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Dr. David Thomas Quanbeck, a beloved Child of God, passed away on November 15 at Rainbow Hospice in Johnson Creek, WI, with the super-moon of 2016 shining overhead. He was 80 years old.

David was the youngest son of Thor and Hilda (Ostlie) Quanbeck. He is survived by his wife, Anita Quanbeck, of Watertown, WI; his brother Alton Quanbeck of Middleburg, VA, and sister Dorothy Johnson of North Branch, MN; four sons: Cameron (San Mateo, CA), Eric (Watertown, WI), Chris (Santa Clara, CA), and Andrew (Madison, WI); daughters in-law Laura (Holl) Quanbeck (San Mateo, CA) and Jamie (Graham) Quanbeck (Madison, WI); five grandchildren: Emma, Luke, and Hanna Quanbeck (San Mateo, CA) and Graham and Alexandra Quanbeck (Madison, WI); and his golden retriever Barney of Watertown, WI.

David was born on October 26, 1936 in Fargo, North Dakota. As a child, he showed an early interest in biology and anatomy. David pursued these interests through his undergraduate studies at Waldorf and Augustana, where his father Thor was a professor of theology. David went on to earn an MD from the University of Chicago, an experience that he reported to be particularly grueling (he was not a man prone to exaggeration or self-pity). He served his nation as a doctor at Glasgow Air Force Base in Glasgow, MT, between 1963 and 1965. He completed his medical residency at the University of Wisconsin in 1971 with a specialty in urology.

During his residency, David was introduced to his future wife by a mutual friend who knew that they both loved opera. Anita was teaching nursing at the University of Wisconsin at that time. Opera brought them together and bound them together for the rest of their lives. They were married in 1969 and went on to raise their four boys in Watertown, Wisconsin. David served the community of Watertown as a physician until his retirement in 1998, passing the torch to Dr. Ron Sakovich. As a physician, he alleviated suffering for thousands of his patients and saved many lives. He led a life of tireless devotion to his work. He was nearly always on call and responded to medical emergencies day and night. In 1974, he traveled to Madagascar to teach a desperately needed medical procedure to his cousin Stan Quanbeck and his wife Kathie, who ran a missionary hospital serving the native Malagasay people. In his retirement, he spent his time raising shiitake mushrooms, volunteering his medical expertise as a physician at the Watertown Area Cares Clinic, and helping feed members of the community through Immanuel Lutheran Church’s food pantry.

David was beloved by his family and many close friends. All who were close to him respected him for his undying commitment to his fellow human beings. This commitment started with those closest to him-his family- before radiating outward to the community he lived in, and extending across the entire world. David loved God, his family and friends, his dog Barney, his country and the ideas it stands for, golf (Watertown Country Club champion, 1976), football (he earned the nickname “No-neck Quanbeck” for his buff physique as a player, was a Badger season ticket holder since 1970, and a diehard Packers fan), classical music, fine food and drink, and literature. His immense intellect was fueled by an insatiable love of reading that persisted until his final days on Earth.

David’s gentle, generous, and loving spirit will live on in the memories of the countless people whose lives he touched. A memorial service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church on Sunday, December 4, 2016 with Rev. Todd Iverson presiding. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Watertown Area Cares Clinic (watertownareacaresclinic.org) or the Immanuel Lutheran Church food pantry (www.watertownimmanuel.org). Visitation will begin at 4 pm (so as not to interfere with the Packers’ game, which David will be busy watching with God until about 3:15 pm), with the memorial service beginning at 5 pm.

Pederson-Nowatka Funeral Homes is caring for the family. On-line condolences may be made at www.pn-fh.com


Audrey Pagel has provided this picture from 1936 which shows the caddies at Watertown Country Club.

The possible identities of the caddies, as of June, 2016, are as follows, from Left to Right:

Fredrick Wesley "Fred" Pagel (1922 - 1997); Richard "Dick" Hefty (1924 - 1945, in a car accident west of Ixonia); William F.  "Bill" Kraemer (1919 - 2011); Ralph Oscar "Butch" Ertl (1921 - 2006); Wilbert Frank Grover "Whip" Seefeldt (1923 - 1997); George W. Prahl (1923 - 2016).


The 1969 Watertown Country Club Membership List as a PDF document.


Come golf at Watertown Country Club. Sometimes our golf holes are very scoring friendly!

   

These two pictures show one of the six holes that were temporarily modified for a special member golf appreciation event held on Saturday, September 13th, 2014, at the Watertown Country Club. The approximate diameter of these temporary cups appears to be 10 to 12 inches. These pictures were taken on hole No. 14.


Typical example of the new hole yardage signs for 2015, which include the updated yardages for four different tee locations.


The new design score card which debuted in 2015. The hole shown in No. 14. Please note there are now four teeing locations for each hole, with the new hole distances shown.


The previous design score card which debuted in 2013. The hole shown in No. 13.


Ronald L. "Ron/Ox/Dr. O" Vaught won the 1983 Watertown Country Club Golf Championship. Shown L to R, are Gene "Geno" Frank (WCC Golf Professional), Jim Wade (runner-up in 1983), Ron Vaught (The Champ), and Wayne "Gutzie/Don Carlo Gutzini" Schultz (attendee). Ronald L. "Ron" Vaught died Saturday, July 10, 2010, in Watertown, WI, at age 64.


July 13, 2010

Ronald L. Vaught

Ronald L. Vaught, 64, of Watertown, passed away on Saturday, July 10, 2010, at Watertown Regional Medical Center. Ronald was born on June 21, 1946, in Watertown, son of Keith and Viola (Krueger) Vaught. He was a 1964 graduate of Watertown High School. He worked at Watertown Table Slide and Reiss Industries in Watertown. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Watertown, where he had been the head usher. Ronald was a former member of the Watertown Country Club and was the club champion in 1983. He loved to bowl and was an avid hunter. Memorials to First Baptist Church would be appreciated. He was the last surviving member of his immediate family. Survivors include one cousin, Emily Krueger of Watertown, and his many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and an aunt. Funeral services will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pederson Funeral Home in Watertown with the Rev. Allan Kranz officiating. Visitation will be on Thursday from 5:30 p.m. until the time of service at the funeral home. Burial will take place on Friday at 9 a.m. in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery, Watertown. The Pederson Funeral Home in Watertown is in charge of the arrangements.


Watertown Country Club, Sunday, September 27, 2009. L to R: Phil Groehler, Rocky Bohlman, Pat Groehler, Bruce Frey, Phil Buss and Leigh Larson.

10W x 8H x 180DPI


16W x 9H x 300 DPI

6W x 4H x 300 DPI

Watertown Country Club, Saturday, September 20, 2008. L to R: Pat Groehler, Rocky Bohlman, Bruce Frey, Lyle Kuckkan and Mike Groehler.


6W x 4H x 300 DPI, from #4 Fairway

6W x 4H x 300 DPI, from #3 Fairway

6W x 4H x 300 DPI, from # 7 Fairway

The historic floods of June 2008 at the Watertown Country Club, Watertown, WI.



Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, WI, Saturday, June 26, 1954, Centennial Edition

Watertown Country Club Was Organized in 1922

The Watertown Country Club, now one of the finest small city golf and social clubs in the state, was officially organized as a golf club on June 5, 1922, by five men interested in advancing the sport in this area. The five who got the organization started were G. H. Lehrkind, G. C. Lewis, B. E. Kelley, H. C. Whitmore and W. H. Woodard. The first meeting of the new organization was held on June 23 and 82 charter members appeared for the initial session. The first officers of the club were W. H. Woodard, president, B. E. Kelley, vice president, A. N. Thauer, secretary, and Fred SiegeIr, treasurer. The first board of directors included W. H. Woodard, B. E. Kelley, E. H. Hoerman, G. H. Lehrkind, C. C. Wertheimer, H. P. Bowen and A. N. Thauer. Several charter members are still active in the club. They are John Salick, Wallace Thauer, 0. E. Hoffman, F. W. Pfeifer, L. M. Bickett and George Richards.

