Traverse City News and Events

Reports: Successful Ski Season Ending, Great Golf Season Ahead

March 24, 2017

Welcome to the northern Michigan season when it’s conceivable to take some runs down the ski hill and golf 18 holes in the same day. The Ticker checked in with area resorts to hear how a fantastic ski season is wrapping up and how the 2017 golf season is looking.

The City of Traverse City’s owned and operated Hickory Hills had a record year. Records for most skiers in one day (444), total season skiers (13.559) and revenue ($112,000) were each all-time highs, with final numbers still coming in. Derek Melville, parks and recreations superintendent, also cites a bit of trivia: Visitors from 14 states and four different countries (Brazil, South Africa, Canada and Sri Lanka) rented equipment this season at Hickory Hills.

Across town at Mt. Holiday, growth was seen across the board versus to last season. Lift tickets, lessons, rentals, service, and tubing all grew, with the largest increase in lessons, which Executive Director Ann Pettyjohn, says “was especially exciting….This year saw 189 kids in the program (43 more than we had last year) and we hope it will continue to grow next season.”

At Bellaire’s Shanty Creek, the news was similarly good. Marketing Director Chris Hale notes that the critical holiday time -- which can make or break a ski resort’s season – was as good this season as it was bad last season. December ski revenues were up 166 percent, contributing to an overall ski season increase of 23 percent.

Crystal Mountain’s Brian Lawson says he’d “give the ski season a B-plus,” noting that the season isn’t over yet.

“Snowsport sales are up double digits from last year…and we’ve still got a couple of arrows in the quiver because we’ll likely be open until April 2 [later than last year].

Crystal could be one place very soon you’ll be able to ski and golf on the same day. “We’ve seen years [where that happened]. It did that last year in March, so yes, that’s conceivable this year,” Lawson adds.

Lawson and his peers at area golf courses and resorts are similarly optimistic about the upcoming golf season. “We’re happy with the way our summer numbers are looking now overall. We’re significantly ahead of a year ago,” he says.

Shanty’s Hale says the 2016 golf season was strong on its own, but early bookings are already ahead 10 percent. Shanty Creek will have new co-directors of golf this year. After the head PGA pro moved to Florida, Mike Mooney and Jason Kempfer were promoted to leadership positions.

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa’s Director of Golf Operations Tom McGee tells The Ticker, “Last year was phenomenal for golf, with rounds and revenue up significantly. And this year we’re pacing even ahead of that.”

The Resort has also added an all-new fleet of 215 Yamaha golf cars, a new food and beverage building near the clubhouse, and plans to bring the Dave Pelz Short Game Golf School for several sessions starting in late June. The first of the three Resort courses is likely to open in mid-April, with the other two to follow the two weeks after.

At Elmbrook off Hammond Road, Carolyn Olson says ownership is “reinventing ways to get people to come to Elmbrook and have fun,” including a new Music on the Green concert series that will likely debut in July. She also says new Golf Superintendent Scott McLeod is committed to introducing things like a 5-hole rounds of golf.

And at Interlochen Golf Course, new owner Brad Dean has been busy all winter with a variety of improvements, including the completely reimagined Bradley’s Pub & Grille, which Dean expects to open in late April (the golf course is slated to open April 7). Dean adds that he’s very optimistic: “Our leagues have expanded considerably, the number of outings is already up, and we have many new members.”
 

Comment

Potential $11-$16 Million LaFranier Expansion On County's Agenda

Read More >>

Ransomware Group Claims Credit for TCAPS Attack

Read More >>

Airport Updates: Cherry Fest Air Show Agreement Approved, Tech Park Hearing Scheduled

Read More >>

Traffic Stop Leads to Search of Drug House

Read More >>

One Year of Recreation Cannabis in Traverse City

Read More >>

Tank Space Opens on Eighth, More Retail/Restaurant News

Read More >>

From Neighborhood Bike Club To $730,000 Impact: The History Of Mud Sweat & Beers

Read More >>

TART Trail, Union Contracts, Morgan Farms Neighborhood Association on City Agenda

Read More >>

City Project Updates: FishPass, M-22/M-72 Reconstruction

Read More >>

Your 2024 Spring Race Calendar

Read More >>

Place Your Bets: Expert to Talk Online Sports Gambling Boom

Read More >>

New Designation Means Big Money For Career-Tech Center's Manufacturing Programs

Read More >>

City Considers Taking Over Parking From DDA

Read More >>

What’s Next for the Pines?

Read More >>