New owners making improvements at Firefly Golf Links

June 6, 2019

By Pat Maurer

Russ and Sarah in front of the course at Firefly Golf Links just north of Clare.

Firefly Golf Links, just two and a half miles north of Clare at 7795 South Clare Avenue, and a fixture in the area for nearly 85 years, has a new owner.

Russ Winter, the owner of Farmers Insurance Agency in Clare, and his wife Sarah are the new 18-hole golf course owners, taking over the business in early April.

“My dad, Attorney Jack Winter, was an avid golfer at Firefly when it was still called Twin Elms,” Russ said. “I remember golfing with him. He would have loved being a part of this new adventure.”

“This has always been my dream job,” he added.

Russ, his wife Sarah, who is a Recovery Nurse at McLaren Hospital, and the couple’s blended family of five children plus a nephew (ages 12-18), will all be involved in the day-to-day operations at Firefly, he said.

The two oldest, Russ’s oldest Tarryn and Sarah’s oldest, Dylan Morrish will both graduate from Clare High School this month. The others in the family include Alayna, Aydin and Isiah and a nephew Alan. “They will all be helping out,” Russ said. Even his Mother Jan Winter is a part of the new “adventure” and will be on hand to greet customers in the Pro Shop.

“It won’t be unusual to see the kids working alongside us,” Russ said.
In fact with spring here, the whole family is busy learning the ins and outs of running a classic golf course. That means increasing the leagues and outings, Russ said. “We also have some excellent membership deals for individuals, couples, corporate players, seniors and veterans, and we are planning a special 85th Anniversary three-year limited membership.” They welcome golf outings, leagues and much, much more.

Russ, raised in Clare, graduated from CHS in 1986. The family moved to Clare in 1969 from Ferndale near Detroit when Russ was just a year old. “Russ was born just three days after Jack graduated from law school,” Jan said.

Firefly, originally a nine-hole golf course, expanded to 18 holes in the 1990s. The scenic course features a putting green, clubhouse, lounge and bar. The course is open seven days a week from sunup to sundown. In addition the insurance agency has been relocated and is now a part of Firefly’s Pro Shop.

The Firefly lounge is open the same hours and features a delicious menu serving wraps, burgers, hot dog baskets, grilled sandwiches and even breakfast sandwiches.

We’d like to thank Darrell, Linda, Fran, and Nancy for all their years of service to a great community attraction!!! We appreciate their continued support,” Russ added.

The Clare Chamber website said, “Built in the early 1930’s as a 9-hole course, Firefly Golf Links is Clare County’s oldest golf course. Expanded to 18 holes in 1992, it became one of the most in-demand courses in the area. Although it’s under new ownership, the name will remain the same, which is very cool!”

Stop in anytime and welcome the Winter family in their new enterprise, give them a call at 989-386-3510, or email them at They are on Facebook.

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