Interest Grows

Interest in the golf club grew rapidly and about 55 acres of land was purchased from Gustavus Austin for the site of the golf course. Later seven acres of land near the old quarry were added to the holdings of the club. A clubhouse was constructed on the property and the old buildings served as headquarters for city golfers for 30 years. Finally, the growth of the club forced it to build more extensive quarters and in 1949 the beautiful new clubhouse was authorized. The structure was completed in 1950 in time for the start of golfing. A new machine shed to house the mechanical equipment and other materials was also constructed and an old barn and silo on the property razed. Over the years the face of the course had been modified with the shifting of greens and tees but the general layout has remained pretty much the same down through the club's history. The winding creek and the many trees have given the course the reputation of being one of the sportiest nine-hole layouts in the state. The well-manicured fairways and greens have added to the reputation of the course. Though the club has had a lot of good golfers, three players stand out as tops. They are Dr. N. T. Sunby, Harvey Riedeman and Budd Riffle. Riedeman posted a 64 for 18 holes in 1939 to beat Walter Hagen's mark of 66 by two strokes. Riffle shot a 30 in 1940. Par for the course is 34.

Fendts on Job

The Fendt family has had a “corner” on the custodian's job for 20 years. Gene Fendt served the club for 14 years and now Gary Fendt has been with the club for six seasons. Construction of the new club­house has provided more space for members and new activities and the total membership now is 209. There are 100 regular members, 35 associates, 42 social, 14 ladies special, 14 student and four non­resident. A broad activities space in the clubhouse has been the scene of many dinner dances and other social functions recently. A well-planned program of special events, both golfing and social, is creating a continuing interest in the club.


Short History of the Course

 The Watertown Country club was organized when eighty-two people signed its articles at the first meeting June 3, 1922. The president was William H. Woodard, a local attorney. Over fifty acres of farmland north of the city were purchased from Gustavus Austin. The property included a house, barn, and shed. Electricity, a telephone and furnishings were installed in the farmhouse, which became the clubhouse. The barn housed the course maintenance equipment. The entire farmland was plowed and earth moved to create the course.

       

Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI in 1873, 1890 and 1910

       

Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI in 1929, 1971 and 1978




Buel A. Austin was born December 31, 1818, in Torrington, Litchfield Co., CT, and died July 22, 1855, in Dodge Co., WI, at age 36 years, 7 months, 23 days. Buried in Emmet Cemetery, Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. Austin Buel was admitted as a Freeman in Torrington, CT, in 1839, and was living in Waldo Lyon, Dodge Co., Wisconsin Territory, in 1844.

Lusenda S. Mead was born September, 1827, in New York, and died January 20, 1903, in Jefferson Co., WI, at age 75. Buried in Emmet Cemetery, Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI.

Buel A. Austin and Lusenda S. Mead were married December 8, 1845, in Dodge Co., Wisconsin Territory.

Buel A. Austin and Lusenda S. (Mead) Austin had two children:

  1. Charles Austin: Born October, 1848, in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI; Died 1936 in Price Co., WI (about age 90). Buried in Hillside Cemetery, Omega, Price Co., WI. Married August 25th, 1876, in Wisconsin to Selma J. Revo: Born July 4, 1852, in Prussia, Germany; Died January 22, 1935, in Omega, Price Co., WI (age 82). Buried in Hillside Cemetery, Omega, Price Co., WI. She immigrated in 1860.
  2. Gustavus D. "Gust" Austin: Born August, 1853, in Emmett Twp., Dodge Co., WI; Died 1925 in Wisconsin (about age 72). Buried in Emmet Cemetery, Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. Never married.

 

 

History of Mower County 1884 - Clayton Township

Charles Austin was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, October 21st, 1846. His parents were Buel and Lucena (Mead) Austin, both natives of the East. His father was at one time a manufacturer of buttons in Connecticut. Charles received a common school education, and remained at home until he was twenty-eight years old. He owned with his brother 108 acres of land in Wisconsin. He sold out his interest and moved to Taylor county, Wisconsin where he took a homestead of eighty acres and bought eighty acres, and worked it for six years, when he sold and moved to Trempealeau county, Wisconsin, and remained a few years, and then moved to Clayton township, and purchased the northeast quarter of section 1. He was married August 25th, 1876, to Selma Revo, a native of Germany. They had one child, Arthur Austin, aged six years. Mr. Austin is a Republican, and is a prominent man in Clayton Township.
 

 

Buel A. Austin was the original owner of the lands upon which the original nine-hole course was built. Shown below is more information about this original owner.

On December 8, 1845, Buel Austin married Lucinda S. Mead in Dodge Co., Wisconsin Territory.

The 1846 Wisconsin Territorial Census shows Buel Austin is living in Emmett Twp., Dodge Co., Wisconsin Territory.

Listed below are the lands purchased by Buel Austin from the U.S. Government.

Name

Land Office

Total Acres

Issue Date

BUEL AUSTIN

GREEN BAY Dodge Co.

45.58

May 1, 1848

BUEL AUSTIN

GREEN BAY Dodge Co.

40

March 01, 1850

BUEL AUSTIN

MILWAUKEE Dodge Co.

40

September 1, 1844

BUEL A AUSTIN

MILWAUKEE Dodge Co.

80

September 1, 1844

Link to Buel Austin Land Patent 1.

Link to Buel Austin Land Patent 2.

Link to Buel Austin Land Patent 3.

Link to Buel Austin Land Patent 4.


Evening Courier, Milwaukee, WI, May 8, 1847;

also in Watertown Chronicle, Watertown, WI November 10, 1847;

also in Wisconsin Democrat, Green Bay, WI November 6, 1847

Military Appointments by the Governor, April 13, 1847

Dodge County, Comp. No. 8: Matthew Norton, Capt.; Buel Austin, 1st lieut.; Derastus K. Cady, 2d lieut.


The 1850 U. S. Census taken on October 7, 1850, shows Buel Austin (age 32) born in Connecticut with real estate of $2,000 is a Farmer and is living in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. Living with him is Lucinda Austin (age 23) born in New York. Also living there is Charles Austin (age 2) born in Wisconsin.


The Watertown Chronicle, Watertown, Jefferson Co., WI, Wednesday, February 22, 1854

Ho for California.

The road to California is not likely to become overgrown by grass and weeds very soon, if we may judge by the continued arrival from, and the number leaving town almost daily for that "land of gold" and human depravity. The following gentlemen have left this place for California during the past week or ten days: James Killian, Stephen Pentony, John Helm, Martin Fehally, Lawrence Wallace and a Son, of this place, and a son of Charles Murray of Emmet. The following left to-day: Edward Ryan, Buel Austin, Michael Morrissey, Patrick Smith, Thomas Lynch, P. White and John Corbett, all from this city for California direct. We wish they may all realize a handsome pile, and return in health to enjoy the fruits of their labor.


The 1855 Wisconsin State Census shows Buel Austin is living in Emmett Twp., Dodge Co., WI.

Buel A. Austin died July 22, 1855. Buried in Emmet Cemetery, N1563 State Highways 16/26, Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI.


Emmet Cemetery, N1563 State Highways 16/26, Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI.

Cemetery was established in 1874. The cemetery site was officially plotted in 1853. Land was donated by the Roswell Crandall family in 1855. It is currently cared for by the Emmet Townliners 4H Club.

Austin, Buel: born December 31, 1818; died July 22, 1855 (age 36 years, 7 months, 23 days)

Austin, Lusenda: born 1827; died 1903

Austin, Gust: born 1852; died 1925


The 1860 U. S. Census taken on June 14, 1860, shows Lucina Austin (age 32) born in New York with real estate worth $2,060 and personal estate worth $42 is a Farmer living in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. Living with her: Chas. Austin (age 12) born in Wisconsin; and Gustavus Austin (age 6) born in Wisconsin.

