For more information, contact: Lori Van Handel, (920) 750-5020 or cell (920) 209-3165, [email protected]
Fox Cities Landmark Continues to be Upgraded, Preserved for Future Generations
APPLETON, WIS (Sept. 9, 2014) – Butte des Morts Country Club (BDMCC) will mark its 90th anniversary year this month, earning its place as a Fox Cities landmark that has stood the test of Wisconsin’s often unpredictable weather for nine decades.
Since opening its doors on Sept. 15, 1924, and unveiling its meticulously kept golf course – designed by famed architect W.C. Jackson – the private golf and social club located along Highway 41 on Appleton’s southwest side, has welcomed generations of club members and continued the vision of its founders to promote a passion for the game of golf, as well as recreational activities. In honor of the occasion, current BDMCC members will celebrate the club’s milestone anniversary with a gathering on Friday, Sept. 12.
In looking back on BDMCC’s early years, Dick Kewley, a former BDMCC board president and club member of 63-years, recalled the evolution of the once predominately male-focused club to the completely family-friendly place it is today. “My wife and I joined back in 1951, and it was mostly a men’s club at the time. The place was usually jammed on Thursday nights and the golf course was always busy,” Kewley said. “Over the years, it slowly but surely became the family activity club it is today. I just love to see young kids out there now having a good time and learning the game of golf.”
As the club’s philosophy evolved, so did its facilities. According to Steve Schmidt, BDMCC grounds & greens superintendent, the club’s original golf course irrigation system, designed with cast iron pipes, was first replaced in 1965, after 41 years of use.
Subsequent changes and additions to both upgrade and maintain the facility followed, including:
* The addition of the club’s first swimming pool in the early 1960s
* Completion of a new Clubhouse in the early 1990s
* Significant golf course changes to the number 12 green in the late ‘60s, alterations to the number 4 green in 1988, installation of a practice putting green in 1992 and upgrades to the number 7 green in 2006
* A thorough interior updating of the Clubhouse’s dining, banquet and meeting rooms between 2011 and 2013
More recently the club announced a three-year, $3 million-plus facilities upgrade highlighted by a new pool and pool house, which was completed this past June. Funding for the improvements has been provided by a mix of club resources, including a capital campaign and membership drive.
Other major improvements as part of the campaign include:
* The completion of a new tennis court, located adjacent to the pool, this past July
* Current installation of a state-of-the-art golf practice facility featuring: 3,200 sq. ft. of bent grass putting green; greenside practice bunker; fairway practice bunker; 9,500 sq. ft. bent grass fairway with chipping area; and 9,000 sq. ft. of blue grass fairway with chipping area
* A new parking lot with an additional 55 parking spots
* Golf course improvements, scheduled for spring 2015, will focus on the club’s 49-year-old irrigation system. Once fully installed, the new state-of-the-art system – featuring new piping, wiring, pump house, pumps and controllers – will significantly improve playability throughout the picturesque 18-hole, 142-acre course, and offer more flexible watering capabilities
* Clubhouse upgrades to improve the locker rooms and pro shop, are also slated to be completed next spring
For Don Hayes, a second generation BDMCC member since 1976 along with his wife, Jean, the club’s ongoing improvements add up to a well-maintained facility that will continue to endure for future generations. “The club has been successful in going to members to ask for help to maintain the golf course and the club. We’ve also had good leadership in place with the vision to see that the club continues to prosper for another 90 years or more so that many future generations can enjoy what we have enjoyed,” Hayes said.
Dave Bernard, current BDMCC board president, agreed, adding, “It’s been very rewarding to have the club in a solid financial position to take on these improvements, which have made everything like new again for families to enjoy for many, many years to come.”