Want to own a golf course in a northern tourism hub? Now is your chance as this one’s heading to auction

WOLVERINE, Michigan — In the 1960s, the Wildwood Lakes Golf Course in Wolverine was designed to be the heart of the Wildwood Valley Development.

According to Miedema’s Last Bid Real Estate, three man-made lakes were constructed and buildable lots were sold to establish a small community around the course. Ownership of the course changed twice in the 1990s, and three more holes were added to the layout.

The course sits about 30 minutes from the Mackinac Bridge, as well as Petoskey and Boyne Mountain, all popular Michigan tourism destinations.

Now, current owners Wendy and Randy Loffer and Scott and William Dempsey are ready to make another change — placing the business up for auction.

“We decided it’s time to stop and smell the roses,” Wendy said.

The family ownership group, which includes husband and wife Wendy and Randy and Wendy’s brother and father, purchased the golf course in 1999. Wendy and Randy previously co-owned another course in Kentucky, but after they became pregnant with their first child, they decided to move to be closer to family.

“We realized that we really missed having a golf course,” Wendy said. “We bought it in ’99 and got back into the golf business again.”

They added a bar and restaurant to the nine-hole course, and take pride in the family-friendly atmosphere.

“It’s a benefit to the community,” Wendy said. “It’s very close to Wildwood Lake, which is an all-seasons lake, so they boat and ice fish. And having the golf course there with the bar and the restaurant is really a benefit to the area. It brings people to the area — they don’t have to leave to go somewhere for food or to play golf. It’s like one big family there.”

The course’s website at wildwoodlakesgolf.com boasts that it offers “affordable Northern Michigan golf in a family atmosphere. While many Northern Michigan golf courses charge a small fortune for greens fees, we pride ourselves on keeping our prices low so that you don’t have to go broke to enjoy a round of golf.”

Wildwood Lakes Golf Course in Wolverine, Michigan, is up for auction, including everything from the 54.65-acre course to the restaurant’s liquor license. (Contributed photo)

“We do have a lot of locals who play there just because of the convenience, but we do get a lot of vacationers that are coming through and people like to make it one of their annual stops,” Wendy said.

With the family ready to step back from ownership, Wendy said she’s made a lot of fond memories at the course.

“Looking back and thinking about the years, 24 years is a long time to be here,” she said. “Our kids grew up here. There was a note on the door the day that (my daughter) was born, ‘Keys are in the carts, help yourself, we’re going to have a baby.’ They grew up at the golf course.”

Wendy said her children learned life lessons, like how to mow, cook, clean and talk to customers.

“It was a fabulous, fabulous way for them to grow up,” she said.

The family has hired LASTBIDrealestate.com and Leist Auctioneers to sell the business through a sealed bid auction. According to a statement, the offering includes the 54.65-acre turnkey golf course and all equipment, plus the restaurant’s liquor license. Sealed bids are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 12.

“Everything you need to open the door the day that you buy it,” Wendy said. “You could be in there and operating.”

While Wendy said it would be “great” if the property was kept a golf course, she said she’s excited to see whatever ideas the new owner will bring to the property.

“Whatever the future brings, we’re just excited,” she said. “It would be great, whatever somebody develops it as. It’s going to be an asset, hopefully, to the community. If it’s a golf course, great. That would be great. Something else, maybe a campground, maybe somebody has another idea for the property. It’s a lot of property and the possibilities are endless. We’re just excited to see what somebody does with it.”

To view the auction information, visit bid.lastbidrealestate.com or http://www.gotoauction.com.

Contact reporter Jillian Fellows at jfellows@petoskeynews.com.