The 1870 U. S. Census taken on June 10, 1870, shows Lucinde Austin (age 43) born in New York with real estate worth $5,000 and personal estate worth $1,000 is a Farmer living in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. Living with her is her: Charles Austin (age 23) born in Wisconsin, a Farmer; and Gustavus Austin (age 17) born in Wisconsin, a Farmer.

The 1875 Wisconsin State Census taken on June 1, 1875, shows Lusinda Austin is the Head of Household and is living in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. Living in the household: 2 Males, 1 Female.

The 1880 U. S. Census taken on June 30, 1880, shows Lucinda Austin (age 38) born in New York to New York-born parents is a widowed Farmer living in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. Living with her is her unmarried son Gustavus Austin (age 26) born in Wisconsin to New York-born parents who is At Home.

The 1895 Wisconsin State Census taken on June 20, 1895, shows Mrs. L. Austin is the Head of Household and is living in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. There are 1 Male and 1 Female living in the household, both born in the U. S. A.

The 1900 U. S. Census taken on June 2, 1900, shows Gustaviss Austin (age 46) born August 1853 in Wisconsin to Connecticut and New York-born parents is an unmarried Farmer owning his own farm in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI. Also living there is his widowed mother, Lucena Austin (age 72) born September 1827 in New York to New York and Connecticut-born parents, with the only child born to her still living.

Lucinda S. (Mead) Austin died January 20, 1903, in Jefferson Co., WI, at age 75. She is buried in Emmet Cemetery, N1563 State Highways 16/26, Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI.

The 1910 U. S. Census taken on April 15, 1910, shows Arthur H. Austin (age 30) born in Wisconsin to Wisconsin and German-born parents is a Farmer owning his own farm with a mortgage and is living in North Crandon Twp., Forest Co, WI. Living with him is his wife of 5 years, Myrtle F. Austin (age 29) born in Wisconsin to Indiana and Wisconsin-born parents, with both of the children born to her still alive. Also living with him are his daughters, both born in Minnesota to Wisconsin-born parents: Claire M. Austin (age 4); and Lucile M. Austin (age 4). Also living there is Arthur's unmarried uncle, Gust. D. Austin (age 56) born in Wisconsin to Connecticut and New York-born parents, who is a Farm Laborer. The Charles Austin family lives on the next farm.

The 1920 U. S. Census taken on January 19, 1920, shows Gustoph Austin (age 68) born in Wisconsin to Vermont-born parents is unmarried and not employed, and living alone on the farm he owns in Emmet Twp., Dodge Co., WI.

A watering system for the greens was installed in 1923 when the course opened for play.

Gustavus D. Austin died 1925 in Wisconsin.

A full-time greens keeper, John Stiemke, was employed in the 1930s. 


The Wisconsin State Journal, Madison WI, Tuesday, June 6, 1939

Watertown Pro Sets Court Record

WATERTOWN, WIS. - Freddie Adams, Oconomowoc, new professional at the Watertown Country Club, Monday posted a course record. He toured the nine-hole Watertown course in 30-32 for 62, six under par. Until recently he had been one of Oconomowoc's best amateur golfers.


By 1941 the 100 member roster was full. 


Watertown Daily Times, Watertown WI, February 23, 1948

New Club House At Golf Course One Step Nearer

New Locker Room For Present House Is Also Approved

Action was taken at Sunday afternoon's adjourned meeting of the Watertown Country club to bring a new club house one step closer to realization. The membership voted to increase the annual dues $10, with the stipulation that the increase be segregated and used for the building of a new club house. Membership dues, including taxes, are $42.00. The dues for the current year will be $52.00. The increase applies to both regular and associate memberships. Other memberships will be increased 25 percent, which is the approximate increase for the regular and associate memberships. The increase in dues is one of a number of suggestions which a special committee, appointed a month ago, made to the meeting. The meeting also acted favorably upon other suggestions of the committee. It was agreed that the erection of a new club house, at the present time, is out of the question, due to high building costs. In view of this, the membership  agreed to the suggestion of the special committee that some structure should be purchased, either metal or wood, which could be used temporarily as a men's locker and dressing room, with the understanding that such structure could be used later as a tool shed or garage. It was also suggested by the committee that a minimum amount be expended to make repairs to the present clubhouse, and it was also suggested that the phone be moved to another location. Both suggestions were adopted. Members of the special committee are Fred Kaercher, A. E. Bentzin, E. W. Terwedow, Dr. E. W. Bowen, W. A. Schumann and Gilbert Kressin. At a recent meeting of the board of directors, Wiliam Borchardt was re-elected club president; Attorney Richard Thauer was retained as vice president; and G. W. Ponath was re-elected secretary-treasurer. All are members of the board. Other members of the board, and their committees they will head, are: Ray Kern, sports and pastime; Louis Silagy, house chairman; Don Mitchell, greens and E. T. Hornickle, grievance.


Watertown Daily Times, Watertown WI, Wednesday, October 26, 1949

Work Begins on New Club House at Golf Course

The Watertown Country Club's new club house project is underway. Sod from the area required for the club house has been removed, and this week a power shovel aided in the removal of the cement silo which stood west of the barn. The building will be located west of the parking area and west of the barn (at left in top picture.) The present club house is shown at the right. The club house will be 120 feet long and 30 feet wide, with a 24 by 30 utility room and kitchen to the east, or rear of the building. The location of the club house is indicated in the above picture. Members of the building committee and board of directors outline the building. The two men at the right (looking at the picture) indicate the south end of the building, and the two standing at the extreme left mark the north boundary. In the other picture, members of the committee and the board of directors pose near the power shovel. The president of the board, Mike Bentzin, on a dare, climbed into the cab, and incidentally almost raised havoc when he touched one of the levers, causing the shovel to groan into action. The others scattered momentarily. After faithful promises from Mike that he'd leave the power shovel operations to the operator, they returned for the picture. Those in the group are, reading from left to right: Ray Kern, John Salick, Harold Schumann, Charles Johannsen, Attorney Richard Thauer, Attorney George Niemann and Paul Fischer. Louis Silagy, Ed. Raue, Harold Dragoo, Lee Hefty and C. Taggatz were not present when the picture was taken. At a meeting of the membership, held at the club house on September 21, the club house was approved. The cost is not to exceed $25,000, with the mortgage not to be greater than $10,000. The building will provide five showers for the men and two for the women, toilet facilities, a bar and grill room, and a lounge room. It will be constructed of Waylite colored block. Construction will continue through the fall and winter, with the club house expected to be ready by the opening of the golf season next spring.


A new clubhouse was approved in 1949 and opened the following spring.


The Wisconsin State Journal, Madison WI, Thursday, July 23, 1953

ROUNDY SAYS . . .

The Watertown Country Club, is the nicest nine-hole course I ever played on in my life. I think the Rock river flows right through there they got some of the most beautiful water holes I have ever saw. They got nice fairways and beautiful greens. You should play that folks and if you ever seen a better nine hole course notify me.


Clubhouse expansions took place in 1955, 1966, 1980-81, and 1994.

The second nine holes, designed by golf course architect Edward Lawrence (Larry) Packard, were opened in 1961 on a 70 acre farm site that had been owned by Edwin Hinze.


Architect's Gallery, Featuring ASGCA Members and their work

E. Lawrence Packard

Biographical Sketch

Edward A. Lawrence Packard has sixty years of practical experience in landscape architecture, site planning and golf course architecture which has resulted in broad working knowledge of the economical planning of land areas for human use.

Following graduation in 1935 from the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Mr. Packard was employed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Resettlement Administration on Recreation Development Projects. He moved into the National Park Service in 1936 on land selection for new park developments on Mt. Desert Island, Bar Harbor, Maine.

For two years Mr. Packard gained valuable experience as designer, engineer and supervisor for a landscape contractor in the Boston metropolitan area. Following this he worked for a year in the same capacity for the E. A. McIlhennny Landscape Co., makers of Tobasco sauce, with office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Houston, Texas.

