Michigan's Manistee National, Otsego Club golf resorts up for auction
“We are Michigan Golf.”
The marketing slogan of Osprey Recreational Properties the past couple years made sense. After all, Osprey is one of Michigan’s largest course owners and operators. The company formed in 2003 as a division of a successful commercial real estate developer with a sole purpose of acquiring ailing golf properties and polishing them back into gems again.
Osprey immediately made a splash, purchasing Manistee National in 2004. Within three years, Osprey owned and operated eight high-quality courses, including Black Forest and Wilderness Valley in Gaylord, and two excellent golf resorts, the Otsego Club and Resort in Gaylord and Manistee National.
But the same way that Osprey built much of its golf empire – at auction – could possibly end it. Osprey is preparing to sell Manistee National and the Otsego Club at a sealed-bid auction on Oct. 5, along with Black Forest and Wilderness Valley. CBRE Auction Services will handle the potential sales.
It’s never a surprise when a golf course goes up for sale in this economy. Yet it still saddened and shocked me that Osprey was giving up on an industry it was so committed to the past eight years. Osprey spent big bucks to improve Manistee National and the Otsego Club, also a private ski resort. It became a big sponsor of the Golf Association of Michigan, donated office space for the homeless Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and even funded a scholarship for young golfers heading off to college.
Osprey reportedly is selling off its resorts so it can refocus on its core business of commercial real estate. Osprey plans to keep The Medalist in Marshall and the Ridgeview Golf Course in Kalamazoo, but it will just be a small player in the industry in southwest Michigan, not the golf giant it was the past few years.
Michigan golfers can only pray that a steward as good as Osprey steps in during the auction. Black Forest and The Tribute (pictured above) at the Otsego Club are not only two of the best courses in the Gaylord Golf Mecca but the entire state. Let’s hope they stay that way.
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