Over the past few years, the Chemung Hills golf course has made the transition from private club to public course to publicly owned. The latest phase came in December when the Oceola Township board approved the purchase of the 149 acre property. The price was just $650,000.
The Club had originally gone into foreclosure when it was unable to make bank payments. Brighton, Michigan, based Osprey Properties managed the club in 2009 and 2010 while the Livingston County Circuit Court sorted out the mess.
For its ownership stake, the township will receive 3% of the first $800,000 of revenue, increasing after that to 12%. But the pursuit of profit surely wasn’t what pushed the township into action. Rather, it was the threat of development. One rumored plan would have built a 700 space RV park. There also was the possibility of a hundred cabins, a water park and softball diamonds. A subdivision also was in the works.
I played Chemung Hills for the first time last fall and had a lot of fun. The course lists its opening date as 1921, but a knowledgeable friend tells me that date is for the original nine, and that it was expanded to 18 and rerouted later. Legend has it that Walter Hagen played there.
Chemung Hills has some significant elevation changes and meanders through woods and marsh. It’s a tough walk, but I managed it. While the course measures just 6,400 yards, it had a much bigger feel. The only disappointment was that the back nine has just one par 5, finishing with five straight par 4s. Still, the fun – price ratio was very high: The weekday price was just $20. A season membership including cart was $875.
I’m glad to see that it’ll be open for a few more years. I plan to make another visit next summer.