I was seven when my father bought this place. I had a bifurcated childhood and youth going to school in Downriver Detroit but otherwise growing up here. That had many disadvantages but in retrospect I would do it all over again. The circumstances of my childhood are gone forever.
When springtime came, the shoes came off. I would run up and down the gravel road outside our house to toughen up my feet. Went to town barefoot with no signs on the storefront doors telling you it was illegal. Put my shoes back on when I went back to school. You don’t see kids now running barefoot very often. Most of them would probably regard it as totally weird.
When I wa fourteen and the greenskeeper quit and my father asked me, well. told me, to go to work, I put on a pair of boots and it hasn’t been the same since except in those times I have been able to step outside of time and pull off my shoes and socks. I still do it here sometimes when I go to take my doggies for a walk around the course but it isn’t often enough.
The property is listed as 84 acres plus. Pretty close to 85 and if you included our subdivision lots it would be over 85. I cannot remember why I think this, but I am all but certain that I remember it as 89 acres plus, almost 90. No one else remembers this. I could be way off. For three years I have tried to get a realtor to determine what the actual acreage is. I have no idea how you do this but someone must know. I would think with computers that it would be a matter of pressing a button.
I’m not trying to hype you here but I really do think the place may have five more acres than what we are listing it for. Don’t hold me to it. It wasn’t until we got realtors involved in this that it even became a question. Even at 84 acres it is a steal. Five more would be gravy. I’m still working on it.
When I take the doggies out for their daily walk around the course, we usually go anywhere from a mile to a mile and a half without doubling back. It’s probably something like two miles around the outside perimeter, maybe more. Our longest fairway is a third of a mile long; three passes around with the mower and you’ve already gone two miles.
We used to have high school cross country track meets here and the course laid out was over three miles as I remember. Runners would disappear and then come back in view appearing one by one up and over a hill. Very dramatic and suspenseful. If you had some reason for doing so, you could easily walk ten miles without crossing over where you had already walked. It’s doggie heaven.
Over the years I have come to hate that word. But I recognize that some people think differently, God bless them. When I worked out west planting trees in logged over clear cuts, there were those who looked at one of the few remaining stands of old-growth ancient trees and saw “timber” and “board-feet”. That’s how the world system works.
And there are those who look at this beautiful piece of land and calculate how many condos or upscale homes would return the most money. Well, I would be more than happy to give them the opportunity to prove their point and get on with my life. There are those who would call that a shame, but to this point none of them have stepped up with the money to match their feelings.
Our back field, which is a beautiful burgeoning forest with a small pond, is estimated to be about 13 acres and the whole property could be subdivided into about that many plots. There have been those whose business plan involved selling off that back field in lots to recoup the whole purchase price and get a free ride with the rest of the land but so far they haven’t clinched the deal. Maybe you will be the one who does.
People who have never worked on a golf course often tend to think of it as an ideal job. You’re outdoors, all you have to do is ride around all day, what’s not to like? Well, toss golfers into the mix and you might have to remix your thinking. But golfers are the whole point that makes this system go, so there you are. If you kept it as your own private course, you would have the best of both worlds.
As it is I am maintaining the place without golfers and thankful for that. Obviously golfers pay the way for a golf course, but in this economy that’s an iffy proposition. I am doing the best I can on a limited budget to do what I did before with the help of two young and strong helpers. The results are apparent, but you could bring this place back to what it was and better given some time, money, and labor. That is the point to me maintaining it at this level.
And if you didn’t want to run it as a golf course, you could set whatever level of maintenance you could afford and which made you happy. You could let the whole thing grow up as wilderness and you would still have a wonderful piece of land, a hidden treasure.Or you could run a tractor thru with a brush hog and maintain trails for you to walk or run or ski or whatever. You could hire a hundred people with hand clippers and scissors. I don’t care, once I’m outta here it’s none of my business and you can crank up your creativity.
One way or another this golf course has impacted my life since I was seven years old. The golf course was closed this year but I’m still out there maintaining it enough so that anyone wanting to keep it going for business or pleasure wouldn’t have to start over from scratch.
Does it make the world a better place to devote a prime piece of land to the endeavor of knocking a little white ball all around with a stick? A lot of people seem to think so. Quite frankly I am not one of them, but here I am knocking myself out trying to keep up with the mowing and all. Go figure.
