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The History of Crystal Lake Golf Club

Posted on April 25, 2014 by Jamie Keillor

Crystal Lake Golf Club has been an integral part of the Keillor family since the late 1980’s.  The front nine of the golf course was originally built around 1970.  It was designed by Bruce Matthews and was carved through an old orchard. Bryce Gibbs, the owner, had envisioned Crystal Lake Golf Club as a members only, 9-hole club with a swimming pool. Eventually, the course was opened to the public and has remained that way.  The golf course was later sold to Bob Reischel, and it was then that the plans for the back nine were drafted and roughed in.  Jerry Matthews designed the back nine, but it wasn’t completed until after the Reischel family sold it.crystallakegolfmichigan



Arthur Keillor discovered the course around 1988 and decided to purchase it shortly thereafter. His son Bruce Keillor became the Head Pro and took over operations.  They opened the back 9 and operated Crystal Lake Golf Club as a public 18-hole course.  In 1997 Bruce and son Justin developed plans to eliminate holes 10 and 11 to create room for a driving range, something the course desperately needed.  Justin was integral in designing two new holes back into the space behind the driving range.  Bruce continued running the course until the early 2005 when he decided to take a Head Professional position in the Upper Peninsula.


Justin and I took over operations in 2007 when we moved back to Northern Michigan after spending six years in Naples, Florida.  Justin was an assistant pro at various private clubs in Southern Florida and was ready to return home to carry on the family business.


In 2010, Justin took on major renovations at the club, including adding new bunkers, putting new sand in all bunkers, renovating six new greens and redesigning the 4th hole.  It was a major overhaul, but definitely something that was needed to bring the course up to date.  It was at that time that Justin came up with the idea of a developing a wedding site.  Justin and I worked closely with builders on drafting plans for a tented wedding site and bathroom facility that would become a pivotal part of operations at Crystal Lake Golf Club.

4 green renovation

4 Green Signature (1)

4th hole renovations


The tent site, including full men’s and women’s bathrooms, changing rooms, and storage areas, was built on the area between the clubhouse and driving range.  It overlooks the ninth fairway, with incredible views of Crystal Lake and sunsets that will take your breath away.


Ceremony Site Pic


The first wedding took place on June 26, 2010.  It was a scramble to complete the site in time, but permits were completed on the Friday of the wedding and landscaping went in on the same day.   It was a mad rush, but everything came together.  We were very grateful to family, friends, staff and even some of members who dug in and got dirty.


Jason and Jessica Teteak were married that Saturday and their day was completely magical.  They gathered with 100 close family and friends to celebrate and their day went off without a hitch.  The sunset views that night were incredible, and many times throughout the evening guests stopped to just revel in awe at the beauty that Justin and I had envisioned so many months before.


 Jess & Jasons upnorth Wedding at Crystal Lake 388[1]    

Each and every wedding I set-up and help coordinate, I am completely amazed at the view, the serenity and the beauty of Crystal Lake Golf Club.  Many times throughout each event, I catch myself stopping in admiration and feeling grateful for the history and the family that has brought me to this spot.


Tent from afar