By Owen Stevens —
Baseball great Rogers Hornsby was not a fan of the snow or the cold. I am not a fan of the pair either, so it’s no surprise that Hornsby comes to mind around this time of year—one quote of his in particular:
“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring,” the Hall of Fame second baseman was quoted as saying. For anyone who loves to be outside and active, Hornsby’s sentiment is spot-on.
For golfers in the Coulee Region, the gap between last fall’s final nine and this spring’s maiden round can feel like an eternity. All you can do in the interim is think about purchasing more clubs, hitting the golf simulator and watching the PGA Tour on TV while gazing longingly out the window, waiting for the bare branches to sprout buds and the grass to turn green.
The trek from long winter nights to warmer spring and summer days is far more intense and proactive for father and son duo Dave and Kyle Cornell. Dave is the owner of Fox Hollow Golf Course, located at N3287 County Trunk OA, and Kyle is the superintendent.
“Right now and at the beginning of winter, it’s a lot of cleaning up the machines, sharpening the reels and the bed knives for the mowers, and fixing leaks on the equipment. We also repaint, polish and wax all the equipment so it looks nice,” said Kyle.
From well-oiled machines to the beautification of seemingly minor aspects of the course, there is no shortage of work for the Cornells, even if there is a healthy covering of snow on the ground.
“We are also repainting all the garbage cans and tee markers. Things that don’t necessarily jump out at you still need to be taken care of so the club looks nice,” said Dave.
Golfers not only love the spirit of competition and the frustrating precision of the game, but also the beauty of a meticulously manicured and maintained piece of land. For Dave and Kyle, no detail is too small.
“I’m learning as I go. All the little stuff you don’t think about, like tee markers, garbage cans and benches, all adds up quick,” said Kyle, who took over as superintendent over two years ago. “It’s been a fun learning experience.”
General upkeep and maintenance are not the only processes the Cornells face with the club. “We are always trying to improve stuff every year out here,” said Dave. Two years ago, Fox Hollow finished a major addition to the restaurant/bar for accommodation of private parties.
This year, there will be a few big changes to the course itself for the upcoming season, which regulars should appreciate.
“We’ll be redoing the greenside sand traps. That will be a real nice improvement which should be done by the end of May at the latest,” Kyle said.
The cart paths will also be paved for 2017. The project began at the end of last year but will be completed during the early stages of spring.
“We also have a completely new tee box for hole 17. We were working on it all last year, so it should be ready to go for this spring as well. Those three things are pretty big and should make for nice improvements to the course,” said Dave.
To truly take advantage of all the new updates Fox Hollow has to offer for the upcoming season, many area enthusiasts have already purchased memberships at the course.
“We had our golf membership drive in December, which is popular as people give memberships as gifts around the holidays, but you can buy memberships anytime throughout the year,” Dave explained.
A single membership is right around $800 with tax, but Fox Hollow has numerous options for couples, seniors and college students who are looking to make the most of their dollar at the golf course.
Fox Hollow also hosts weekly volleyball leagues when the weather takes a turn for the better, stocks over 150 beers at the bar, and makes dishes with locally-sourced ingredients from their kitchen.
“Everything is fresh and never frozen, which people seem to care about nowadays,” Dave said, adding that a garden might be implemented on-site to reinforce the idea of local sustainability.
While we may still be weeks away from even thinking about dusting off our clubs, the folks at Fox Hollow already have their sleeves rolled up and are hard at work to ensure that 2017 is a success.
For now, we’ll just keep looking out the window. Someday soon, we’ll discover that spring is in full bloom and the flagsticks have been planted in the ground.
An honorary Wisconsinite after spending 15 years in various parts of the state, Owen Stevens graduated from UW-Stevens Point. Like any good adopted son of Wisconsin, he enjoys sports and, of course, drinking, among other things.