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Posted on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

EMU plans $1 million in improvements for Eagle Crest Golf Course

By Tom Perkins


EMU is planning to invest around $1 million to enhance the Eagle Crest Golf Course

Tom Perkins | For

Eastern Michigan University plans to invest about $1 million to improve the Eagle Crest Golf Course several years after it invested around $2 million to renovate the conference center that is part of the Eagle Crest/Marriott resort.

The university recently turned over management and day-to-day operations of the convention center and golf course to Marriott, though EMU still owns both. Marriott has also recently completed updates to the hotel, which is independent of the university.

The aim of the improvements is to attract more corporate and multi-day events to Eagle Crest.

Ypsilanti Township is leasing the land Eagle Crest golf course sits on to EMU for $1 a year for 99 years.

At its Sept. 10 meeting, the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees approved an addendum to that lease that will simplify the process by which the township approves changes to the land. Any changes to the land must be approved by the township.

The EMU Board of Regents approved the addendum at its Sept. 18 meeting.

In fiscal year 2012, 30,000 people played golf at the Eagle Crest course and it brought in $1.7 million in revenue and $400,000 in profit, said Leigh Greden, EMU’s executive director of government and community relations.

Chief Financial Officer John Lumm said in an April interview that the Eagle Crest resort operated at a $280,000 and $180,000 loss the past two years, respectively. This year, the center is anticipated to lose another $125,000 to $150,000.

Eagle Crest is operated out of an auxiliary fund and its operation at a loss does not directly affect classroom funding, Greden said.

One of the goals in improving Eagle Crest’s golf course is landing it on's golf directory, which features around 80 of what it labels as top golf courses worldwide.

Greden said university officials expect that designation, along with the previous investment in the conference center and improvements to the hotel by Marriott, should further boost interest in Eagle Crest and help increase overall revenues.

"That’s a win for the university, which owns the conference center and golf course, a win for the township because it collects taxes from the hotel and a win for the community because it ensures long-term viability of the entire resort,” Greden said.

He said the university is working with golf course design consultants to explore ways to improve the course. They could add new landscaping, reshape tees, reposition bunkers and increase visibility to the lake.

The increased visibility to the lake was a sore point between the university and township earlier this year when large, old trees were cleared from the course without the township’s permission.


Eagle Crest

Tom Perkins | For

Greden said is interested in Eagle Crest because it winds around Ford Lake in a unique and naturally beautiful environment, it's near an airport, it has a conference center and it has many of the other features of an inclusive golf resort.

The university is planning to complete the improvements to the course during the off-season when golfers aren’t playing but there isn’t any snow. That means the schedule stretches for several years, and holes one, five, six and seven are expected to be renovated before this winter.

“If the improvements are completed, that alone should increase traffic to the golf course,” Greden said.

He said it’s the first time the 22-year old course has had major improvements.

“It should dramatically increase excitement of playing and the beauty of venue," Greden said.



Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 10:18 a.m.

"That's a win for the university, which owns the conference center and golf course, a win for the township because it collects taxes from the hotel and a win for the community because it ensures long-term viability of the entire resort," Greden said. I'm a little confused on what taxes the township collects? They township owns the land so it's not property taxes. The university owns the resort so maybe they pay personal property tax? Or is there a room tax on those out of town guest that the township collects?

Geoff Larcom

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

Note: Eastern Michigan University still manages Eagle Crest Golf Course. The Marriott now oversees day-to-day operations at the conference and banquet center, but EMU retains management responsibility over the golf course and its associated facilities. Geoff Larcom is executive director of media relations at EMU.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

Eagle Crest is already pretty tough for me but I haven't been there in a few years. I will have to check it out sometime in the near future if I can find a decent rate. It is on the higher side of courses around here but it is designed well


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

I was told that they had tried to find ways to lengthen the course but simply had no available land to do so. This is great news as the course is lovely and well maintained, but could be longer. I understand the the EMU Golf Team does not play there due to length. I especially hate the 10th, as I always slice my ball into the kitchen staff's smoking area trying to cut the corner. I really wish they'd start preloading the carts with green and white EMU tees just like they do at UofM's course.

Brian Kuehn

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

You regularly slice your tee shoot into the parking lot and want the course to be harder? Looks like you will get your wish.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

How much did EMU raise tuition this year?


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

How does that matter in this discussion?

Marvin Face

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

The link to "Eagle Crest Golf Club" sends one to a golf club in upstate New York named Eagle Crest. Well done. In order to make the golf course desireable to play, it will have to be lengthened considerably. Now it is way too short to be challenging.

Marvin Face

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 2:43 a.m.

I'm not bad, but I wasn't indicating that the course doesn't challenge ME. What I'm saying is that with equipment today, modern courses really have to be 7,000 yards or preferably 7,200 from the tips to be taken seriously. Look, it's never going to be a Kiawah Island and more yardage isn't going to remedy that terrible placement of the driving range but it's longer than the Blue Course at Michigan.

Brian Kuehn

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

The course tips out at 6,722 yards with a rating of 72.9 and slope of 140. Marvin, you are a heck of a player if you find the course too easy.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

Good catch Marvin. I've updated the link. Also, check out my reply to Nick Danger.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Greens Fees are already on the high side when compared to other courses in the area. Once the course lands on's Directory look for the Greens Fees to go up. My perdiction is that both rounds played and revenue will drop. Eagle Crest already has a problem with pace of play, i.e. rounds approaching and exceeding 5 hours. Once the course becomes a "resort course" the problem will only get worse. Their plan is to drive away the local golfers and live off of the Hotel Guests, a plan doomed for failure. The local golfer has many options that offer better value.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

This is great to hear! I love that course to begin with, now they will make it better! Yes, the bunkers could be a little better, but if that's the only problem, I say we have a winner here! Many of my out-of-town friends love that course too and always ask to play it when they come to town. Good for Ypsi! Definitely on the right path!!

Nick Danger

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

Hope they make the course easier for hacks like me


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Nick, play it forward, as encouraged by the PGA of America. RToo many people play the back tees when they have no business doing so.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

Just the opposite Nick- I spoke w/ an employee there a couple weeks back during a round and they are actually increasing the length of the course by a couple hundred yards. Here's a photo of the plans posted on the course's FB page:


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

With $1 million in improvements, maybe they can afford to post their greens fees on their web site now. It'd be nice to know what they charge at different times of the day and week without having to call up and ask.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.



Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

I'm confused. EMU owns these facilities and pays Marriott to operate them and, I guess, for the use of their name, right? So first EMU spent $2 million to renovate a conference center that consistently operates at a loss. Next, "in fiscal year 2012, 30,000 people played golf at the Eagle Crest course and it brought in $1.7 million in revenue and $400,000 in profit." What the heck happened to the other $1.3 million in revenue? And when you subtract the losses of the conference center from the golf course profits, you end up with around $120,000. I just don't see how this is a winning proposition for EMU. What am I missing?


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

I don't know what they pay Marriott in management fees, but golf courses are pretty expensive to operate. They're very labor-intensive and require lots of water, fertilizer and specialized things link anti-fungal agents. It's hard to keep grass alive when you keep mowing it to a height of 1/8th an inch, like they do on the greens.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

I agree with brent. the bunkers are the worst part of the course.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

Education First!


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Don't be a tool.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

18 years here and I've never played there. Maybe I'll give it a try sometime.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

you should, there are some really beautiful hols along the water.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

Hopefully item #1 is putting actual sand in the bunkers! The last time I played there it was packed dirt. Definitely a big turn off! Other than that it is a great course to play. Very challenging and beautiful.