In 1939 Mr. Packard went with the U.S. War Department, Corps of Engineers and was stationed at Westover Field in western Massachusetts. For four years he had complete charge of all phases of the landscape work for this $15,000,000 project. During this time Mr. Packard developed a complete Master Plan and camouflage plan for the entire air base installation. A major part of work was seeding 1,500 acres of grass.

In 1943, after the war, Mr. Packard came to the Chicago Park District as designer and engineer for a multi-million dollar park expansion program. Here, Mr. Packard worked on site selection and development for new parks and also on the design aspects of Northerly Island Airstrip and O'Hare International Airport.

After 1944, Mr. Packard worked for eight years as chief supervisor and designer for Chicago golf course architect Robert Bruce Harris. Here Mr. Packard handled several jobs in various capacities running over the quarter million dollar mark, including the site planning for Maine Township High School in Des Plaines and Park Ridge, Illinois, the Maryknoll College site development in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the Janesville, Wisconsin High School site planning and the University of Iowa golf course, plus numerous golf courses.

During the fifty years from the 1950s through the 1990s, Mr. Packard became:

President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects
President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects Foundation
Chapter President of the American Society of Landscape Architects
President of the Rotary Club of LaGrange, Illinois
President of Plymouth Place, a LaGrange, Illinois retirement home
Landscape Architect for Plus, Inc., a LaGrange beautification project for Burlington Railroad

In fifty years, Packard has handled more than 250 golf projects ranging from the redesign of a few holes to the design of four courses for Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida. Two of Innisbrook's courses have been in Golf Digest's 100 best in the country, as well as the best in Florida, since 1975.

The firm adheres to long-established design principles and safety considerations in developing a course, either with or without housing. Only a few water hazards are used. Good plans and specifications are a must. Feature articles on Packard courses have appeared in Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, PGA Magazine, Golfweek, Desert Golf, Wisconsin PGA, Chicago Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times. The firm's Chicago office has been managed by Packard's son, Roger, since 1986. Packard courses are designed so that both men and women will have very pleasant golfing. Easy pars but difficult birdies!

Since his retirement in 1990, Mr. Packard has been the designated golf course architect for the International Executive Service Corps of Stamford, Connecticut. For them he designed four courses in Guatemala and five courses in Egypt. He had previously designed two courses in South Korea and two courses in Venezuela.

Mr. Packard has just had his biography published by Airlie Hall Press entitled "Double Doglegs and Other Hazards", which gives his history and list of works. Spring Meadows Country Club in Linden, Michigan invited Mr. Packard for a book signing in June of 2003. He designed this course forty-five years ago. In November 2002, the Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida hosted a book signing in celebration of his ninetieth birthday!

Mr. Packard takes great pride and pleasure in the courses he designed and hopes those who play his and other courses everywhere ............... "ENJOY THE GAME".


Double Doglegs and Other Hazards

The Life and Work of Larry Packard
By Mickey Rathbun
Airlie Hall Press, 2002

This homespun hardcover biography struggles to do justice to its subject, an earthy, imaginative and prolific course architect, a past ASGCA president who gave us the par 5 double dogleg and the early semblance of real estate-driven golf. A pleasant-enough resort complex, perhaps his best work, the four courses at Innisbrook, north of Tampa, once hosted the PGA and LPGA Tours mixer, likely the most entertaining and beloved silly season event. The two better courses are terrific.

"He designed courses that are fun to play and challenging," recalled Mike Souchak, Innisbrook's first resident pro. "So many of the courses built today are really not fun to play. Even though Larry was not a serious golfer, he was a good course architect. He had engineering know-how, the ability to see factors like drainage, wind, and sun come into play. But the most important thing Packard had was imagination. All successful professional golfers have imagination. They imagine the flight of the ball before they hit it, its trajectory, where they want it to go. Packard could visualize all that."

They certainly don't make course architects this way anymore. Packard had no upbringing in golf at all as a player when he began designing courses in the 50's; his first set of clubs came from Sears. But he had a practical and academic grounding in landscape architecture, followed by a fruitful apprenticeship with Robert Bruce Harris, and 20 years working a variety of jobs, from cataloging trees to landscaping airfields at O'Hare. The experiences provided him with a liberal grounding, along with an appreciation for informality in nature and an eye on containing costs.

"I learned the hard way," he said. "I talked to all the old golf course superintendents and found out what the players wanted. I always asked them what they would have done differently if they had designed the course. All of this just sneaks into your subconscious and into your planning process."

Yes, listening, seeking and taking input would certainly qualify him as not only imaginative but innovative, then or now.


During the next several years a full sprinkler system was installed over the entire course. 

The watering system was updated to a double sprinkler configuration in 1998.

Several major changes have been made to the course over the years. The #1 tee is in its third location. Three towering trees in the middle of #5 fairway were removed, as was a huge tree in the middle of #6 fairway. Long-time members can recall the "chain saw party" which resulted in the demise of a major obstacle on #7. The original #9 was very short and was lengthened later. The shape of the replacement green and its traps are now in the third configuration. The course of the creek along #10 fairway was changed to widen the fairway and make it more level.

The Watertown Country Club has had full time greenskeepers for about 70 years: John Stiemke, Walter Kaddatz, George Wuestenberg, Joe Bahr, Ron Grunewald, Oscar Peterson and Michael Upthegrove.


Shown below is the front of the 1923 Watertown Country Club layout as it appeared in the Watertown Daily Times.


Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, WI, September 12, 1923

EXPERT GOLFERS ENTHUSIASTIC IN PRAISING COURSE

Permanent Course of Local Country Club Attracts Golfers for Sunday Recreation - New Score Cards Out.

Tom McLaughlin, former Milwaukee champion and representative of Milwaukee in a recent national tournament, and other leading golfers of the state are enthusiastic in their praise of the Watertown Country club's golf course. Silver Creek winding its way through the grounds furnishes a natural hazard that is hard to surpass, they assert, and makes the local course one of the sportiest in the state. Many golfers from other cities, realizing the excellent playing qualities of the Watertown links, journey to this city on Sundays and holidays and participate in the grand old game on the Silver Creek course. New score cards have made their appearance and are now being used. Each hole is named on the new card as follows: Number 1, "Let's Go," 601 yards, par 6, bogie 6; number 2, "Westward Ho," 387 yards, par 4, bogie 5; number 3, "N. Western," 416 yards, par 5, bogie 5; number 4, "Hell Hole," 335 yards, par 4, bogie 4; number 5, "The Jinks," 197 yards, par 3, bogie 4; number 6, "Cinch 3," 166 yards, par 3, bogie 3; number 7, "The Creek," 362 yards, par 4, bogie 5; number 8, "Straight Work," 414 yards, par 4, bogie 5; number 9, "The Alley," 144 yards, par 3, bogie 3. The course is 3,052 yards in length and has a par of 36 and a bogie of 40.


A 1923 ad for golf clubs in the Watertown Daily Times. Click on the ad for a PDF image.


A typical score card from the late 9-hole era, courtesy of Richard "R" Miller, who found it in the bottom of an old golf bag owned by Harriet Blakely Kiefer, wife of L. J. (Barney) Kiefer. Barney died in an auto accident in September 1961. The golf bag was in the home that was sold to the Millers. Please note Janskey Printing Company had 35 years of service, Keck's was in their 103rd year, and D & F Kusel Co. had over 100 years of service. Since Keck Furniture has the slogan "Complete Home Furnishings Since 1853", the year of this scorecard is 1956.

   


    Welcome to the I. H. R. M. Club. It gets larger every year!


