GAM’S Must-Play: The Lynx in Otsego is Looking Great
OTSEGO – With each day, each trimmed away tree and mowing, each improvement project in and around The Lynx Golf Course, the vision of Jim Szilagyi and his partners becomes clearer.
A premier customer-friendly golf destination, a must-play public daily fee golf venue and Golf Association of Michigan member course is being polished and prepared in the Southwest corner of Michigan, just five minutes from U.S. 131, 22 minutes from Kalamazoo and 35 minutes south of Grand Rapids.
“We’ve made some dramatic improvements so the golfer can see the gorgeous scenery here, the great natural elevation changes, a place where the game can be enjoyed by everybody in the family and for various reasons,” said Szilagyi, who with a partnership group purchased the course in 2013.
“We went to work on opening up some areas so the golfer can hit the ball and find it, and we changed things around in the clubhouse, changed the menu, started providing high quality service, really tried to make it a more comfortable place, a more fun place. It’s getting better each day.”
The Szilagyi group is the third group of owners of the 16-year-old course designed and built by Charlie and Jon Scott, and the new owners want you to be able to see the sweeping elevation changes, the park-like setting that gives way at times to the isolated hilly style of golf golfers are more apt to find in Northern Michigan.
The sweeping No. 10 hole with its 85-foot drop is offered with an even better look with some trimming back of trees and vegetation. It’s also much easier for golfers to find wayward shots as well.
Weddings are often held at The Lynx where great vistas abound, and a new chapel area is being constructed behind the 18th green to offer even more options. Yes, golfers can take the plunge on the No. 10 tee that plunges into the beauty of West Michigan.
“The golfer can get married here, play here, eat here, bring his family here, it’s that kind of place we are providing,” Szilagyi said.
The golf happens on a 6,471-yard layout that has four tee positions moving up to 4,429 yards and slope ratings from a high challenge of 141 to 109 for the golfers on the other end of the spectrum.
“We’re improving the conditioning and the design speaks for itself,” Szilagyi said. “We just had to open things up, like the holes that run along the Kalamazoo River. You can see the river now and it’s a special part of the golf course.”
Szilagyi grew up in the Detroit area, the son of a PGA Golf Professional Bob, who managed two prominent courses in his career – Salem Hills in Northville and Godwin Glen in South Lyon until his retirement. He said he often talked with his father about owning a course one day to provide the best for golfers.
“My father was immersed in every element of golf club operation, from advice on the swing to the grass on the course,” he said. “He knew what golfers cared about and the things you had to provide to get them to play your course and come back to play again.”
Szilagyi is a first-time golf course owner, but well known in Michigan golf through his father, his career in broadcast sales in Detroit, his top golf abilities in the Michigan Publinx Golf Association, his service on the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Board not to mention his two-sport participation in college days at Central Michigan University. He golfed and played defensive back on CMU’s 1974 Division II national championship team.
“I love Michigan and I love golf and I want The Lynx to reflect that,” he said.
His staff reflects his goals and background. He hired Gene Bone II as his head golf professional. Bone is the son of a Michigan Golf Hall of Famer and golf professional. Bill Eitel, after a long career at the former Hidden Valley Golf Course, is the golf course superintendent.
“We’re of one mind as to what it takes to shape The Lynx into one of the best golf clubs and facilities in Michigan,” Szilagyi said.
The course can be found on your GPS at 900 Lincoln Road in Otsego. For information visit www.lynxgc.com or call 269-694-5969.
A view of the clubhouse from No. 18 green.
The par 5 No. 8 hole is a steady climb.
The par 3 No. 14 hole is adjacent to the Kalamazoo River.
A dramatic view from the No. 10 tee.
No. 16 curls into evidence that the property was once a Christmas Tree farm.