In an effort to create more recreational options, residents of Fitchburg, Wis., are asking city officials to consider different uses for the golf course, including converting it to a traditional park. The property, which is the home of a First Tee program and is aimed at teaching beginners how to play the game, will remain a golf course until the fall of 2014, the mayor said.
Nine Springs Golf Course in Fitchburg, Wis., may be converted to a traditional park because city leaders said residents have been asking for more recreational options, the Madison (Wis.)-based WISC-TV News 3 reported.
Fitchburg’s Mayor Shawn Pfaff said residents have asked city leaders to explore options at the site. Since changes could take a while to implement, Pfaff said it will remain a golf course at least until the fall of 2014, WISC reported.
Twice a week, for 10 weeks, kids from all over the area come to Nine Springs for the 1st Tee Program, WISC reported.
“It’s only five minutes from my house, so it’s easy to come to, so it’s a fun course to play,” said youth golfer Austin Cotharan, one of 30 students practicing their swing at the course. “I think that it is good to have a golf course in this area, to be able to get out and have fun, plus it’s one of the few golf courses in the area that’s good for younger kids.”
Youth have been learning the game of golf at Nine Springs Golf Course for decades, WISC reported.
“It’s not a high-priced, full-championship, 18-hole golf course,” said teaching professional Bill Kokott. “It serves a lower end especially for the beginner and perhaps for senior golfers, too.”
This program and the others based here may need to find a new home if the city council decides to convert the course to a park, WISC reported.
“Fitchburg right now is going through a process of determining what type of recreational programming we’ll do in the northern part of our city,” said Pfaff.
Manager and Golf Pro Sam Schultz said the course is an asset to the community and is used by thousands every year, WISC reported.
“It’s something that they can get some good exercise with and learn many of the values in the game of golf that become very valuable in the game of life,” said Schultz.
The golf course keeps the green fees low to help make the course accessible to everyone, Schultz said.
“Playing golf isn’t just hitting a golf ball, but playing golf is enjoying nature, playing golf is enjoying the outside,” said Schultz. “As you go along, stop and play with the frogs once in a while. That’s part of the game, that’s part of the love of the game.”
Over the next six to nine months, Pfaff said, the City’s Parks Commission plans to host outreach meetings and study what options might work at that location, WISC reported.
The decision whether or not Nine Springs will remain a golf course will be up to the City Council, Pfaff said.
“I personally love playing this course. As mayor, I’m comfortable with the conversation going to seeing if there are other options but in the end, if this maintains itself as a golf course, we’ll make sure that young people are a part of this golf course as well,” said Pfaff.
The city is looking for input from Fitchburg area residents, and asks that anyone who wants to give suggestions or voice concerns to talk to their local alderperson, WISC reported.