Renaissance Golf Design's Course is Attracting National Attention
(AUGUSTA, MI) – Golf designers are transitioning into a much-anticipated phase that puts the sheer enjoyment of the game – the fun of golf – at the forefront. Not long ago, the buzzword in new course construction was minimalist. Today, it’s maximizing the joy of the game. The new Stoatin Brae golf course at Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort in southwest Michigan takes this concept to heart. After a partial opening last fall, Stoatin Brae is ready to hit the ground running with 18 holes opening this spring. It’s charm and beauty is sure to resonate with golfers, and Stoatin Brae has everything a premier golf destination course needs – rolling topography, spectacular views and pure, uncompromising golf where the secret to a good round is hitting good golf shots.
There is nothing tricky or obscure about Stoatin Brae. It’s all right there in front of the golfer with delightful Scottish characteristics. Perched atop a treeless bluff, Stoatin Brae's design compliments and contrasts the five existing Gull Lake View parkland courses. The creative green sights, combined with firm and fast playing conditions, make the changing winds an integral part of the design.
“We’re putting the final touches on Stoatin Brea, and we're beyond excited for the start of our first official season,” said Bill Johnson, vice-president and PGA Professional at Gull Lake View. Stoatin Brae is poised for an official opening on May 15, and the tee sheet for many weekend days is filling quickly. “Just like all of our courses, we want to keep Stoatin Brea affordable and playable, so the pricing will be dynamic throughout the season,” Johnson said
Johnson and owner, Jon Scott, instantly knew the property, a former apple orchard, housed the region's premiere golf destination within. Eric Iverson, Brian Schneider, Don Placek and Brian Slawnik, the four senior designers at Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design, took it from there. They were responsible for designing the course layout and the detailed shaping, independent of Doak, who was tied up with other projects at the time. They quickly realized this piece of property was screaming for a Scottish influence, but typical of what this group designs, nothing about Stoatin Brae is over-the-top. It is always pleasant and always direct.
“Working together on a project is nothing new for the four of us,” Slawnik said. “We’ve been doing it for a long time.” Iverson said, “I believe we’ve built something very different for three market, and different than anything we’ve done before. We were entrusted with a very good piece of land and really tried to leave it alone as much as possible. Putting a golf course on that site will draw golfers to a really cool part of Southwest Michigan.”
There is another component at Stoatin Brae that is sure to be a hit with golfers. The new Blue Stem restaurant and Executive Chef Renee Hogge will offer casual fine dining for residents of the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo area and golfers. Sitting atop a 200-foot ridge at one of the highest points in Kalamazoo County and adjacent to the pro shop, Blue Stem is destined to become a year-round attraction with his outstanding menu and unmatched views.
Hogge brings with her exceptional culinary skills and an extensive background in more than a decade as an executive chef at some of the state’s top private clubs. Her experiences include Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Win Schuler Restaurant & Pub in Marshall and the Red Cedar Grill in Williamston.
“She is the perfect choice to launch the new restaurant,” Johnson said. Hogge is feature menus with a golf flare. “We have a golf course with a variety of Scottish traits,” she said. “The restaurant is named after a prairie grass, native to Michigan and the Midwest. So we incorporated some traditional Scottish ingredients, using caraway seeds and leeks and cabbage in the menu, to blend the two countries together.”
For more information, visit www.gulllakeview.com.