Forsythe’s firm buys Garland Resort

Garland Resort.

New Frontiers Capital LLC has acquired Garland Resort, a 3,000-acre property with four golf courses in north-central Michigan.

The deal closed earlier this month. It’s unclear how much New Frontiers paid for the resort.

The new owners already have begun work on a laundry list of improvements at Garland Resort. Those include adding a full-service spa and fitness facility, redesigning the public spaces and upgrading the accommodations, renovating the golf course bunkers, putting in fresh landscaping, and paving the entryway, parking lots and cart area, according to Laurie Michael of Garland Resort.

New Frontiers’ holdings include part ownership of the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa and Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark at Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls, Mich. A Boyne Resorts spokeswoman said her company will have no involvement in Garland Resort.

In a press release, New Frontiers chairman Gerald Forsythe described Garland as a “hidden gem.”

Forsythe is chairman and CEO of both Indeck Power Equipment Co., based in Wheeling, Ill., and Indeck Energy Services Inc., based in Buffalo Grove, Ill. He also built and owns Canyata Golf Club, a private club in his hometown of Marshall, Ill., and owns Ironhorse Golf Club, a public facility in Tuscola, Ill.

Garland Resort, which has been owned and operated by the Otto family for more than 50 years, always has been an anomaly. The resort is located in a remote part of Michigan, about 80 miles east of Traverse City. And in a market driven by name-brand architects, Garland’s four courses all were designed by Ron Otto, who has run the resort since the mid-1980s. Starting in 1987, Otto plowed under the resort’s existing 36 holes and, over the next decade, built four courses – Swampfire, Reflections, Fountains and Monarch.

He also rebuilt Garland’s lodge, which had been flattened by a natural gas explosion on Labor Day 2005. Otto expanded the lodge from 27 rooms to what is billed as the largest log-frame structure east of the Mississippi River. Ironically, Forsythe has a 17,000-square-foot log mansion at Canyata.

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