Pond drawdown may hurt golf course
Business needs water for irrigation
By Bert Lehman
A drawdown of Pigeon Pond could put Clintonville Riverside Golf Course out of business.
That was the sentiment Andy Hooyman, co-owner of Clintonville Riverside Golf Course, relayed to the Clintonville Streets Committee at its June 7 meeting.
Hooyman addressed the committee during the Citizens Forum portion of the meeting. He said he wanted to make sure the city is aware of how a drawdown would impact the golf course’s business.
“We understand the importance of the need for the upcoming repairs to the dam,” Hooyman said. “We agree these repairs need to take place. However, the drawdown of the pond has the potential to put us out of business. So we feel it’s important for us to be here today to ensure this committee understands our concerns and decisions can be made with our concerns in mind.”
Hooyman said the golf course is dependent on the water in Pigeon Pond to maintain the greens, fairways, and tee boxes. He added that the business has had a permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for many years to own and maintain a pump on the north shoreline of Pigeon Pond. A pipe connected to this pump extends 20 feet into the pond.
“We use this pump to bring water in from Pigeon Pond and distribute it out over the golf course for irrigation purposes,” Hooyman said. “Approximately 300,000 gallons of water is used from the pond during a nightly irrigation cycle. Without this water, our greens and tee boxes will not survive.”
The type of grass used on the golf course can’t survive on rainwater alone, Hooyman said. It needs additional water typically from April through October.
“Without water our greens and tee boxes will wilt and die in three or four days when temperatures exceed 70 degrees,” he said. “Or within one or two days if temperatures exceed 80 degrees.”
Hooyman told the committee the golf course has been part of the Clintonville community since 1929, and is well known by golfers in surrounding counties.
He added that 13,000 rounds of golf are played there every year.
“We estimated that six to seven thousand of those rounds are played by visitors from outside of Clintonville,” Hooyman said. “These visitors are not only playing golf here in town, but they are also buying gas, buying food and drinks at local restaurants, and buying from local shops. On top of these economic benefits our business also generates $42,000 a year in property taxes for the community.”
He added that the business does not have the funds to survive a season in which the golf course is closed, or the funds to replace the greens and tee boxes. This would also impact the employees of the business.
The use of a cofferdam during the dam repairs was recommended by Hooyman.
Although the repair of the Pigeon River dam was not on the agenda for the meeting, a discussion ensued.
Committee Chairman Jim Supanich asked if it was possible to connect the golf course’s irrigation system to the city’s water supply.
Because the golf course uses 500 to 600 gallons of water per minute during irrigation, a representative from the golf course said he wasn’t sure if the city could supply that much water that fast.
Supanich suggested the head of the city’s water department meet with golf course representatives to discuss that option.
Supanich also asked if a drawdown that started in November would adversely affect the golf course.
“It would not as long as it is filled by April,” Hooyman responded.
Supanich told Hooyman that the city would keep communication open with the golf course regarding future meetings involving the drawdown. He added that if the city doesn’t receive a grant from the DNR to help cover part of the dam repair costs, a new plan would have to be developed. The city will learn by the end of June if it is approved for a grant.
“We do appreciate all the business that you supply the community and all the benefits that we get from the golf course. We will keep your problems and concerns in mind, and we will be inviting you to several meetings,” Supanich told Hooyman.