First Tom Doak-Designed Course to Become Hops Farm

February 17, 2015

Seven years after it closed for business, Tom Doak’s first golf course is ready to start producing rounds.

The property once given over to High Pointe Golf Club, a Doak-designed layout just outside Traverse City in Northern Michigan, has been sold to a local company, which plans to turn the land into a commercial hops farm.

According to the Traverse Ticker, Traverse City-based MI Local Hops purchased the former golf course and surrounding parcels, acquiring a total of 545 acres. The company reportedly plans to plant hops on 200 of those acres this spring.

Opened in 1989, High Pointe, Doak’s first 18-hole project, introduced the golfing public to the throwback stylings for which the architect has since become renown. Its links-like front side gave way to a tree-lined back, with outsize, rumpled greens and numerous nods to old-school design throughout.

The course enjoyed widespread acclaim and was included on GOLF Magazine’s list of Top 100 Courses in the United States. But it closed in 2008, one of many casualties of an economic slump that hit the golf industry especially hard.

While the golf course construction business remains in the doldrums, hops sales appear to be doing fine, spurred in part by a boom in the craft beer movement.

“We have already had a lot of interest from Michigan brewers as well as international hops brokers, so we are feeling good about the market,” MI Local Hops’ Mark Johnson told the Traverse Ticker.

Since building High Pointe, Doak has gone on to international acclaim, with four of his designs ranked on GOLF Magazine’s list of Top 100 Courses in the World.

But he hasn’t forgotten where he started.

“My first born has turned to alcohol,” Doak wrote this weekend in a post on Golf Club Atlas. “Drinks on me.”

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