Smooth moves and greens

Smooth moves and greens

Crystal Mountain Resort’s Golf Course Superintendent builds consistent conditions through sound practices.


Text: Greg Johnson


Lindsey McPherson of Flushing saw the line on the 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Crystal Mountain Resort’s Mountain Ridge course—a putt that could win the 2017 Michigan PGA Women’s Open Championship.

“I trusted it,” the former-Michigan-State-golfer-turned-LPGA-Symetra-Tour pro said.

She trusted herself, the line she had read, and that the ball would roll true.

“The greens here are perfect, just perfect,” McPherson said.

In the moments after her win earlier this summer McPherson lauded the golf course conditions and the entire look at Crystal Mountain.

“Everything is manicured here,” she said. “I love Crystal Mountain.”

Crystal Mountain has hosted the Michigan PGA Women’s Open for the last 15 years on more than 7,000 yards of greens at Mountain Ridge Course. The 18-hole, championship course, and its sister course Betsie Valley, which recently underwent a $1 million renovation, are well-maintained by the resort’s staff.

Jason Farah, golf course superintendent at Crystal Mountain for both Mountain Ridge and Betsie Valley courses, noted he liked the kind words by a professional golfer regarding the tournament condition he and his crew had worked to create.



“You know, I love it. The Michigan Women’s Open is something we all look forward to, because the day-to-day maintenance to keep a great, consistent condition gets a little monotonous at times, and we get to show off the product to professionals,” Farah said. “It’s a lot of fun. It takes some tough hours for the guys to produce those conditions, but we really do enjoy doing it and hearing nice things.”

The Michigan PGA Tournament Director Justin Phillips said in recent years Farah and his crew keep topping themselves.

“I will think it is great, and then the next year it is even better,” Phillips said. “They really do great work here and they work tirelessly to make sure we have the course ready for the tournament.” Farah, who has been the head superintendent at Crystal for four years, said the goal each day is to have the greens look and roll as smooth as billiard tables.

“We use a roller that is used by a lot of big clubs around the country [Tru-Turf Greens Roller], which has certainly helped us,” Farah said. “It takes hard work, a progression, the right equipment, and then we plan the frequency in which it is used. We mow more often, and we use some growth regulators on the greens.”

Farah said he lets the Crystal Mountain management team know that having great greens takes time and sound repetitive practices.

“You can’t just flip a switch and it happens overnight,” he said. “Depending on the weather you build for a tournament, and you work ahead to keep a great condition all the time for our guests.”



Farah, 47, a Lake Ann resident and married with two children, was the superintendent at Apple Mountain Golf Club in Freeland for 10 years prior to coming to Crystal Mountain. Prior to his current role, Farah worked at Oakland Hills Country Club and throughout the years has been a volunteer, returning to the Detroit area to help the famed suburban club host major championships and the Ryder Cup Matches.

“I’ve learned a lot about getting ready for tournaments and so much more along the way,” he said. “I have a great staff. We really enjoy working here and living here. I don’t think we would change it for the world.”