Based on an approved site plan, a small “training” golf course and a yet-to-be-finalized facility will be constructed. Project Manager JJ Henn says the “teaching course” will likely be eight holes that are about 50 to 70 yards long. The Lakeview Hills Country Club & Resort in Lexington, Mich. is in the renovation process, as well, which will include a fine-dining restaurant, a new outdoor wedding ceremony location and a modernized large ballroom.
Site preparation work is being conducted for a planned golf course expansion and new facility at the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Country Club, MLive.com reported. Based on an approved site plan and MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette interviews with officials, the plan is to construct a small, “training” golf course and a yet-to-be-finalized facility.
The new country club facility that will be built near the new golf course is in the design phase now, Project Manager JJ Henn told MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette. The proposed facility plans have not yet been submitted to the city’s site planning process.
Henn works for Oakland Finance Company, LLC, the owner of the property south of the country club, MLive.comreported. Bill Johnston, chairman of Greenleaf Companies, is a part of the ownership group of the country club doing the development, Henn said. MLive was unable to reach Johnston for comment.
Multiple bulldozers have been seen at the site, leaving tracks in the sand and avoiding some trees that are to remain, as shown in the approved site plan, MLive.com reported.
The golf course being planned will be a “teaching course” and will likely be eight holes that are about 50 to 70 yards long, Henn told MLive.com. Some of the details could change, he said.
“It’s that kind of yard range where people, from never hitting a golf ball before, to people who have played their whole lives, can go over there,” Henn said. He did not have specific details about how the programs would run, MLive.comreported.
“It’s a better learning environment than an 18-hole golf course,” Henn said. It could also be called a short course, he said.
“We’re trending toward doing much more teaching than we’ve done in the past,” he said.
The country club has an 18-hole course for members and their guests that will remain, MLive.com reported. The holes on that course range from about 160 yards to more than 500 yards.
Henn said he could not speak to day-to-day use of the new course, and could not confirm future plans, such as whether the course would be open to the public for use, MLive.com reported.
Why eight and not nine holes? Henn said the number of holes could still change, but the hole number is not as relevant because it is not meant to be a tournament course, MLive.com reported.
Trees have been cleared at the site where the new golf course and country club facility will be built, according to plans shared with the city of Kalamazoo, MLive.com reported. Heavy machinery was moving dirt there in December.
The development has received approval for site work where the golf course and facility will be built, though more approvals are needed for the work, and the facility designs have not been submitted to the city yet, Henn ttold MLive.com. He said he could not provide a cost estimate or square footage estimate at this time, with design work in progress.
Developers are being flexible as they work with government agencies through the process, Henn told MLive.com. The design team is planning to submit facility plans to the city in the spring, Henn said. Developers hope to begin construction in the first half of 2023, he said.
The facility will include things like dining rooms and locker rooms, Henn told MLive.com, and the intention is for it to become the main facility of the country club.
Site owners received permission from the city to move forward with the project and to cut down more trees than what would normally be allowed, MLive.com reported, though developers agreed to replant 4.5 acres of trees and 2.5 acres of native grasses afterward, within one year of the agreement.
Oakland Finance Company LLC, a Kalamazoo-based company established in 2020, owns the land, MLive.com reported.
The project also includes a new building for maintenance, with proposed plans submitted to the site plan committee, MLive.com reported.
The property is the former site of Lakeside Academy, which closed in summer 2020 after Cornelius Fredericks, 16, died April 29, 2020, after he was restrained by staff for 10 minutes at the school, MLive.com reported. The county attempted to buy the former school for a housing development for homeless people, but Oakland Finance Company LLC bought it instead.
Another site plan is under review for a nearby spot, where the developer is proposing updates to the country club maintenance buildings, including two additions to an existing building and one new building, MLive.com reported.
In Lexington, Mich., a substantial investment has been dedicated to improving the Lakeview Hills Country Club & Resort, WGRT reported. Formerly Lakeview Hills Golf Resort, the facility will see improvements and renovations to several areas, one of which will be a fine dining restaurant that will be named Emilio’s Prime Steakhouse.
In addition to the restaurant, there will be a new outdoor wedding ceremony location, a modernized large ballroom, total renovations to the 29 on-site guest rooms, plus an addition of four junior suites, WGRT reported. The final renovation will feature a bridal suite and fun groom suite, both of which will have views of the golf course and wedding area.