GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - It's always fun when something old becomes something new again, and that's the case for Indian Trails Golf Course - the only golf course inside Grand Rapids' city limits.
"The city of Grand Rapids really recognized the benefit that this golf course offers to the community," said Laura Cleypool, business manager for Grand Rapids' city parks & recreation department. "We were at a pivotal point in the history of how Indian Trails was to move forward."
In 2012, the city hired a consulting firm to come in and help determine how to make Indian Trails financially sustainable.
"There were several conversations of different avenues to take," said Cleypool. "We discussed whether or not to sell the golf course, whether or not to contract it to third party and have them come in and run it, and whether or not to have the city make a major reinvestment in it.
"There were some dissenterson the commission, but overall the decision to reinvest in the golf course ultimately received support by city leadership, and the decision was made to move forward with a plan to redevelop."
"There's been talk of redeveloping the course for over two decades," said Lance Climie, general manager at Indian Trails. "The city reached a point where it had to decide whether to keep the course or abandon it."
The course redesign was authorized by the Grand Rapids City Commission in fall 2015 with a grant from the City's Transformation Fund from a 2010 voter-approved income tax.
The project cost the city $2.8 million and it took 16 months to complete.
"Seven holes have been completely redesigned, and we've added a new 25-acre driving range, five practice greens with bunkers, and a new irrigation system has been installed that will service the entire golf course," added Climie. "The new driving range and practice greens are state-of-the-art, and are the largest in West Michigan."
The course has dropped from a par 68 to par 65, as a result of the renovations. The course's slope rating has become more challenging, however, so returning golfers will experience new holes and bunkers.
"The main focus was to add a driving range," said Climie. "Indian Trails has never been a teaching facility, and now we are one."
Indian Trails Golf Course was established in 1928, and with that age comes a storied history.
"There were many years that this golf course was the only municipal course where minorities were allowed to play," said Cleypool. "This is also a course where several generations have learned how to play the game of golf."
The city of Grand Rapids is preparing to unveil the newly redesigned course to the public with a charity golf outing. The grand re-opening celebration is set for Saturday, June 10. The format will be a two-person scramble, and the cost for each person is $75.
All the proceeds from the event will benefit recreation programs for underprivileged youth in Grand Rapids.
"I think the investment made by the city, to redesign this historic track, was the right decision," said Climie. "This will benefit the city and this golf course for generations."
If you're interested in registering to participate in the grand re-opening at Indian Trails, click here and you'll be taken directly to the registration page.
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