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New golf course in DeWitt Township labor of love for father, son

It took a tag-team effort, but a nearly two-decade labor of love will come to fruition Friday when what will eventually be Michigan’s first 12-hole golf course opens for the first time.

The Woodside Golf Course stretches over 146 acres along Wood Road north of Lansing and represents a growing push among golf enthusiasts to make the sport more attractive to people who don’t have time to enjoy a full 18 holes.

Experts like six-time Masters Champion Jack Nicklaus have been touting 12-hole courses as a way to make golf less time consuming.

The course almost opened to the public last summer as Kirkside Golf Club. But a series of problems arose that eventually led to the sale of the property last month to Daryl Kesler, owner of Hawk Hollow Properties Inc.

Neighbors and passers-by since the mid-1990s watched John Kazenko and his son, Doug, painstakingly mold the golf course from scratch, clearing trees for fairways and in the early years, using hand tools to shape the ground.

Kesler’s crew occasionally lent a helping hand, but once ownership changed hands a full-court-press effort to open for play commenced.

“John baked the cake. We’re just putting the icing on top,” Kesler said of the Kazenko family efforts.

Kesler’s company owns the Hawk Hollow course in Bath Township and the Eagle Eye and Falcon golf courses in East Lansing.

Nine holes are ready to play at Woodside beginning Friday. Holes 10 through 12 of the original design are going through slight modifications.

The final project, which should be completed next year, will make Woodside the first 12-hole course in Michigan and among the first nationwide.

“Golf is changing a little bit, and we’re trying to change with it, to think outside the box,” said Alex Coss, general manager of Eagle Eye.

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