LochenHeath Golf Club on Road to Recovery

One of Michigan's better-known golf professionals, Mike Husby, has been tapped by a group of investors from Traverse City to revive the defunct LochenHeath Golf Club, once rated among the top-10 new courses in the country when it opened in 2001.

Husby, a 36-year veteran PGA professional, is also an accomplished course designer and contractor, industry consultant, and club owner and executive. He has earned a reputation in Northern Michigan as a turn-around specialist for troubled golf properties.

Husby assumes the role of general manager and director of golf at LochenHeath after a successful five-year stint in the same roles at Candlestone Golf and Resort in Belding, near Grand Rapids.

LochenHeath opened to great fanfare 10 years ago as a private residential golf development centered by a 7,239-yard course designed by Florida architect Steve Smyers. After a series of management changes, the club eventually went into foreclosure and was purchased in November by the Traverse City group from a California-based lender.

Even before the sale was completed, Husby and a team of former LochenHeath employees, including course superintendent Joe Ettawagiac, began restoring the greens and fairways to playing condition and preparing the course for the winter. The facility had been closed for more than two years.

Husby said he is looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding the business and renovating the course and facilities. The sand traps have been refurbished and landing areas on the course are being widened to enhance speed of play.

"The purchase will immediately bring back jobs to our area and is certain to be a valuable asset to the surrounding communities," Husby said. "The new owners are thrilled to have LochenHeath open again and are committed to restoring it as the preeminent course in the Traverse City area."

The course occupies rolling, tree-lined land overlooking East Grand Traverse Bay. The facility contains an expansive practice facility, full-service restaurant, and banquet facilities for 400 guests. There are also 10 homes on the property. The local investors bought only the golf club, and the land development portion of the property remains with the lender whose future plans have not been finalized.

Husby said his immediate goal is to have the course open for play next April with limited food-and-beverage service. He said green fees will be pegged at a reasonable introductory rate to bring former customers back and lure new ones.

"If the weather cooperates and we get 21 days of growing conditions prior to opening we should have the course in very good shape," he said.

Husby is a former Northern Michigan PGA Player of The Year. Among his design credits are the Loon and Marsh Ridge Golf Clubs in Gaylord and Wild Bluff Golf Club in Brimley. He also served as tournament director for the Bay Mills Open and the Canadian Tour Championship, which was covered live on the Golf Channel.

For more information about the course, visit www.lochenheath.com