FENNIMORE, Wis. — A Fennimore-area golf course will remain in operation after a prospective buyer who proposed to utilize the property for agriculture withdrew his offer and new buyers stepped in.
Greg and Heather Norsby, of Mount Zion, intend to continue the operations of Hickory Grove Golf Course and Country Club, located at 14562 U.S. 61.
“It’s been a piece of the community for years,” Greg Norsby said. “(The purchase) was to save it from being changed.”
The three current co-owners expect to close on the sale by Nov. 1.
“We have not signed papers yet, but all indications are that it is going to go through,” said co-owner Jim Kohlenberg.
A previous prospective buyer, Israel Hertzler, of Boscobel, previously sought to rezone the property for agricultural use, but he withdrew his offer earlier this month.
Contact information could not be located for Hertzler, but an application submitted to Grant County’s zoning department indicated he intended to construct a produce shop and residence and to plant crops on the 80-acre property.
Hickory Grove co-owner Joe Jewison declined to comment as to why Hertzler withdrew his offer but said Hertzler retains the right of first refusal if the sale to the Norsbys does not proceed.
Kohlenberg said at age 75, he no longer desires to own the property.
“We’ve had it for 10 years, so it’s probably time to move on,” he said. “We made some money. We put it all back into that golf course, so it’s in good shape. You can make money at it.”
Owners Kohlenberg, Jewison and Larry Bomkamp paid staff to run the property, which cut into profits.
“But if somebody buys it and works part of it themselves, they’ll be just fine,” Kohlenberg said.
The Norsbys will purchase the property for $600,000. It includes a nine-hole course and full-service restaurant and bar that was constructed in 1968.
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore utilizes the course for its golf program and previously considered purchasing the property to use as a teaching lab.
College President Jason Wood said the school conducted a feasibility study, which indicated a discrepancy between the considerable operating and upkeep costs and the lower-than-expected revenues was too large for the institution to absorb the cost.
He said the college decided against making an offer to purchase Hickory Grove in March but hopes to continue using it going forward.
The Norsbys’ purchase is not their first venture into the business world in Wisconsin.
Greg owns Norsby’s Custom Construction, and he and Heather operated a restaurant at the Central House in Boscobel. Meanwhile, Heather Norsby teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Hickory Grove will remain open during daylight hours until winter weather drives players off the course.
Greg Norsby said he is still determining the bar and restaurant’s hours of operation and the number of staff he intends to hire to work in the clubhouse.
Those interested in applying can submit a message on the golf course’s Facebook page at www.bit.ly/2OLOzgD.
The Norsbys intend to work on site as their schedules allow.
“We’re just trying to soak it all in and wait for things to get going again,” Greg Norsby said. “Everything’s in line. It’s just a matter of waiting for paperwork.”