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By Mike Terrell

The name Lochenheath is a combination of "loch," the Scottish word for lake, and "heath," which identifies the native grasses surrounding the course, according to part-owner Marc Krakow.

When you stand on the wind-swept bluff-that used to be a family cherry orchard, above the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay looking out at Lake Michigan's deep sky-blue waters, it's easy to see how they came up with the name for the Traverse City area's newest golf course development. The cherry orchard had been in the Maitland family for nearly 75 years.

"When we decided to get out of the cherry business a few years ago, we decided to develop the land into a golf course community at the suggestion of our sons, all avid golfers," said Barb Maitland, who with her husband Jim and Krakow have formed a partnership. "We had talked about it before, but when the time came, it really seemed like the best use of the land. It makes a beautiful golf course setting."

Well-known golf course architect, Floridian Steve Smyers, who designed the par-71 course, said when he first looked at the land, "All the ingredients to create a fantastic golf course are present: gorgeous views, wonderful rolling topography and good soil conditions."

"We wanted someone schooled in classic design philosophy like that of Alister MacKenzie and Donald Ross, and Smyers was the perfect fit for what we were looking to develop," said Krakow. "He's designed over 30 championship-caliber courses around the world and at least four of those are considered among the top 100 courses in the world."

Dramatic views of East Bay will come into play on 16 of the holes, and coupled with boldly sculptured bunkers and an abundance of native grasses, each hole will be visually distinctive, promised Krakow. "It would be hard to pick out one hole as a signature hole. It may be a clichˇ, but I like to say all 18 are signature holes."

Four sets of tees-ranging from around 5,000 yards to just over 7,000 will allow all caliber players to enjoy a round of golf on Lochenheath. Bent grass will be used on the fairways, greens and tees, and native grasses in the rough.

All of the bunkers are lined with limestone sand known for its consistency and drainage. "Smyers is known for his meticulous attention to detail, and it shows with the little extras - like the sand and grasses - that he's added to the course," added Krakow.

The course, although long from the tips, was designed with walking in mind, and a caddie program will be available. The unique practice area facility includes a special area for fairway shots, with tees on each end, several targeted greens, and an elaborate area to work on one's short game. A 14,000 square-foot clubhouse will feature a dining room, lounge, and golf shop and men's and women's lockers and baths.

Scheduled to open in May, Lochenheath will allow a limited amount of daily-fee play initially. Eventually it is slated to become a private golf and residential community open only to members and guests. "The development consists of 84 half-acre luxury home sites situated around the golf course directly fronting the bay with a shared commons area and access to two beaches," elaborated Krakow. "There's close to 1,500 feet of bay frontage in the ="http://www.lochenheath.com">http://www.lochenheath.com. Troon Golf, a world leader in marketing of upscale golf properties, has been hired to manage the golf club operations and will be in place when the club opens this season.

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