A Brief History of the WCC "Winter Tour"

Roger Simdon, Doug Hills, Earl Maas and Dave "Whitey" Molzner started the Watertown Country Club Winter Tour in 1962-1963 season. Bruce Frey and Arthur "Doc" Grosnick joined for the 1963-1964 season. During these formative years, Roger Simdon would arrive at the course early Saturday morning and shovel away any accumulated snow, for a fully clear putting surface. He would return later in the morning and play golf with the others. Back in those days, a ball must end up in the hole in order to be considered "in." Eventually, the golf rules were modified so any ball coming to rest within a nine-iron distance from the inside of the cup was considered to be in the hole on the next shot. Thus, shoveling was not required. In addition, a ball that had first landed and then hit the flagstick was considered to have ended in the cup on that shot.

Following golf, the original players would go to the Buffalo Inn bar and play cards. A few years later, one of the Winter Tour players was on the club's Board of Directors, and had access to the Clubhouse. This then became the after-golf destination, with refreshments on the honor system. Eventually, access to the Clubhouse was not available, and the group decided to "go to the bar." The Firehouse Lanes evolved into the unofficial sponsor of the after-round festivities.

Among those who have participated actively throughout the years include:

Roger Simdon, Doug Hills, Earl Maas and Dave "Whitey" Molzner, Bruce Frey, Arthur "Doc" Grosnick, Dave Bowen, Dick Conley, Dick Miller, Leigh Larson, Jay Brennan, Roger "Rocky" Bohlman, Glenn Egnarski, Mark Sellnow, Tom Bainbridge, Dan Egnarski, Brian Lee, Roger Prickette, Harry McMahon, Russ Twesme, Walt Joseph, Mike Kressin, Jim Klein, Paul Flack, Don Steele, Jim Mauel, Steve Raue, Nancy Schultz, Nelson Fisher, Mike Walsh and John Aufderhaar.

Those who have tried the Tour once, or at most several times, include: Bob Brennan, Jeff Kluever, Darryl Kaufmann, Scott Johnson (picture only), Kevin Conley, Tom Reynolds, Justin Raue and Phil Buss.


Some WCC Winter Tour player scoring statistics, from the late 1990s, compiled by Glenn Egnarski.


Extreme conditions were never a deterrent for the WCC Winter Tour players.


1989-1990 Winter Tour

Left to right: Jay Brennan, Glenn Egnarski, Leigh Larson, Bruce Frey and Dick Conley.


January, 1993

Leigh Larson holding the Hole-In-One trophy presented to him by Jay Brennan at the Firehouse in January, 1993. Winter Tour Players, left to right, Bruce Frey, "R" Miller, Leigh Larson, Jay Brennan, Mark Sellnow and Glenn Egnarski. Leigh got his hole-in-one on Saturday, December 5, 1992, on Hole No. 9 at the Watertown Country Club, using an eight iron club. Those who were playing along that day and were witnesses were: Bruce Frey, R. Miller, Jay Brennan, Glenn Egnarski and Mark Sellnow. The ball landed in the cup on the fly and remained at the bottom of the cup, with about eight inches of snow covering the ground.


1993-1994 Winter Tour

Left to right: Dick Conley,  Bruce Frey, Glenn Egnarski, Jay Brennan, Dick Miller, Mark Sellnow, Bob Brennan, Leigh Larson, and Harry McMahon.


1993-1994 Winter Tour WDT Photo

Left to right: Tom Reynolds, Glenn Egnarski, Bruce Frey, Dick Conley, Leigh Larson, Mark Sellnow, Jay Brennan, Paul Flack, Jim Klein and Dan Egnarski.


 1994-1995 Winter Tour

Left to right: Leigh Larson, Dick Miller, Mark Sellnow, Jay Brennan, Glenn Egnarski, Jim Klein, Jeff Kluever, Dick Conley and Bruce Frey.


 1995-1996 Winter Tour

Left to right: Leigh Larson, Bruce Frey, Glenn Egnarski, Dan Egnarski, Mark Sellnow, Dick Conley, Dick Miller and Harry McMahon.


 1996-1997 Winter Tour

Left to right: Nancy Schultz, Leigh Larson, Doug Hills, Bruce Frey, Mark Sellnow, Glenn Egnarski, Dick Conley and Jay Brennan.


 1997-1998 Winter Tour

Left to right: Dick Miller, Bruce Frey, Dick Conley, Leigh Larson, Jay Brennan, Steve Raue, Mark Sellnow, Jim Klein, Glenn Egnarski, Doug Hills, Roger Prickette and Jim Mauel.


 1998-1999 Winter Tour

Left to right: Brian Lee, Dick Conley, Scott Johnson, Jay Brennan, Jim Klein, Dick Miller, Glenn Egnarski, Bruce Frey, Jeff Stangler, Leigh Larson, Nancy Schultz, Roger Prickette and Steve Raue.


 1999-2000 Winter Tour

Left to right:  Jim Klein, Bruce Frey, Dick Miller, Glenn Egnarski, Jay Brennan, Brian Lee, Mike Walsh, Leigh Larson, Roger Prickette, Nancy Schultz and Steve Raue.


2000-2001 Winter Tour

Left to right: Dick Miller, Jim Klein, Jay Brennan, Leigh Larson, Bruce Frey, Nancy Schultz, Jim Mauel and Glenn Egnarski.


2000-2001 Winter Tour, December 2000, Janet Walsh Picture

Left to right: Bruce Frey, Mike Walsh, Jeff Stangler, Brian Lee, Jay Brennan, Jim Klein and Leigh Larson.


2001-2002 Winter Tour

Left to right: Bruce Frey, Jim Mauel, Dick Miller, Glenn Egnarski, Brian Lee, Jay Brennan, Leigh Larson, Dick Conley and Steve Raue.


December 2002

    Nancy, Laura and Julie at the Firehouse


2002-2003 Winter Tour

Left to right: Bruce Frey, Dick Conley, Glenn Egnarski, Dick Miller, Steve Raue and Brian Lee.


2003-2004 Winter Tour, December 2003

Left to right: Dick Conley, XXX, Dick Miller, Leigh Larson, Bruce Frey, Brian Lee and Steve Raue.


2003-2004 Winter Tour, Walsh

Left to right: Mike Walsh, Dick Miller, Leigh Larson, Bruce Frey, Jay Brennan, Brian Lee, Steve Raue and Glenn Egnarski.


2005-2006 Winter Tour

Left to right: Roger Prickette,  Bruce Frey, Glenn Egnarski, Brian Lee, Dick Miller, Steve Raue and Jay Brennan.


2006-2007 Winter Tour, February 2007

Left to right: Dick Miller, Glenn Egnarski, Bruce Frey, Leigh Larson, Brian Lee and Dick Conley.


2007-2008 Winter Tour, December 2007

Left to right: Dick Conley, Brian Lee, Bruce Frey, Leigh Larson, Glenn Egnarski and Steve Raue.


2007-2008 Winter Tour

Leigh, December 22, 2007


2008-2009 Winter Tour

Left to right: Glenn Egnarski, Dick Conley, Leigh Larson, Bruce Frey, Brian Lee and Roger Prickette.


Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, WI, Thursday, July 6, 2006

OBITUARY

John J. Brennan

John J. "Jay" Brennan, 70, of Watertown, died Tuesday, July 4, 2006, at St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center in Madison following a brief illness. Jay was born on July 11, 1935, in Binghamton, N.Y., son of John and Dorothy (Garvey) Brennan. He married Mary Jo "Jody" Ruskin on Aug. 2, 1982, in Watertown. He was vice president of Kohl's Food Service Division, then vice president of sales and marketing for Beckman Produce Inc. and finished his food sales career as sales manager institutional food services with Aunt Nellie's of Clyman. Upon retirement he formed his company Foregolf and became an independent sales representative for numerous golf equipment and clothing suppliers.

Jay served on the board of directors for the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the Wauwatosa Credit Union. He served six years on the board of directors for the Watertown Country Club, including four years as president. He was a member of Pitterle-Beaudoin American Legion Post 189. He served in the United States Army in Korea. Jay was an avid golfer.

He and his first wife, Karleen, of Onarga, III., raised 23 foster children.

