Neighboring Sandyland Farms bought the Howard City, Mich., property after its current owners of 31 years decided to sell for private reasons. Owners Mark and Debbie Heath held a thank-you buffet for golfers, members, family and friends on October 21.
Birchwood Golf Course in Howard City, Mich., was sold to neighboring Sandyland Farms on October 3, the Montcalm County Panhandle (Mich.) Daily News reported.
“This post is to make it official that the rumors that have been floating around that Birchwood Golf Course is being sold are indeed true,” stated Birchwood’s Facebook page. “The agreement with Sandyland Farms was completed today. As of October 14th the back nine will be closed to everyone and the front nine will remain open to 2012 members only until the last Sunday of October.”
Mark and Debbie Heath have owned and operated the course for 31 years and held a thank-you buffet for golfers, club members, family and friends on October 21, the Daily News reported.
“We feel comfortable with our decision to sell the course to Sandyland Farms,” Mark Heath said. “They have been our neighbors and friends for a long time.”
The Heaths will keep their house and some acreage near the course, but the property will become farmland. They have not disclosed their reason for selling, the Daily News reported.
“Our reasons are private,” said Mark Heath. “Debbie’s multiple sclerosis is a factor, but not the reason we decided to sell.”
Debbie was diagnosed with relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis five years ago and has used the course to raise awareness and funds through the Play “Fore” the Cure for Multiple Sclerosis golf outing. The last outing raised more than $11,000, the Daily News reported.
“We were able to help so many families suffering with MS this year,” Debbie Heath said, adding that her hope is to continue the fundraiser at another golf course.
Gale Smyth, a longtime golfer at Birchwood and attendee at the thank-you buffet, said the course will be missed, the Daily News reported.
“I started golfing here shortly after they added the new nine,” Smyth said. “I believe in 1969 I started playing. Sure going to miss it here, but I understand their choice to sell.”
Still, the Heaths are thankful for their time at Birchwood, the Daily News reported.
“My kids grew up here,” Debbie Heath said. “I was 21 when we moved here and we are thankful for all the families who have grown up golfing on this course. It was a hard thing to do, but we had to do what was best for us.”