by Michael J. Wildner Sr., owner, designer & course "pro", also know as "Wildman", or "Wild" if you are into the brevity thing, and "The Northern Michigan Yeti"
[Summer 2010] I have always been on the lookout for the ideal disc golf property. One day, while returning to Traverse City from downstate, along Us-131 just north of Cadillac, I marveled at the landscape on both sides of the freeway and how awesome it would be to fling some discs around on the rolling hills. Then, just south of Manton on the west side of the road, I saw a large "For Sale" sign. The seed was planted! Now, I just needed to find a realtor listing. A bit of searching revealed that the parcel was 44 acres, and they were asking $88,000.
[Fall 2012] Fast forward a couple of years - keeping this property in the back of my mind, I would occasionally check to see if it was still for sale and if the price had changed. At this time the price had dropped to $45,000. I decided to get a better look at the parcel and see how well it would suit my vision. Below are some of the pictures I took during that scouting mission:
[February 7, 2013] By now, the price had fallen to $38,000., and it became too temping not to make a move. After securing the funds, I made my way to the Title Office in Cadillac and made the purchase. My dream was now becoming a reality.
[Spring 2013] The winter was killing me! I coiuld not wait to get out to the property and start building the disc golf course I've always imagined. It was like being an artist with a blank canvas before me - so I set out to map the first 18 holes and a couple of prime campsites - the first one being right at the property entrance and the second on top of the ridge at the northern end. Below are some snapshots of the early construction phase, with help from my wife Jennie and my good friend Mark "Bubba" Boring, both of whom were very critical in helping with the funding of this venture. Seeing that this would be a place where I would be spending a lot of time, the name "Wild Haven" seemed like a natural choice.
[July 19, 2013] With all the Discatchers in the ground, the first run of tee signs made, and the tee areas all well marked, it was time for the grand opening! The Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce was on hand to help me cut the ribbon and introduce this new business to the Wexford ounty area
Campsites with Fire Pits
Porta Jon On Site
"I can easily see Wild Haven becoming one of the top destination disc golf courses in Michigan."
Gregg Hosfeld, 1987 PDGA Pro World's Champion
"One of the best. Period."
- Joe Wingett, Whitehall, MI
"Definitely will go back. Worth the drive from Grand Rapids. Looking forward to camp and a round of glow disc."
- Robert Ramsdell, Grand Rapids, MI