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By Carol Stiffler

After eight years of ownership at the Newberry Country Club, Lance Byrns has decided to sell the 220-acre property. Working with Beth Rose of Beth Rose Real Estate and Auctions, he’s listed the country club up for an online auction that is already underway. The auction ends at 2 p.m. on May 19.

“The timing is just right, with things that are happening in our lives,” Byrns said. ”I like to express it as a life change.”

The golf course will open around May 1, weather permitting, despite the ongoing auction. “We’re fully staffed and ready to go,” Byrns said. “This is just something that’s happening along the way.”

Byrns invested heavily in the property over the past nine years, but his most notable investment and accomplishment has been the design and construction of the new clubhouse. Byrns says he is very humbled and proud to have accomplished that for the community.

After selling the property, the Byrns family will continue to keep a home in the area, which is home to his wife’s side of the family.

Byrns opted for the sale by auction, which is a common way golf courses and resort properties are sold today. Beth Rose, founder, auctioneer, and realtor for Beth Rose Auction, has helped sell several golf courses in northern Michigan, including some in the Upper Peninsula.

“I have a niche in what I do, that I market golf courses,” Rose said. “Auctions are very popular in this use, and always have been.”

Rose credits her marketing reach for reaching a large audience of prospective buyers. “These are people looking to make a business decision and they like the transparency of an auction,” she said.

Anyone who is properly registered can bid on the auction via Rose’s website, bethroseauction.com.

Though the property has been used exclusively for a golf course, and is approaching its 100th birthday, Byrns estimates there are 60 acres of unutilized grounds on the property that could be developed into an associated venture, like a hotel or senior living center.

“It’s teed up,” Byrns said. “It’s basically an entrepreneur’s dream to purchase this, stage it as that, and take it to the next level. If they can put their midas touch on it they can make it into anything they want to.”

That also means the future buyer may opt to do something different with the property.

“There’s multiple uses for that property,” Byrns said. “It’s where the perceived value comes from. I think the lure is going to be the golf course for sure.”

Rose said golf has seen a surge in renewed popularity in recent years, something Byrns has noted as well.

“Michigan golf has never been more popular,” Rose said. “Especially since the pandemic, the golf courses are thriving. It was something people could do in order to get outside. It’s been very good for the golf community and for the owners.”

Byrns said he is looking forward to seeing what the next owner will do with the grounds, and hasn’t determined what his next business venture will be.

“I’m always thinking,” he said. “You never know.”