Jay is survived by his wife, Jody Brennan of Watertown; three daughters, Kelly Brennan of Braidwood, Ill., Deborah (Mark) Peterson of Pawleys Island, N.C., and Sheanne (Rich) Balsitis of New Lenox, III.; eight grandchildren, Karli McArthur, John Leitner, Becka and Michael Peterson, Nathan Brennan and Kendall, Jillian and Madison Balsitis; a great-granddaughter, Ally Garcia; two brothers, Robert Brennan of Oshkosh and James (Bev) Brennan of Fairbanks, Alaska; a number of nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Friends may gather for a traditional Irish wake at the Watertown Country Club on Sunday after 4 p.m.

A private family memorial service will be held. Memorials may be given in his memory to the American Lung Association or the charity of one's choice.

The Pederson Funeral Home of Watertown is serving the family.


Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, WI, Saturday, September 15, 2007

By Adam Burdsall, Daily Times Staff

From a 13-year-old kid caddying for members, to a 78-year-old retiree still hitting the course three or four times a week, Jim Wade has seen a lot in his days around Watertown Country Club. The club, however, has seen few like Jim Wade. In fact, the city of Watertown has seen few athletes with the resume Wade can boast, if he chose to do so. 

“My claim to fame is not that I was such a great player, but that I had longevity,” Wade said modestly. “Of course, I understand you have to be pretty good to win 18 times.” As for dominance in his sport, 18 Watertown Country Club champi­onships speaks for itself and that does not include Wade's three Senior Club championships. Perhaps as impressive as Wade's 18 championships is a nugget found hidden within his eight runner-up finishes. Specifically, the first came in 1948 and the last in 1991, a span of 43 years and six decades, a startling run of dominance. After taking second place in 1948, Wade was out of the top three for four years before winning his first club championship in 1953 over Jim Bloor. Once he broke through, Wade did not let anyone else take his crown, winning the next five titles with victories over Bob Miller, Paul Hibbard (twice) and (the late) John Weaver (twice). Roger Simdon finally ended Wade's winning streak at six in 1959. “(Simdon) was one of the great golfers we ever had,” Wade said. “He was one of the great natural players you will ever see. He was a little left-hander who probably didn't weigh over 140 pounds, a carpenter by trade, strong in the wrists and hands. He just ripped the ball.”

After missing a couple years after his National Guard unit was called up, Wade resurfaced in the title match against Simdon in 1964 but was defeated again and relegated to second. Wade won his seventh title in 1968, again beating Weaver, took third in 1969 and then went on another run. With Weaver again the victim, Wade won the 1970 and 1971 titles to open a decade of dominance. Wade defeated Augie Hafenstein in 1972 and 1974, Earl Maas in 1973, Tom Theder in 1975, Don  Cheeseman in 1977 and Don Sellnow in 1978 for eight of the 10 titles in the 1970s. Wade then beat Ron DeMuth in 1980 and Tim Mallow in 1981 to make it 10-of-12. After fin­ishing second in 1983, 1984 and 1985, Wade won his final title in 1986, beating Randy DeMuth. After three years out of the top three, Wade took second in 1990 and 1991 to wrap up an unbelievably suc­cessful career. Over 43 years, Wade was first, second or third 27 times.

Asked about his memories of the 18 titles, Wade did not once mention him­self or his own game. Rather he used the 18 titles as a chance to reminisce on the real reason he played the game, the peo­ple he competed with, came to know as friends and, more often than not, beat. “There were a lot of great shots made by me and against me,” Wade said, “Each one is important to me because of the guys that I played against. All good players, all great memories.” Wade did single out his 1980 championship as the most special.  “I beat Ron Demuth and he was one of the best players in the state,” Wade said. “He came to us from Milwaukee and was a great player. He beat me a number of times after 1980 when I was runner-up. We had good battles, really good matches. He and Roger Simdon were the two best players I ever played against."

Wade, who now carries a 13 handicap, has five career holes-in-one, four at Watertown Country Club. The first came in 1968 and the latest in 1996. Wade's best round at WCC was a 5 ­under 65, but he does have a round of 9-under 61 to his credit at Lake Wisconsin Golf Club. Wade, now retired, still tries to play the course he loves three or four times a week. While much has changed over time, Watertown Country Club holds a place in Wade's heart, almost, like a member of his family.

“I was hired as a caddie when I was 13,” Wade said. “It was illegal at the time, but I was within a week or so of being legal age. It was a wonderful place to grow up. The people, the mem­bers were just terrific. They let us use their clubs, had picnics for us and were just wonderful to us. It was a great place to be.”

“A guy named Paul Fischer got me into the game. I used to do his lawn for him and one day he said I should come out and be a caddy. I had never played before then and have never had a lesson in my life. During the day at the club, there generally wasn't a lot of activity. The course gave us the privilege to play nine holes every day we were out there caddying, so that is how I got my start.”

A 1947 graduate of Watertown High School, Wade never had the opportunity to play high school golf as it was added to the array of sports in 1948. “The first club that I owned, a mem­ber gave to me. It was an old hickory-shafted 9-iron and it was bowed,” Wade said. “I could make that thing talk. I could use it like a wedge or close it up and hit it 150 yards … which for a 9-iron is pretty good. The first set of clubs I bought were Louisville Sluggers. I think they cost me about $30 back in 1948.”

Wade has left his mark on Watertown Country Club in more ways than on the course. Wade helped to build the back nine which was completed in 1961. He along with Al Maas helped run crews of club members that would come to the course each night and help build and plant the greens. “It rained just about every day and it was soggy and wet,” Wade said. “Those people, they came out just as faithfully, and it was hard work. We had to shovel all the dirt and handle this big screen and rake by hand. My crew did five of the greens and Al's did four, but he had bigger greens. Every time now when I miss a putt or there is a roll that I didn't read, I blame myself.”

In addition, Wade served as club president in 1971 and was the first inductee into the Watertown Country Club Hall of Fame in 1990. Wade did not pick an individual success as his career highlight, rather a team event with Ron DeMuth and Roger Simdon as his favorite moment. “We won a big pro-am down in Jefferson at Meadow Springs in the late '60s,” Wade said. “We were playing all the best pros and amateurs in the state … these guys were state champions and PGA champions and we won it without a pro. Roger Simdon, Ron DeMuth and I won it when Ron chipped in for an eagle on the first extra hole. I had six birdies and an eagle, which was pretty good scoring for me.”

Wade has seen his share of change at the club, but is worried that rising expenses will chase people away from the sport he loves. “Of late, the club is struggling finan­cially,” Wade said. “In the early years, the members were all businessmen and the board of directors was made up of people who were in business in Watertown. Almost every one of them was conservative in their approach to doing things. They got things done, but they didn't go overboard as far as going in debt. When they decided they needed a piece of equipment, when they had the money to do it, they would buy the piece of equipment. Nowadays, that is not the case. “In Watertown what (rising costs) are doing is hurting the blue collar guy I was starting out,” Wade said. “You first have to pay an initiation fee of 4,000-5,000 bucks and then after that if you are going to have all the amenities like a cart and so on, it will cost $3,500 a year. The average guy with a family, a young fella who could be playing and should be playing, can't afford that. So they go to Windwood and other places to play and they are good courses, but Watertown Country Club to me is still the ultimate course around.” That is why as long as he can, Wade will be slapping it around the WCC lay­out.

“Golf is a wonderful game,” Wade said. “It is a game you can play your whole lifetime. Some people are really good, some people are not, but it is a game you can enjoy no matter how you play. The only drawback today is that it is expensive and it takes big blocks of time. “My first love is still to be a member of the club and will be as long as we can afford to do it and as long as we are able to compete and play. I am not interested anymore in winning anything. I just enjoy playing the game.”



The e-mail shown below was sent to Leigh Larson by Bruce Simdon of Texas, son of Roger Simdon. It provides some further insight to the pro-am that Jim Wade referred to in the above article.


12/18/2007

Leigh,

Thanks for posting that interview with Jim Wade. He said some nice things about my dad that I would not have seen if you hadn't taken the time to post it.

