The over 100 year-old classic Donald Ross designed Grand Rapids golf course, The Highlands, formerly the Elks Country Club, is being sold, but not to who you might think.

Originally announced as a property being developed for mixed-use residential, Blandford Nature Center has collaborated with local partners on a transformational land deal that could help reshape a neighborhood on the west side of Grand Rapids.

The MiBiz website reports that along with the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, Blandford is acquiring the adjacent century-old Highlands Golf Course with plans to convert the 121-acre site into a natural area for recreation and education.

“This came out of the blue for us,” said Jason Meyer, the president and CEO of Blandford. “It’s literally a once in forever opportunity for Blandford. Where else can we have 121 acres adjacent to us?”

The partners paid $3.5 million for the property in a deal financed through short-term bridge loans from The Conservation Fund, an Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit that works to preserve natural resources.

While the deal closed last week, the partners say their plans for the property at 2715 W. Leonard St. west of Oakleigh Road, NW, likely will evolve over a period of years — if not generations.

This is a property that I have played tons of times, enjoying every round of golf. Fans will remember the old Charity Golf Classic, and the Senior Open golf tournaments that graced the rolling fairways of this beautiful gem of a golf course. However, time and a lack of money has taken it's toll on the course, and it was time to sell and move on.

You can read the full article here, at MiBiz.