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Indian River Golf Club Welcomes Golfers Longer

By Greg Johnson

Indian River Golf Club is a welcoming place, bills itself as the friendliest golf course in the north and follows that up with a we-are-still-open plan each fall.

“Most of our members are gone, but we try to stay open at least until Halloween,” says General Manager and PGA Professional Corey Crowell. “We’re sort of the only game in town for about 20 miles and we have a group of golfers who keep playing until the weather won’t let them.”

One of 17 member courses in the Gaylord Golf Mecca, Indian River opens each golf season as soon as possible in the spring, and last year they accommodated golfers until November 10.

“The weather is the key,” Crowell says. “I also figure I’m going to be here, I might as well pull a few carts out and let them play. If the weather is nice, we have several rounds, as many as 80 sometimes.”

Indian River has a history of being friendly, not to mention a great history of 100 years that was celebrated throughout the summer. A Monday centennial special attracted new faces, and each month members participated in various events to mark the 100 years. They also held a large July event with bands, golf and more.

It all helped contribute to a big year of golf at Indian River. “It was a tremendous year for us, record-breaking,” Crowell says. “We had a lot of golf at Indian River this year, and we’re still going as long as we can.”

The original nine holes of the Indian River course were first built in the 1920s by Wilfrid Reid, a legendary member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. Some elements of the holes remain much like they were 100 years ago when the club was first established in 1922. In the 1980s after a land trade with a local developer, another nine holes were added by architect Warner Bowen.

Today’s layout plays to 6,692 yards with five tee distance options. Carts are available, but it is a walkable course, too, and always in impeccable shape.

Crowell, leading the efforts at Indian River for seven years, was first charged with bringing in more public play to the member-owned semi-private golf club. He has answered the bell with promotion, joining the cooperative Gaylord Golf Mecca marketing group, but also that welcoming, friendly concept that keeps golfers coming back for more and more, longer and longer.

“We feel like we are in one of the best areas for summer golf in the country,” he says. “And well, we keep summer going as long as we can.”

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