Some of the neighboring golf courses have changed hands recently and are doing quite well. It’s really good advice that if you want to run a golf course it would be best if you know what you are doing. Especially today. But it isn’t necessary. Some people are smart enough and talented enough to overcome the lack of experience. If you are one of them I would be pleased to hand you the reins.
There are a lot of trees on this place. Obviously it can’t all be covered with trees because it is a golf course. But there are a lot of them. Enough come down in big storms to keep me in firewood but there are always many more trying to establish themselves, and if you quit mowing it would be solid forest.
Maybe most numerous would be maple trees, tho the sugar maples are having a hard time and are slowly dying out. I have never been able to get a straight answer as to why. In any case it keeps me in firewood and one of the biggest and healthiest trees on the property is a sugar maple. Its seeds ought to be the establishment of a new generation.
There are oaks and ash and beech and walnut and hickory and numerous species of pine. You need a field book to identify all that grows here. But you don’t need a book to pick out the birch trees. They were imported from northern Canada when the course was built and are much hardier than other birch around. They are huge and ancient in comparison to most and are a signature feature of this wonderful property.
Our neighbor to the south who lives in the Chicago area is a decent guy. He has contacts with a group of young people in their twenties, a church group as near as I can figure out, who come up here with a bunch of kids from time to time and spend the weekend at my neighbor’s place.
These kids are a varied lot. Some are what might get called “inner city children”. Some appear to be refugees from other places in the world. One that I noticed in particular was a young girl, maybe eleven or twelve, from Nepal. She is an accomplished artist. I call her the Mountain Girl.
In the winter they come over and slide down a steep hill in #1 fairway on sleds and saucers and whatever they can find that works. They build jumps and snow people and have a terrific time. I think some of them may never have done anything like this before. The last time they were here they invited me over for supper. Talk about something that money couldn’t buy.
I grew up here from the time I was seven. I ran barefoot all summer, played in the woods, explored, built hideouts, swam in the lake, rode my bike, had an ongoing adventure that I don’t see many kids doing today. That’s pretty much priceless too.
In the previous economy, we would be happily retired, enjoying the fruits of our labors. As it is, we are too old to be doing this. Running a golf course takes someone with young energy, young ideas, a young and positive outlook. Every year it gets harder. We want out of here. Well, actually my sister would like to keep a piece of it to live out her life but that’s a different matter.
When we were young this area was agricultural interspersed with summer resorts. It worked great and everyone made a living. Things have changed. Now the area depends on those fortunate enough to be able to afford a second home, and they have started to dwindle. The whole world seems to have started to dwindle if you notice. That is all the more reason why it makes sense for someone with brains to snatch this place up before someone else grabs it.
Some of the people who stop by to look think in terms of a business investment. They could be right. And we would certainly be happy to sell to them and wish them all the best. We can’t handle this new paradigm and are looking for someone who can, and can do it well. It is a priceless opportunity to weather whatever lies ahead.
Some people don’t like realtors. Realtors like to spell “realtor” with a capital “R”. I probably would too if I was a realtor. I know realtors who are really nice people, decent, hard working, you could trust them to hold your wallet.
We have tried selling this property thru realtors for three years now. We’re still here. I figure we can’t do any worse trying to sell it ourselves and cut out the middle man. Or woman. Maybe someone will come along who classifies realtors along with bankers and investment brokers and politicians and used car salesmen. Or women. I know someone who sells used cars that I would trust with my life.
It’s hard to tell what’s coming down the pike. I think if things get even worse that this piece of land could become a singular place of refuge, a hedge against the worst. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s still a diamond in the rough, a hidden treasure. If you don’t like realtors, I know how to talk with people. And if you don’t like me, you can always talk with my sister or my brother. If you don’t like anyone, this might be the perfect place for you to hunker down.
In pioneer days, this place was originally a farm. Obviously it was originally Aboriginal Indian homeland and I have found a beautiful arrowhead here lying on top of the ground. But in terms of today, it was a farm. The Indians around here were basically hunters and gatherers, which worked extremely well for them until they were confronted with civilization.
I don’t know how you view modern civilization, but if you are anything like me you might be questioning just how secure we are in our climb to glory. Things aren’t looking all that great if you take a look around you and don’t depend entirely on what our leaders have to say.
Most people don’t like to think negatively, and that’s a good thing. But people who think beyond what they see on television might be wondering whether a place where you could grow food and maybe raise some critters might not be all that bad an alternative to hold as this current drama plays out. When the pioneers took over, the first use they made of this land was as a farm.