Text: Brenna Buckwald // Photography: Sara Carte, Bob Laperriere, Chuck Richardson
Canadian Lakes, an upscale private recreational community in Canadian Lakes, Michigan, flourishes during the summer season with its multitude of outdoor entertainment venues and options across nearly 7,000 acres of land. Led by Canadian Lakes Property Owners Corporation, the community offers about 350 acres all-sport water, a variety of sports venues, and three onsite golf courses members and their guests can enjoy.
“We’re located about an hour north of Grand Rapids, and membership is based on property ownership. It could be in a couple of different ways: either through a home here or through vacant property,” said Jessica Slendak, marketing director of Canadian Lakes Property Owners Corporation. “Through membership, members own their property.”
Owning property at Canadian Lakes is a membership with many built-in perks, which as Slendak noted also allows members access to the corporation’s indoor and outdoor pool, fitness center, and the water. The land’s total 730 acres of waterways split between 20 lakes and ponds provides opportunities for members and their guests to enjoy boating, beach access, and fishing.
“One of the cool things is that no matter what you buy or where you buy in Canadian Lakes, every member is entitled to lake access,” Slendak said.
There are also sports venues sprinkled across the property, such as pickleball courts, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a softball field—as well as the popular, three corporate-owned golf courses known as The Pines, The Highlands, and The Royal.
The original golf course built at Canadian Lakes, The Pines, offers players a simple and flat course, perfect for family members who are still learning how to play golf, according to Dennis Wolfe, PGA Professional at Canadian Lakes. The Pines and The Highlands are both nine-hole courses with green fees inclusive to Canadian Lakes membership.
“The terrain at The Highlands golf course is very diverse; all the holes are cut through the forest. [There is] a lot of elevation changes, so it has a completely different personality, yet it is short enough that it can accommodate players of all skill level,” Wolfe said.
The Royal is a championship-level, 18-hole course featuring guest-play opportunities for golfers outside of the community through vouchers sold on an online sales program called GroupGolfer. The sales website offers discounted rates to their online following for specific golf courses or clubs by showcasing a different golf deal every day. Although Canadian Lakes is a private community, utilizing GroupGolfer’s services allows them to bring in new business to both the golf course, and the recreational community.
“The GroupGolfer dynamic has brought a really good potential client to our community. We pay close attention to the demographics and the dynamics of the people who came to visit, and we get a lot of repeat business, because we still are engaged with GroupGolfer,” Wolfe said.
“It fills a unique void in our daily schedule and it brings us a solid client, who most of them when they come and visit for a round of golf, they will enjoy lunch or dinner at the restaurant. Many of them are intrigued by the dynamics of our community. [They] realize that we’re a 7,000-acre development with a lot of other amenities,” Wolfe added.
Often referred to as the “19th hole” of The Royal, the Royal Grille overlooks the 18th hole of its namesake golf course and is the perfect place to sit down for a meal and relaxation after a day of golfing. The restaurant provides guests with a menu of comfort foods, including burgers and sandwiches as well as vegetarian options.
“We’re very blessed to have a great golf course maintenance crew and put a great product out there. We’re just very lucky that we have that diversity to accommodate the needs of our own members and the guests that they bring to the community,” Wolfe said.