Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI
July 22, 1993
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.
Index of "Good Old Days" Articles
Good Old Days
By Dee Zimmerman
“Golf: a game in which a small, hard, resilient ball is stroked with a long-shafted club. The object of the game is to stroke the ball from an established spot on the teeing ground into a hole or cup located anywhere from 100 to 600 yards away, using the fewest possible strokes.”
The course – the game is played on a course which customarily consists of 9 to 18 holes. Each hole, which designates a unit of play, consists of a teeing ground, a putting green in which the cup is located, and the intervening area. The cup must be 4 ¼ inches in diameter and at least 4 inches deep. The play area between the tee-off area and the putting green is called the fairway with the outer area being named the “rough.”
Golf is a sport that many of us get “hooked” on and as soon as the spring weather permits, we are off and running to the nearest golf course, until the cold weather hits.
Clark County has two fine golf courses, Meadowview in the northern part near Owen and the Neillsville Country Club in the southern locale of the county.
John S. Owen, lumberman for whom the City of Owen was named, established a golf course on some of the company’s land now known as Meadowview Country Club, located on the west side of Owen.
The Meadowview Golf Course was first opened for play in 1927 or 1928. It was built by the John S. Owen Lumber Company on land that was also owned by the company.
John S. Owen came to the northern county area in 1893 to set up a lumbering business with Owen City at the center of the operation. The operations covered 400 to 500 square miles. After the trees were cut, the company helped promote farming in selling to those who showed a promise of permanence. They encouraged the development of their city with inviting businesses.
Mr. Owen lived to the age of 90, dying in 1939, having witnessed many transitions, including the development of a golf course on his land near the city.
The 9-hole golf course’s name “Meadowview” seems appropriate when learning it was developed on what had been a cow pasture. A great amount of labor goes into designing and shaping the grounds in preparation for play.
On its first year there were ten charter members of which some were: Bill Mahoney, E. W. Kidd, Henry Wallom, Randy Sheridan, Gunder Anderson and Francis Conway (only living member, who resides in Thorp.)
In the beginning, only those having a membership could golf. The membership fee was $10.00 per year in the course’s first year of existence. An old renovated railroad boxcar was moved to the grounds and used as the club house for many years.
Eddie Wendt became a club member in 1932 and still is an active member. Mr. Wendt’s interest in the game started when he caddied for other golfers. At the age of 21, he became a member of Meadowview. In 1960, he began managing the golf course, retiring in 1974. It is interesting to note that Eddie has had over 60 years of participation in the game of golf and during that time he has had membership at the same golf course.
About 10 years ago, the golf course was incorporated. At that time, a new club house with pro-shop was built. It is a very nice facility which not only serves the needs of golf course related events, but also provides a dining-reception area for social events in the community.
Through dedication and support of the northern Clark County residents, the Meadowview Golf Course Country Club is thriving and being enjoyed by many.
The first Neillsville Golf Course was located near Dells Dam and the Black River.
Articles of incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State and the charter was issued in May of 1926. A meeting for the subscribers for stock was held. Officers and directors were elected, constitution and bylaws adopted.
Directors were W. A. Campman, Geo. A. Ure, Kurt Listeman, F. D. Coleway, and L. Williamson.
The dreams of a beautiful golf course and club house were anticipated by those involved. They proposed a club house to be erected on a site overlooking the river. A nine-hole course was tentatively laid out on railroad company land adjacent to the gravel pit. They also thought there would be enough land for another 9 holes to be developed later.
Plans were made for a bathing beach near the club house and a picnic area along the river bank. The club house was to be built on a site which was promised by the Wisconsin Light & Power Co.
The Neillsville Golf Course was incorporated with capital stock at $2,500.00.
In the fall of 1926, card parties and potluck dinners were amongst the social events to be held at the club house.
The hopes and dreams of Dells Dam area golf course were short-lived when the following year 1927 the railroad company announced they would be taking gravel from the center of the nine-hole course.
That news, prompted Ernie Snyder to promote a new golf course. He had taken option on the Marvin farm 6 miles west of Neillsville for that purpose. Ernie asked O. W. Chapin of Minneapolis to come to view the property and lay out the course. Mr. Chapin was an architect for MacGreagor Co. and a professional for the Oak Ridge Country Club.
The course was laid out at 2900 yards long with two pitch shots over Wedges Creek on the 8th and 9th holes. It was to have all grass tees and fairways with red top and blue grass. The course was named Pinecrest or referred to as the Snyder Golf Course.
Mr. Snyder had plans in developing the course along with recreational lines. He proposed to build a dam across Wedges Creek which would and did make a small lake with swimming-picnicking activities available.
The plans for the Snyder golf course did materialize and did exist for a short time of about four years. The early 30’s were years of drought that plagued the greens and fairways. Without rain and no water sprinkling system, the course couldn’t be kept up for playing. Also, the clubhouse that had been built was destroyed by fire. Thus, the second attempt of a Neillsville Golf Course was scratched due to unfavorable circumstances. Mr. Snyder had devoted much in trying to develop a golf course and recreational area.
Neillsville Golf Course’s third site will be in next week’s article.
A 1929 birds’ eye view of one of the greens on the Neillsville Country Club Course, when it was located six miles west of Neillsville on the Ernie Snyder property. The creek shown in the photo is Wedges Creek.
A foursome who golfed on the Neillsville Country Club (Snyder) Course was left to right: Fred Balch, Ernie Snyder, Roy Schmedel and Levi Williamson. The caddies are not known. The dog, “Old Pete,” belonged to Ernie.
(Our thanks to Norbert Pabich, Eddie Wendt and Gertrude Snyder for information on the golf courses. Also, Thanks to the Clark County Historical Society for the Snyder photographs)
(Some additional information about the Neillsville Free Library was unintentionally omitted in last week’s article. Other Board of Directors were: Marie Covell, Sam Ray, William Yenni, Jean Thompson, Duane Sternitzky, Irene Geise and Henry Rahn, who served for 26 years.)
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