In 1962, when Darl Scott was refused an increase in salary at the golf course he had been serving as head greenskeeper, he decided to build his own course. He had been working on building a motel on a site not far from where he worked and he saw an opportunity to build nine holes on the land adjacent to it. Scott and his wife, Letha sought out a partner in the venture and arranged sufficient financing to build the course. A few years later they bought out their partner and became the sole owners of Gull Lake West.
The rolling wooded terrain of Kalamazoo County outside of Battle Creek proved to be perfect for golf course construction. The golf industry was growing in the 60’s and the West Course was bringing in good revenues. Scott tapped the talents of his oldest son, Charlie, who was working as a golf course construction superintendent for Wadsworth Golf Construction. He asked his son to come home to design and construct the East Course, which opened for play in 1975.
Now with two excellent courses and golfers coming from Chicago, Detroit and northern Indiana to enjoy a first-class golf experience, the Scott’s next need was for suitable accommodations to offer stay and play packages, thus the Fairway Villas were constructed.
The Villas’ two bedroom, two bath, with living room and kitchenette accommodations are perfect for a foursome or family to stay together, while enjoying the great golf at Gull Lake View Resort.
During this time the Scott’s didn’t enlist big name golf architects to design and build their courses, they didn’t need to. With Darl’s entrepreneurial bent, Letha’s eye for numbers and Charlie’s experience in design and construction, they created two courses that gave golfers everything they wanted, when traveling for a golf getaway or buddy’s trip.
As more vacationers flocked to the area for the excellent fishing, boating and swimming in Gull Lake, the need for golf continued to grow.
A third course, Stonehedge South, designed and built by Charlie, opened for play in 1988 and featured the rolling wooded terrain that signifies Michigan golf. Unlike much of Michigan, however, the property is set on rocky ground and features stone fences built by the original settlers around the course that add to the beauty of the surroundings.
A fourth course was added with the purchase of Bedford Valley Golf Club. It was built in 1965 as a private club, but had fallen on difficult times. The Scott family purchased it in 1988 to add yet another golfing option it to their growing resort. Bedford Valley is a championship course that plays host to several Michigan amateur tournaments throughout the year.
Charlie became the chief operating officer of the resort in the 90’s and along with his son, Jon, they designed and built Stonehedge North. Three generations of Scott’s continued to expand and improve the Gull Lake View Resort to bring the number of golf courses available for play to five.
There are few golf resorts that can boast that many separate courses to offer guests a different golf experience every day.
Director of Golf, Dean Kolstad, who has been involved with Gull Lake View Resort for 24 years told us,
“You can come to Gull Lake View and play all of the golf courses and never play the same hole twice.”
The Scott’s have not stopped to rest on their laurels, however. Jon, who now manages the operation, wanted to add a new look to the courses on a property that would bring the WOW Factor, plus entice new guests to Gull Lake View Resort.
He found just the right property abutting the southern side of the Stonehedge courses sitting atop the highest ridge in Kalamazoo County. The height of the property offers panoramic views of the surrounding area for up to 15 miles.
With the success and growth of the golf course design business, Jon felt he needed a known golf architect firm to help design his new course. Tom Doak, a Michigan guy and one of the most popular golf architects in the world, appeared to be the logical choice to design the new project.
A slight problem arose when, Doak with too many projects already on his plate, couldn’t fit another into his schedule. He did, however, recommended hiring his lieutenants at Renaissance Golf, Brian Schneider, Don Placek, Eric Iverson and Brian Slawnik to layout the new project.
As always, the team at Gull Lake View handled much of the work in constructing the new course. From running dozers to installing drainage, they moved and shaped the earth in concert with the design team. Renaissance handled shaping and finishing the green complexes, as well as, the bunkers to their final specifications.
The combination of the excellent terrain, on which to lay a golf course and Renaissance Golf’s belief that the best courses require the least amount of actual construction, worked to perfection on the course, Stoatin Brae.
In Irish, Stoatin Brae, means ‘Grand Hill’ and the natural roll, plus the elevation changes make Stoatin Brae a must-play for golfers. Because it sits high atop the ridge, wind is normally a factor, just like playing along the Atlantic Coast in Ireland or Scotland. The best shots may be played along the ground to avoid devious prevailing winds.
There are few trees, the greens are undulating with runoffs that make a solid short-game a must to score well. Several teeing options make playing the course challenging for the low handicapper, but enjoyable for the casual golfer, as well.
Jon Scott is rightfully proud of their latest creation and said of Stoatin Brae,
“This ground is fantastic, perfect for this style of golf course. The work that we did here with Renaissance has created something that I think will resonate with golfers for a very long time.”
The Scotts also wanted to make Stoatin Brae a place for social gatherings and events. They went the extra mile to build a modern Clubhouse that makes one feel they are at a high-end private club. The food is outstanding, the views magnificent, plus it is the perfect setting for weddings, corporate events or family gatherings.
The Blue Stem Restaurant offers a diverse menu and has become a meeting spot for locals at lunch time or couples or friends seeking an enjoyable evening repast. If you are staying at the resort, the Blue Stem makes the perfect dining option to close out a day of great golf at Gull Lake View Resort.
Jon represents the third generation of the Scott family and plans to continue to make Gull Lake View Resort one of the best values and destinations available for golfers. In addition to the great golf, Gull Lake offers a variety of outdoor activities, plus nearby Kalamazoo and Battle Creek provide shopping and entertainment for everyone in the family.
The resort sits strategically between Chicago and Detroit on I-94 and is an easy drive from Northwest Ohio. Stop at Gull Lake View Resort as you head farther north, but beware, once you visit, you may not want to leave.
For information on accommodations and packages visit: http://www.gulllakeview.com/accommodations-and-packages/