I caddied for my dad in the Jefferson Calcutta that he talked about. Dad didn't play very well that day, and I cost him a two stroke penalty on the first and only playoff hole when I disturbed the sand in a green-side trap before he played his shot. The subsequent sand shot after the penalty lipped the cup for eagle. Fortunately, Ron DeMuth canned his chip for eagle to win the playoff. There was dead silence after the last member of the opposing team from Madison missed their eagle putt and we won. Then, there was a very subdued "Hurray for Watertown" from the one and only Clark Derleth, and the crowd erupted. I remember it like it happened yesterday.

Hope to play golf with you guys next May.

Thanks again,

Bruce


Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, WI, Saturday, March 6, 1993

Puttering around in ice and snow

By Margaret Krueger of the Daily Times staff

Golf fanatics at Watertown Country Club play every Saturday at the course where they encounter a variety of weather conditions on the "winter tour" which is a 30-year-old tradition. Trudging down number two fairway last week were, from left, Glenn Egnarski, Jay Brennan and Paul Flack. Hazards today will include snow, ice, frozen grass and puddles. - (Daily Times photo by Margaret Krueger)

The smack of a well-hit ball is a welcome sound for any golfer, but most wait until temperatures climb and new grass begins to peek through fairways before launching a new season.

A group, of dedicated golfers at Watertown Country Club, who can't wait for that spring day, never pack away their clubs. They trade in their sunscreen, short-sleeve shirts and cushy motorized golf carts for winter coats, heavy gloves and woolen hats and join the "winter tour." They gladly give up watered fairways, manicured greens and warm sunshine for snow, ice and frozen ground to play on the tour which has been a tradition at the club for the past 30 years.

Regulars on the Saturday golf outings include, back row from left, Tom Reynolds, Bruce Frey, Leigh Larson, Mark Sellnow, Paul Flack, Jim Klien and Dan Egnarski. In front are Glenn Egnarski, Dick Conley and Jay Brennan. - (Daily Times photo by Margaret Krueger)

Neither freezing conditions, drifting snow or vicious winds have called off the outings which take place every Saturday in the "off-season" when the men tee off at 11:30 a.m. and play 18 holes or less depending on time and weather conditions. Play ceases about 2:30 p.m. when the men gather for another tradition - watching golf on television at Firehouse Lanes and spending money donated by the losers.

Frozen ground signals the beginning of the tour when the club's groundskeeper moves flags to a temporary green. The tour ends when disappearing frost makes the course too soft and muddy. Any members are welcome to play. Current participants, ranging in age from 25 to 74, have numbered from seven to 13 this year.

"It's really nice out here," said Dick Conley last Saturday when 10 men played in up to a foot of fresh snow. "It's peaceful and we never have to wait for a tee time," he noted, forgetting to add that most golfers prefer to play under balmier conditions. Although women are welcome to join the fun, few have tried it. "And none come back," Conley said with a laugh. "Perhaps it's the rigorous conditions."

He is nicknamed "Cheerleader" because of his rah-rah attitude.

"Each week it's a new game because conditions never stay the same," said Jay Brennan. "When it's icy, we never know where or how far the ball will go. On a day like today with lots of snow, we don't get any roll. The worst thing is when the ball goes under the snow or trying to figure out where it will bounce on ice. It makes the game very interesting."

"We had to wear spikes one week this year so we wouldn't slip on the ice," added Paul Flack, tramping along in boots. He pointed out that the orange golf balls are easy to find in the fluffy, unmarked snow. "With 10 guys walking up the fairway, all we have to do is look for a small hole in the snow and dig down." Today the men will play through snow, ice, grass or puddles depending on where the ball lands.

Under the winter rules of the tour, no penalty is incurred for a lost ball, and no mulligans are given for a dubious effort. No handicaps are used. The ball can be "fluffed up" on the fairway with natural resources such as snow, ice or wood. All of the players carry their own clubs which makes the outing good exercise.

"We used to spray paint our own golf balls before we could buy orange ones, but the paint would come off after a few hits and then we couldn't see the balls," said "Commissioner" Bruce Frey, official scorekeeper and 28-year tour member. He recalls a time when the continuous string of Saturday outings was upheld, but play was quite short. "Several years ago, the snow was two feet deep and it was blowing like a sun-of-a-gun, but we didn't want to break our record. We hit off the first tee and lost our golf balls because the snow was drifting so fast. We went into the clubhouse and played cribbage and picked up our balls the following week."

All of the golfers stay together for the day, with Frey selecting teams after the first hole. Special equipment such as sponges and even a baby bottle nipple are used to tee off in lieu of wooden tees which don't penetrate the frozen ground.

 

Mark Sellnow invented a comeback tee that would not be lost in snow. He tied a small rubber stopper to his ankle with a string. - (Daily Times photo by Margaret Krueger)

If an odd number of golfers participate, the team with the added player throws out the lowest score. The low scorer is called "Dishwater" because his score is thrown out like the dishwater of olden days. Needless to say, no one wants to be called "Dishwater" because of the remarks that accompany this accomplishment.

Brennan packed a shovel in his bag last Saturday to combat the deep snow and was promptly labeled a wimp by his comrades. However, the commissioner ruled the shovel was a legal winter weapon - if Brennan insisted on being a wimp. Brennan was also chastised a few years ago for using hand warmers which are now banned.

Scores range from "bad to par," according to Conley, who fell in the not-quite-frozen Silver Creek last year when he tried to hit a ball off it rather than incur a penalty stroke. Long-time tour player Leigh Larson hit a hole-in-one this year and there have been lots of birdies, some eagles and other holes-in-one over the years.

One odd winter rule is a bonus for poor putters. If the ball hits the flag after a bounce, it counts as in the cup. Golfers don't have to putt out anything closer than the length of a nine iron.

"There is no green. The whole course can be green and you can putt from 100 yards out if you want to," Brennan said with a laugh. Conley, who only carries two clubs, often putts with his driver.

"We do lots of kidding and everyone tries to win, but no one gets upset if they don't. We like to get together and it's lots of laughs," said Brennan.


Family & Friends, Winter 2011, Times Publishing Company, Watertown, WI, By Adam Burdsall, Family & Friends staff

Swinging in the snow

Local residents golf during winter months

Brian Lee waits for a playing partner to hit on the first fairway during a recent round of winter golf at Watertown Country Club.

Fore! And Sometimes that's the temperature

Against a picturesque winter backdrop, Watertown Country Club Winter Tour member Roger Prickette hits his approach shot to the third green at a recent winter round. The winter tour enters its 48th year at the club.

The sun was shining and the breeze was light ... a perfect day for golf.

Perfect, that is, aside from a forecast calling for highs In the mid-teens and 4 inches of snow blanketing the fairways.

That was of no concern to the members of the Watertown Country Club Winter Golf Tour on this day. The group convened at 9 a.m., kicking off another season of summer fun cast over a winter landscape.

"I think all of us look forward to it; 17-year winter tour golfer Roger Prickette said. You get so many different conditions. Sometimes you get a freezing rain, you hit it low and it can go 250, 300 yards scooting across the top of the snow and you can putt from 50 yards out. Then other times the snow is really soft and you have to hit it right to the hole and can hardly putt at all. We have a good time. We wouldn't do it if it wasn't a good time."

The winter tour began in 1962 and has been a staple in the winter months ever since.

"There were four people originally," Bruce Frey, who enters his 47th year on tour, said. "I was the fifth person in, started playing the second year. Roger Simdon, Doug Hills, Earl Maas and Dave "Whitey" Molzner started it in 1962. Doc Grosnick and I joined the second year."

The obvious question is why?

"We had twice as much fun playing in the winter as we ever did in the summer," Frey said. "You get all kinds of things. Dick Conley fell in the creek ... to me, that is fun."

