Imagine, a sea of tall wheat grass rippling in the evening breeze as the setting sun illuminates each head of grain. The cows in a neighboring pasture were probably listening to the crickets harmonize in the cool air as they prepared to sleep. This was a dream of many farmers brought to life several generations ago.
Michael E. McBride, an owner and manager of Glen Eagle Golf Club is the son of one of these farmers who owned a dairy and crop farm in Syracuse. When Michael’s siblings decided to move on to other careers and his father was unable to continue farming, they decided a golf course would be the best way to maintain the land and preserve as much green space as possible.
Today you can find the rolling hills of the Glen Eagle Golf Club surrounded by ponds and wetlands with an abundance of ducks, blue herons, hawks; as well as frogs, muskrats and foxes. Those 435 acres are a conglomerate gem made from seven different farm properties Michael and his father helped bring together.
“My grandfather owned about 80 acres of land along the old Syracuse Road, and my father bought that from him as well as another 20 acres from my grandmother’s family, the Walker family,” he said. Michael and his father came up with the idea of a 9-hole golf course in 1978 and later expanded their vision to an 18-hole course. However, the idea didn’t become a reality immediately.
The path to create a golf course
Bill Neff, a golf course architect in Salt Lake City, conducted a feasibility study and helped them see the roadblocks to developing a successful golf course. Among the roadblocks, the area needed a larger population to support the golf course and the recession at the time slowed residential development. Michael decided to delay the project for several years but in the meantime, he joined the Syracuse Planning commission to help upgrade the City Master Plan, infrastructure plan, and zoning ordinances which allowed development for a golf course in the future..
His father was also instrumental in paving the way forward. He joined with other farmers in the area to work with Weber Basin to extend an irrigation pipeline along Bluff Road from 1300 N in Clinton to Gentile Street in Layton. This would bring the needed water to support the farms, the golf course, and provide water for a secondary water system in Syracuse City.
Early in 1991, when the recession was over and residential development increased, he approached the families who owned property that were included in the first feasibility study. To help fund the golf course, Michael formed the SunQuest Development in August 1994. The property included seven farms which totaled 435 acres. Michael and his wife bought the Walter Steed Farm and each subsequent land owner put his property into SunQuest in exchange for a percentage of ownership in SunQuest Development LLC. Those farm owners were Ken Harmon, Darrell Gardner, Bruce Jones and Jim Williams (Mike’s Uncle). The golf course was designed to be built in the interior with residential development intertwined throughout and commercial property along Antelope Drive.
A vision becomes reality
The Glen Eagle Golf Club was started in March 1996 and Michael was inspired to name it as such during the groundbreaking ceremony. “I looked up into the sky and saw two eagles circling above us, and I took that as a sign the golf course should be named Glen Eagle, similar to Gleneagles, a famous Scottish golf course.”