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GR golf course to get a big makeover

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Indian Trails Golf Course will soon get a big makeover, $2.7 million on upgrades and a new driving range funded by the city.

David Marquardt, Director of Parks and Recreation, said it's a plan that's been 20 years in the making.

"This isn’t just a golf course, this is a valued open space that people value and cherish," said Marquardt. "It’s another way for people to recreate in our city and it’s important for us as we’re thinking about providing recreational services."

Indian Trails Golf Course General Manager, Lance Climie, said there has been some controversy over which municipality should get the money.

"Anything that costs a lot of money is going to create a negative aspect for individuals," said Climie.

It's a multi-million dollar project and it could be a tough sell for the city, especially when many roads still need to be fixed. But the city of Grand Rapids and golfers we spoke with view this as an investment for the future, saying the course actually brings in revenue for the city.

"The obvious answer has always been to install a driving range to increase cash flow," said Climie.

Indian Trails is teaming up with the Department of Parks and Recreation to transform and restructure their golf course with several million dollars from the city's Transformation Investment Fund. Climie said the project will generate significant revenue, helping replace their maintenance building while adding upgrades to their club house and parking lot.

"So when you’re looking at a long term solution would you rather it go fallow and then spend $60,000 a year to mow it? Or invest 2.7 million and have a facility that will be good going into the future as far as we can see," said Climie.

Ed Berkley has been golfing at Indian Trails for 15 years and believes this is the best use of the city's money.

"Absolutely, there's no question about it," said Berkley. "I think golfers have been asking them to do something about it for the longest time."

However, not everyone is as convinced. Tom Hendrix has been a member for the past two years and said he enjoys the course as is.

"I'd be content just the way it is," said Hendrix. "I guess I'd like to see other needs the budget might have before I was certain of the use of those funds."

There are a number of options on the table for improvements, and Indian Trails is hosting an open house Monday, September 17th at 7:00 p.m. where you can give your input and get a look at some of the plans.

Climie said even with renovations, Indian Trails will still be an 18 hole golf course but it will change from a par 68 to a 65.

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5 comments

  • Matt farage

    Chuck Wiersma used to lease that course for like 1.00 a year and he’d run it on the money that he brought in. Employees, gas for tractors, wages, everything. I told him one day if the city got ahold of it again, it would become an instant pork barrel and he said I was right. Last I heard they had like 28 part time employees. When Chuck leased It, was he and Mike Mieras, and 4 other part time employees. I been playing that course since a kid. Around 2012 I saw all brand new carts, and like 75 drivers costing 3-400 each. Dennis Burns who passed away remembers them spending all that money when no one else had it, but the govt. He said he was in there and saw all of that and knew no one else could afford the inventory like that. What ever happened to all that inventory? Then two years later, brand new carts again, a couple city dump trucks worth about 80,000 each.. That place costs what it does, because the govt runs it. It should never have been turned back to them. I feel bad for the people that wanted a traditional course, not a political pork barrel to satisfy whatever plan they have. I feel bad about the Indian who deeded the land in 1926 and wouldn’t have liked to see any of this. But when you’re dealing with the govt, you cant tell them anything anymore. Had a vote been taken, the people would have wanted someone else to lease it. What a sad shame. I even own a putting aid company, and I’ll bet they’d have some reason why they didn’t want to sell my product at the new facility when it’s done. But yet if I was the right guy, no problem. They’d sell it for one of their friends. I was in the printing business and knew what they paid, so I offered the same at half what they paid. They still wouldn’t use me. The govt has run rampant and they don’t want you or I telling them what to do. Sorry everyone, this had to happen.