Posted on March 6th, 2018

Our Changing Landscape – Stoatin Brae Golf Course

In this monthly feature, we span the globe to examine Our Changing Landscape with a time series of medium resolution RapidEye satellite imagery. The RapidEye archive dates back to late 2008 and already contains more than 14 billion square kilometers of data. Last month we observed the changing landscape in one of Colorado’s most productive agricultural regions, and for the March edition of Our Changing Landscape we feature the construction of a new, professional-caliber golf course in rural Michigan, the Stoatin Brae Golf Course which is part of Gull Lake View Golf Club and Resort.

Click on the image above to see an animation of 5-meter natural color RapidEye imagery collected over Stoatin Brae Golf Course on September 24, 2015; June 23, 2015; September 6, 2015; August 8, 2016; and May 29, 2017. In this animation, you can see construction progress on this new championship-level golf course from a relatively barren orchard to a shiny new green course dotted with bright sand traps. You can also see just how many golf courses are in this region as within about one mile (~1.5 kilometers) of Stoatin Brae are two more links! (Images Courtesy: © Planet 2018)

The RapidEye Constellation

RapidEye is a constellation of five 5-meter medium resolution satellites each offering five spectral bands of information. The RapidEye constellation offers daily revisits to every location on the planet with a huge footprint that is 77-km wide. The data is priced competitively with a starting cost of $1.28 per square kilometer for all five spectral bands – academics do receive discounts. RapidEye adds a fifth band, the red edge, to the ‘traditional’ multispectral set of blue, green, red and near-infrared (NIR). The additional spectral data in the red edge band allows users to extract more useful land ‘information’ than can be from traditional 4-band imagery sources. When RapidEye imagery is ordered as a Level 3A Orthorectified product, images from multiple dates are extremely well registered, making it the ideal data source for Our Changing Landscape.

The Construction of the Stoatin Brae Golf Course

Gull Lake View Golf Club and Resort is a world-class golf resort with six courses spread over 2,000 plus acres of prime southwest Michigan lake country. The six courses span across ~9.5 miles (15.4 kilometers), east to west, of heavily forested, rolling hills between Richland and Augusta, Michigan. In the Spring of 2015, work on the sixth course, Stoatin Brae, broke ground. Designed by Renaissance Golf Design, Stoatin Brae is located on one of the highest hills in the region – a former apple orchard – at some 950 feet (290 meters) above sea level.

A $5.5 million investment, Stoatin Brae is a links-style course playing 6,742 yards from the gold tees at a 71 par. Featuring bent grass and Kentucky bluegrass, the 18 hole course opened on May 15, 2017 to much fanfare; in fact, it was called one of the nine most awaited courses in 2017 by Forbes Magazine. Stoatin Brae also features a new 3,000 square foot (279 square meters) high-end restaurant called the Blue Stem. As the course was brand new in 2017, some of the fairways have bald areas but as time moves forward, Stoatin Brae is sure to grow into one of the region’s premier courses with unrivaled views of Michigan’s rolling green hills. Now, it is time to check out the 5-meter RapidEye archive to see how this course’s construction proceeded from 2015 to 2017.

If you would like to find out more about using RapidEye for your academic studies, engineering projects or any landscape analysis, let us know at or (303) 993-3863.

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