In 2012, Mistwood Golf Course owner, Jim McWethy, began a spectacular renovation that would take 2 years to complete—on a course that was designed in 1998 by Michigan architect Ken Hearn. His love for the game, and his passion for his facilities is readily apparent in every aspect of this undertaking. Over the spring and fall of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, renovations were completed in multiple parts, beginning with a complete overhaul of the drainage system and concluding with the full-service clubhouse, McWethy’s.
This endeavor—begun at a time when the financial state of most typical golfers was sketchy, at best—was a gamble. He adopted an “if you build it, they will come” mentality, and threw himself fully into the renovation. It was a risky move, and judging from the accolades he and his course have received, it’s paid off.
Golf Digest: Best New Course 2013, December 2013
Golf Range Magazine: Top 50 Public Range, January 2014
GOLF Magazine: Best US Renovation You Can Play, January 2014
Golf Inc. Magazine: Top “Renovations of the Year” in the World, July 2014 (yep, that says “In the WORLD”)
Golf Range Magazine: Top 50 Public Range, December 2014
Golf Digest: America’s 100 Best Clubfitters, May 2015
Stage 1: The Course
The new design called for added rock walls around the ponds and lakes, and 20 stack sod-walled bunkers. As if that wasn’t enough, they completely rebuilt the third hole. The par-5 hole was converted to a semi-island green, relocating it from behind a stream to in front of a pond. From their website: “Mistwood has five tee placements per hole, with the ability to now play over 7,000 yards.” They replaced the traditional rough with fescue, reducing pesticides and maintenance, and increasing habitats for local wildlife, which thankfully does not include alligators!
Stage 2: The Performance Center
After 7 years of planning, construction for the 5,000 square foot performance center began, and passers-by would often mistake it for a new clubhouse. Jim McWethy’s dedication to a successful renovation was apparent in the details from very early on in the process. Now that it’s complete, it boasts award-winning club fitting, a restaurant/bar for snacks, 11 climate-controlled hitting stations, 2 climate-controlled training stalls, and some high-tech training tools for ball flight and putting analysis.
Stage 3: The Clubhouse
The new 26,000 square foot clubhouse, McWethy’s, opened in June of 2015. It seats 300, and the menu is completely loaded with typical Irish and American fare such as shepherd’s pie, Reubens (who could rue a Reuben??), steaks, hamburgers, and a huge selection of wine, mixed drinks, and beer. The interior is breathtaking in design and decor, and the service impeccable.
Connected to the restaurant is a full banquet hall which can accommodate 220+ guests for a wedding, fundraising event, or golf outing and reception. They also have the capability to seat 300 guests in an indoor/outdoor tented area.
Also included in the renovations was the addition of a short game area, allowing for chipping and pitching practice. While Mistwood is a public course, membership is an option, which includes access to an exclusive area, allowing them to avoid the crowds, or find a more quiet area to practice. These areas feature both grasses and mats.
While the renovation was quite evidently a costly endeavor (an amount that he has yet to divulge, other than to say that it was “significant”) during a time when his return on his investment was a huge unknown, Jim McWethy spared no expense. He put his faith in his course designer, his contractors, and in the true golfers he knew would appreciate the details. He took a gamble and won.
For more details about the course and the facilities, visit the Mistwood Golf Course website.