Easters sell DeMor Hills to Justen & Kristy Reitzel 2013.03.27

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Justen and Kristy Reitzel don't see a lot of changes ahead for DeMor Hills Golf Course. As the new owners of Morenci's 18-hole course, their first objective is to continue with the services already in place.

Reitzels"I've been telling Charlie [Easter] we want to keep a good thing going," Justen said.

After several delays, former owners Charlie and Diana Easter met with the Reitzels Monday afternoon to sign the sale papers, ending  28 years of ownership for the Easter family.

There is one change that golfers and non-golfers alike will notice when the course first opens this spring: there will be no full-service restaurant.

With the closing on the sale just this week, the Reitzels are getting a late start to prepare for the golfing season. Golf is the chief product, Justen said, and the restaurant will have to wait.

"There will be food and beverages for golfers," he said. "Just not the full restaurant as in the past."

The Reitzels are well aware of the popularity of the restaurant—even to those who never touch a golf club—and they aim to restore service as soon as possible.

Justen earned a turf grass management degree and has worked as an assistant golf course superintendent for four years. Kristy has office management experience. Visitors will see her in the office, Justen said, while he'll spend a lot of time out on the course.

The Bowling Green couple had heard about DeMor Hills as a good golf course, but had never played a round here until they heard that it was for sale and came to take a look. They liked what they saw. The country atmosphere with its natural setting, the small town link, a family operation—it was just the kind of business they wanted to be associated with.

The Reitzels are in the process of contacting representatives from last year's leagues and they've sent post cards to everyone on last year's membership roster to make sure they know the course will soon open. After all, the word got around that offers were made to turn the property back into farm land after 50 years as a golf course.

"Charlie gets credit for keeping it as a golf course," Justen said.

The offers were there, Charlie said, but he and Diana hated to see that happen.

“We stuck with the plan to keep it a golf course,” he said. “You put 28 years of your life into something and you don’t want to see it go away.”

The Reitzels have heard there was a lot of concern that the facility might close for good.

"It makes us feel good to know that people want it to stay open," Justen said, but for the near future, he wouldn't mind seeing snow in the forecast for a while longer.

There's a lot of work to do with equipment and grounds before an opening date is established, and the Reitzels are still settling into their new home at the course.

“It’s been a bittersweet day,” Charlie said after signing over ownership, but already he knows his life is going to be a lot less stressful.

There’s plenty of hard work involved in running a golf course and restaurant, but there’s a good side, too.

“All the good people we met—that’s how we justify it,” Charlie said. “We wouldn’t have traded it for the world.”

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016