Stoatin Brae Brings a Bri­tish Isle Golf Ex­pe­ri­ence to South­west Michi­gan’s Gull Lake View Re­sort

Golf Vacations - - Chip Shots -

RICH­LAND, MI – Bill John­son walks over to the 10th tee of Stoatin Brae golf course and stretches his arms across a broad landscape of hills and dales teem­ing with grasses, col­or­ful wild­flow­ers and sprawl­ing sand bunkers. “What do you think?” he asks. It is truly a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion as the new­est ad­di­tion to Gull Lake View Golf Club & Re­sort in south­west Michi­gan serves up vir­tu­ally ev­ery at­tribute that de­fines a premier golf ex­pe­ri­ence: ma­jes­tic land­scapes, spec­tac­u­larly rolling to­pog­ra­phy and de­sign fea­tures that chal­lenge play­ers but do not over­whelm them.

Vice-Pres­i­dent and PGA pro­fes­sional John­son states that the course is ev­ery­thing he, owner Jon Scott and fam­ily imag­ined it would be two years ago when they brought in Michi­gan-based Renaissance Golf De­sign to look at the prop­erty ad­ja­cent to the re­sort’s Stone­hedge lay­out.

“Jon and I looked at that land a while back and knew that it was an ap­ple or­chard dis­guised as a golf course,” John­son says with a chuckle. The land brought smiles of a dif­fer­ent sort to Eric Iver­son, Brian Sch­nei­der, Don Placek and Brian Slawnik, se­nior associates at Renaissance.

“The prop­erty lends it­self to golf in two ways,” Iver­son says. “The nat­u­ral un­du­la­tions and prairie grasses cre­ate the venue while the el­e­va­tion high above the Kala­ma­zoo River Val­ley makes for in­ter­est­ing wind pat­terns that will make the course play dif­fer­ently not just day-to-day but hour-to-hour!”

Based in Tra­verse City, MI, Renaissance Golf De­sign is owned and man­aged by in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed architect Tom Doak.

The afore­men­tioned 10th tee is a won­drous ob­ser­va­tion point to af­firm Iver­son’s com­ments. Flag­sticks on greens be­low one’s feet bend slightly as breezes make their way across the prop­erty. The tee is also an out­stand­ing van­tage point to ad­mire the min­i­mal­ist de­sign strate­gies used by the ar­chi­tects. Greens on the par-3s are framed by large sand bunkers. Fair­ways are wide and main­tain the nat­u­ral con­tour of the land. Putting sur­faces on many of the longer par-4s are large and un­en­cum­bered by haz­ards to al­low play­ers to fire away at the pin.

The course plays to 6,800 yards and a par of 71. Stoatin Brae means “grand hill” in Scot­tish Gaelic, a fit­ting name for a course rem­i­nis­cent of the great in­land cour­ses found across the Bri­tish Isles. In­deed, both John­son and Scott toured Scot­land to re­ceive in­sights on nat­u­ral golf course de­sign. “We wanted the land to stay the way na­ture shaped it,” Scott says. “That’s what led us to the Renaissance De­sign team as they em­brace the same phi­los­o­phy.”

The 18th hole ends a short dis­tance away from a newly con­structed club­house which fea­tures the pro shop, a bar, an out­door pa­tio and the Blue Stem Restau­rant. The din­ing fa­cil­ity is named af­ter a na­tive grass that grows across the course.

“A num­ber of our reg­u­lar guests have al­ready vis­ited the course and given us some real pos­i­tive com­ments,” Scott says. “With the club­house now open and the fes­cue across the prop­erty now turn­ing a gor­geous golden hue, the course is start­ing to look a pic­ture post­card.” Scott re­flects for a mo­ment as he thinks about the new lay­out. “Our guests can look for­ward to hav­ing a spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Gull Lake View Golf Club & Re­sort is South­west Michi­gan’s old­est and largest golf re­sort. The com­plex is owned and op­er­ated by the Scott fam­ily and fea­tures five cham­pi­onship 18-hole park­land cour­ses and a va­ri­ety of ac­com­mo­da­tions, in­clud­ing lux­ury cot­tages, deluxe suites and fair­way vil­lages.

For tee times and more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.gul­l­lake­

Gull Lake View Re­sort

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