"Why do people go ice fishing?" 22-year veteran and winter tour "commissioner Glenn Egnarski said. "We are out there moving around. It is not as horrendous as people may think. Playing keeps us swinging all winter long and it is a blast. I fell in love with it right away. As soon as I heard there were people that did this, I said, 'I'm in, I'm doing this.'"

Prickette was not as easily convinced.

"I thought it was kind of crazy," Prickette said. "How are you going to find your ball? I have tramped through snow in the past and that is not too fun to do either. But, when I got out there and gave it a shot, it was pretty fun."

Over the years many have played, few as dedicated as Brian Lee. Lee enters his 18th year playing the winter tour and made it out for the season opener this year just 25 days after prostate surgery.

"I told my wife I was just going to walk and not play," Lee confessed while looking for his tee shot down the middle of the first fairway. 'I feel pretty good, so I am sure it is fine."

Even if it wasn't fine, it would have been hard to keep Lee away.

"I look forward to it every year," Lee said. "This year especially after some of the things I have gone through. It is nice to get back out there and carry on with life. I just love playing."

"I love the combination of camaraderie with the guys. I also believe the winter golf helps my summer game. Swinging in the snow forces you to maintain balance and rhythm. You can get some benefit out of playing in the winter, but for me it is more about the camaraderie."

A foursome of golfers await their turn to play at Watertown Country Club. Fluffy snow made for a tough day locating balls in the first fairway.

The rules are similar to summer golf, but with several modifications specific to winter play.

Instead of a wooden tee, golfers use a piece of sponge to tee the ball up to start a hole. Once a ball is located in the snow, it can be brought to the surface and teed up with any natural substance, most often a pile of snow, before taking the next shot. There is no penalty for a lost ball, just a free drop in the area the ball was believed to land.

"It is a lot tougher hitting the ball," Prickette said. "When you do hit it decently, you feel pretty good about it. You do not get a level lie very often. You need to hit the ball cleanly and make contact with the ball first. In that sense, it is a lot like hitting out of a bunker."

Once on the green, a hole is cut around the flagstick about the size of a coffee can. A putt must go in the hole to count as in. If at any time (tee shot, approach shot, chip, etc.) the ball hits the ground and then the flag, the ball is considered in the hole. In addition, any shot finishing within a 9-iron from the hole is an automatic one-putt.

Out of bounds rules are the same for summer and winter golf, with the exception of water hazards. A player is welcome to venture out on the creek if they would like, occasionally with chilly consequences.

"If you are willing to walk on the ice, just as if you are willing to go in the water in the summer, you can play it," Prickette said. "We have had people try it. Early in the season, you start stepping on the ice and it cracks under feet, you kind of decide to take a drop and a penalty stroke. It isn't like you are going to get real wet, but even just getting wet up to your knees in that kind of weather isn't much fun."

The biggest challenge is finding a ball on a day with soft snow. The effort is about 75 percent skill and 25 percent luck. Despite using orange balls, in most instances the ball finishes beneath the snow. Players do not look for a ball, rather a hole in the snow to indicate where the ball entered. With scattered tracks from deer, rabbits, turkeys and other wildlife, this can be a tricky proposition.

"We play 18 holes quite often," Prickette said. "We have been pretty much nine holes lately. You notice all the tracks out there and that makes it tough to figure out where the balls are and it's hard to putt. We try to switch up and play the front nine one week and the back the next. That lets the other nine build up snow cover again. Every once in a while you get a 40-degree day and it is easy walking and we play 18."

Roger Prickette (left) celebrates a made putt as Brian Lee prepares to roll his ball on the first hole at Watertown Country Club.

More so than temperature, it is wind that has the biggest effect on a round of winter golf.

"Wind and fresh snow make for a bad day," Egnarski said. "The holes blow shut before you can get to the ball. Those days we have to play short holes, par-3s. You are not going to find a ball in the snow unless you can find the hole it went into. When you have blowing, drifting snow, those are the worst conditions."

"It is bad when it is a gale force wind," Prickette said. "The cold weather is no big deal. Just put your gloves back on and dress adequately for cold weather. The wind is the problem."

As often as fluffy snow can hinder a round, winter conditions can also aid in a round. If the snow melts down, the frozen ground can rival the driest fairway of the summer for roll. If you get a layer of ice on top the snow, finding a way to hit the ball short enough can be the biggest challenge.

"Changing conditions every week are probably the most interesting thing," Egnarski said. "I remember times where we were putting from 100 yards because it was glare ice. You couldn't hit a high shot because it would keep bouncing. The next week you couldn't putt from 2 feet because it is so soft. It actually takes years to learn how to play all the conditions."

As much as it pains his fellow competitors, Lee is recognized as the top winter player on the tour right now.

"He really has developed a sense of being able to hit the ball the right distance," Prickette said. "It is always tough for us to hit the ball the proper distance with partial swings. You can't really let it hit the green and roll up to the hole like we do in the summer. Brian is great at controlling his distance."

"In my mind, I am the best player," Egnarski said. "But if you look at the scores, my buddy Brian Lee is the most consistent, without a doubt. But, he is one of the better summer players too."

Instead of a traditional wooden tee, members of the Watertown Country Club Winter Tour tee up their balls on a piece of sponge before beginning a hole.

A round consists of anywhere from three to 18 holes, dependent on weather.

"One year we wanted to keep the string going," Frey said. "We teed off and it was drifting snow and blowing like (crazy). We never found a single ball. By the time we got down there they were all drifted over. But, we kept the string going and were off to the clubhouse to play cribbage the rest of the day."

"If the weather is 20 below wind chill, we play two holes and get out of there," Lee said. "You can't fault people for thinking (we are crazy), but it is a tradition. There are times we get some of those days where it is 30 degrees with no wind and it is kind of fun to walk out there. It is the blizzard days where sometimes even I wonder, 'What are we doing?' Those are the days you play fewer holes and shorter holes ... we are not totally stupid."

From the outside looking in, a group of guys playing golf in the middle of the winter smells fishy. The mere thought of such an activity reeks of an excuse to escape the house with the boys and partake in some liquid warmth.

Half of that is true, but the tour is more about golf and camaraderie and less about debauchery.

"We all enjoy golf and all enjoy each other's company," Egnarski said. "We keep scores from week to week. I used to keep season stats but kind of gave up on that. You never know who will play on a certain week, so we just play that week and move on."

"We do have competition," Lee said. "We set up teams each week and there are winners and losers. That is the allure of it to me. That and crazy things seem to happen. I know two for sure have gone into the creek. Dick Conley once got stuck in a snow bank, but we got him out. We have had a hole-in-one by Leigh Larson that actually went into the hole on No. 9."

At the end of a wandering trail of footprints, Al Schumacher hits an approach shot to the first green during a round of winter golf at Watertown Country Club.

After the first hole, the players are split into teams and scores are kept through the round. At the end of the day, the group retires to the winter tour's unofficial headquarters at Firehouse Lanes. The losing team ponies up the bulk of a modest bar bill as the players reflect on the day's round and life's adventures in a warmer setting.

"Don't make us sound like drunks," Prickette said. "We don't spend a lot of time at the bar. It is fun to go down and have some hot food and a cold drink, but we do not spend all day there."

The Firehouse has embraced the tradition. The bar stores personalized mugs and special pitchers for the winter tour members. In addition, pictures hang on the walls to commemorate past seasons and a current calendar hangs with this year's edition of the tour pros.

"We are kind of like minor celebrities," Lee said.

Despite the fame and fortune, Lee does not expect to see the tour's attendance swell above the current level ranging from four to 12 on a given week.

"I have chatted up a bunch of the other members and they think we are crazy," Lee said. "Once in a while someone will show up at the Firehouse. They won't play, but they can show up down there. That is more their style."

Members of the Watertown Country Club Winter Tour gathered recently to open the 2010 - 2011 season. Golfers included (from left) Al Schumacher, Vern Lindquist, Ken Knaak, Brian Lee, Mike Upthegrove, Bruce Frey, Roger Prickette and Adam Benik.