INTERLOCHEN, Mich. – Brad Dean, an award-winning Michigan PGA golf professional, said he hit the ground running after recently joining the ranks of course and restaurant ownership by purchasing Interlochen Golf Course.
“I wasn’t looking for an opportunity, but I’m excited it has happened and we are going to work,” said Dean, who was the director of golf for Crystal Mountain Resort for the last 23 years where he built a reputation as a top instructor, golf manager and player in the Michigan PGA section.
Dean, 50, has started renovation of the club’s restaurant with plans to reopen as “Bradley’s Pub and Grill” in early spring. Interlochen (www.interlochen.org) is home to the world renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts where students study music, theatre, visual arts, film, creative writing and dance as well as present popular public performances and concerts by students, faculty and guest artists.
“Interlochen is a terrific community that is looking to expand its economic base and I am proud to be part of this,” Dean said. “The restaurant is currently the biggest piece because of all that we are doing. The Interlochen community needs another good restaurant, and there is already a really good golf course here.”
Dean’s first hire was a new superintendent. Chris Danbrook, most recently at Lochenheath Golf Club in Williamsburg and previously worked with Dean at Crystal Mountain. Danbrook’s first order of business is to improve course conditions and provide aesthetic changes to improve the golf experience, Dean said.
The course, located just off U.S. 31 and seven miles from Traverse City, plays up to 6,600 yards from the back tees. It first opened in 1965 and Dean is the third owner of the facility. He purchased it from Tony Kochevar, who owned the property for 36 years.
“It is a beautiful course with huge trees and a lot of water,” he said. “There are a lot of holes close together on 150 acres, but it works well. It’s a traditional course, with push-up greens, that is enjoyable to play. We’re going to do some things to open up the entrance and make it more visible from U.S. 31, put up new signage and add new billboards in the area. We want people to stop in, play and have fun.”
Interlochen will remain an affordable public daily fee course with a membership component. While continuing to cater to the affluent “Lake Crowd”, Dean’s high profile stature in Northern Michigan’s Resort Community, will naturally draw in more golf travelers.
For many of these “new golfers”, it will be a good reason to stay an extra night while visiting near by properties, including Crystal Mountain Resort, Gand Traverse Resort and Spa and a wide variety of lodging choices in the Traverse City region.
“The members are also excited,” he said. “In essence for them, we’re giving the entire property, a series of upgrades.”
Dean, a Bellaire native who previously worked at Schuss Mountain Golf Club for five years, said it was hard to leave Crystal Mountain and its owners Chris and Jim MacInnes.
“I owe a ton to them because I learned so much that I can apply to this opportunity,” he said. “They taught me how to put a team together and so much about the business and doing it professionally. I’m working on that right now for Interlochen Golf Club. I want people to come in like they did at Crystal and see a staff with smiles, welcoming them.”
Dean, who played collegiate golf at Huntingdon College in Alabama and played on the professional mini-tour circuit before becoming a club professional, said he may continue with some golf instruction, but is planning to hire a PGA professional to direct instruction and create some junior golf programming.
He was Crystal Mountain’s first PGA professional. In 2003 he was named the Golf Professional of the Year by the Michigan Section PGA. He is also a three-time Michigan PGA Teacher of the Year (1999, 2001, 2011), a three-time Northern Michigan Chapter PGA Teacher of the Year and was Michigan PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Resorts in 2008. He was also instrumental in the Crystal Mountain Golf Schools being named among Golf Magazine’s Top 25 national golf schools.
As a player Dean is a multiple winner of Michigan PGA Northern Chapter events. He has played in several PGA Professional Championships on the national level and in 2008 qualified for and played with the tour stars in the 90 th PGA Championship at Oakland Hill.
Dave Richards, Resort & Golf Marketing, 248-642-6420, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brad Dean, Interlochen G.C., 231-275-7311, email@example.com