just supply and demand. There are too many golf courses, and it’s become too expensive.”
But he and Matekel said the new, 18-hole Maple Hill Club is going to be different. “Instead of doing what everybody else is trying to do out there with golf courses, we’re going to try to be completely unique,” Kruszynski said. “We’re offering a private golf club with no frills, so we’re not trying to be like a country club.”
The operation is to be run with nine employees, including grounds superintendent Chris Ballosh, who remains a part of the staff. There won’t be a golf pro, club storage, restaurant or bar, but members will be able to bring their own food and drink. The pro shop will offer only balls, tees and gloves for sale, Michigan Live reported.
By keeping it simple, they can charge less, Kruszynski said. “We’re just golf. We’re a private golf club.”
Mike VanEck was a member for two years and was serving as president of the board when the club closed. Prior to that, he served as treasurer. VanEck said the changes the new owners have planned are the right ones, Michigan Live reported.
“I’m very pleased, very pleased. I think they’re a great choice,” he said. “Gregg and Jim both immediately had a passion for the golf club and that’s exactly what Maple Hill was founded on.”
He added, “Our goal, as a board, was to hopefully continue the club as we know it, in a private fashion, and they want to do exactly that.”
Under the new ownership, Maple Hill Club will not host golf outings or allow public play. Guests may only play with members and only up to four times a year. Matekel said it only makes sense to keep it private, Michigan Live reported.
“It costs roughly $400,000 to open up that golf course, just to run the golf course,” Matekel said. “So, private, you’re 200 members at about $2,000 a piece. Public, that would equate to April 15 to Oct. 15, six hours a day, foursomes, seven days a week, booked tee times.”
The new owners aim to open the club in the spring. To do that, they’ll need about 200 members. Matekel is optimistic they’ll reach that number by the March 15 deadline, Michigan Live reported.
“What we’re doing has been very well received, and people are very happy that we bought it,” Matekel said. “They’re very thrilled that they’ll have their golf course to play.”
VanEck intends to join the new club, and he expects many other former members to do the same. “The response has been tremendous. I think we’ll see a great return rate, and the members I’ve spoken to are just ecstatic.”