Another course in Augusta is scooping up national accolades this year. Not the Augusta you’re thinking.
The Stoatin Brae Golf Course in Augusta, Michigan — just outside of Battle Creek — has been named the National Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association.
The course was named No. 5 on the Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play in Michigan.
“It’s exciting news. We have put a lot of work into this course and to our vision coming to fruition, and to see how people enjoy it, is great,” said Bill Johnson, vice president of Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort. “We had a vision to make a destination golf course that is still affordable to everyone and that’s what we did and it’s great to be recognized for that.”
Stoatin Brae, which was developed by the Scott family and senior associates of Renaissance Design of Traverse City, was then selected from among four regional finalists including Spring Meadows Golf Course in Maine, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina and Gamble Sands in Washington.
“Each year the NGCOA recognize those that have helped preserve the tradition of the game while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the golf business, and it’s wonderful that they agree with us that Stoatin Brae is very deserving at the national level,” said Jada Paisley, executive director of the Michigan Golf Course Association, in a release announcing the award.
It is the first time one of the Gull Lake View family of courses has earned this national honor.
“We had won Michigan Course of the Year before, but never won this award at the national level,” Johnson said. “After we won the state this year, we sent in our information to give it a try for the national, and low and behold, we won.”
Stoatin Brae will be recognized during the NGCOA’s Golf Business Conference 2021, being held virtually in January.
“It’s always a special time when we recognize those who have achieved excellence at their facility,” said Steve Graybill, President of the NGCOA Board of Directors. “Each year, we choose from a pool of deserving nominees; this year was no exception, and we’re delighted with this year’s winner.”
The views are what makes Stoatin Brae stand apart from most of the golf courses in the area. When you look out the bay windows at the clubhouse, from one of the highest points of land in the region, you can see the towers from downtown Battle Creek as well as buildings in Kalamazoo. It has quickly become the gem of the six courses run by Jon Scott and his family, who own the Gull Lake View Golf Club and Resort.
Outlining many of the fairways, which are made up of fescue grass, is the natural flowers/high grass that doubles as hazards on the course featuring the blue stem flower (or grass), which is also the name of the restaurant at the clubhouse — The Blue Stem.
The 18-hole course plays at 6,667 yards and is a par 71. Looking across the course, you can see many of the flags on the holes at the same time because of the lack of trees, but the natural grass and undulating hills make for a pretty picture.
“It’s totally different than anything in Michigan, just a big piece of open ground with a course dropped right in it. Very pretty and fun to play,” Johnson said. “Also, what sets us apart is that we have made it affordable. You can go to a lot of courses that are seen as the most famous courses in the country and spend a lot of money. We see ourselves at that level now as well and you aren’t going to spend nearly as much here as you would at some of those other places.”
Bill Broderick works for the Battle Creek (Mich.) Enquirer, part of the USA Today Network. He can be reached email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @billbroderick
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/19/michigan-national-golf-course-of-the-year-course-owners-association/