The Courses of Lawsonia have been voted amongst the best for 2015! The Links course has received numerous awards throughout the off-season.
America’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses 2014 (Lawsonia Links #85)
Top 50 – “Most Fun Golf Courses To Play In America” (Lawsonia Links #13)
Top 10 Golf Courses In Wisconsin 2014 (Lawsonia Links #3)
The Links Course is listed as the #3 golf course in Wisconsin according to the Golfweek Rankings.
The Links Course has been voted into the Top 100 Public Golf Courses in America. The geometric shapes and steep, angular slopes of Lawsonia’s massive green pads and deep bunkers have led many to conclude it’s a Seth Raynor design, which it is not. Langford and Moreau built the course using steamshovels, which resulted in most of those distinctive landforms. The par-3 seventh has another explanation entirely. Its green, perched like a birthday cake, was formed by piling dirt over an old railroad boxcar.
The Highway 23 road construction is now complete. You should have construction free travel on Hwy 23 to and from the course both East and West.
This Links Magazine article lists Lawsonia as a “hidden gem” among golf courses around the world.
As the third finest course in the Badger State within GolfWeek Magazine’s 2014 Best You Can Play rankings, The Links Course at Lawsonia could have easily rested on its 85 year history of greatness. Fortunately for golf fans throughout the Midwest, the 1929 William Langford gem in Green Lake, WI has not. Under the direction of Oliphant Management, who formed a partnership with Lawsonia last fall, a bold tree removal initiative is underway that in the end will restore The Links to its original intent. I was fortunate enough to recently interview Craig Haltom, vice president of golf management for Oliphant, and we discussed a variety of topics as it relates to the ongoing renovations at Lawsonia.
1) Please give our readers a detailed overview of the recent tree removal project on The Links Course and what golfers should now expect when playing this venerable layout?
“The project started over 10 years ago with a plan that golf architect Ron Forse put together, and that the course superintendent Mike Berwick executed. The Links course had become littered with trees, which collectively began to erode the links-like experience of playing the course. Over the years, trees had been planted as a backdrop to certain greens, to provide shade at tees, or planted as a perceived safety buffer -all things that might make sense on another course, but that really take away from what makes the Links course so unique.”
“We have removed 200 trees from the Links Course (and quite a few from The Woodlands too). The most dramatic changes were completed last winter around Links No. 13 and No. 14. We took down 80 large white pines that were original to the course. We did not think the original architects would have ever intended for there to be a shady ‘wall’ of trees around those greens – which is what the trees had become after 80 years. Stepping up to the 14th tee was like walking into a room, and it was becoming increasingly difficult (nearly impossible) to grow grass on those greens. So as much for agronomic reasons as anything else, we made the decision to clear the trees. The response from golfers has been overwhelmingly positive, as you can once again see the cool elevation changes and contours around those holes. I’m about as much of a preservationist as you will find when it comes to golf courses and golf architecture, but when it comes to trees, they are living things and courses evolve. Tree management is one of the most important things we do on a course.”
2) The Links Course at Lawsonia was named the 13th Most Fun course in the entire nation in a Sept. 2012 Golf Digest article. Why do you believe the Links is such an enjoyable course no matter how often you play it?
To begin with, I believe the greens on the Links are remarkable, and so unique to almost anything you can play in the Midwest. I spent three years in Scotland as a student before I moved to Wisconsin, and I knew from the first time I played the Links that it was the real deal (and that I would be coming back for the rest of my life). The course simply ‘feels’ and plays links-like, and that type of golf is as fun as it gets.
3) What are the top three improvements/changes Oliphant Management is looking forward to accomplishing at Lawsonia in 2014 or 2015?
Our top priority is the continued restoration efforts on the Links Course as mentioned above. We also now have expanded restaurant hours plus increased banquet and wedding capabilities. Finally, we have an overriding focus on customer service. Everything we do is about putting the customer first.
4) We have focused exclusively on The Links Course so far, but it’s also important to remember that Lawsonia is home to another championship course, The Woodlands that was designed by Rocky Roquemore and opened for public play in 1991. How rare is it in your opinion to have two courses on one piece of land that are so opposite from each other yet both so outstanding?
It is rare… and it should be said that The Woodlands Course is just as popular as the Links (in fact, I’m pretty sure we do more rounds on the Woodlands). Our customers have a lot of fun splitting 36 holes at Lawsonia between two completely different kinds of golf courses, often in the same day. To be able to do that on one property, and to have overnight lodging practically on the course, is tough to beat.
5) Anything else you’d like to add about the property?
First off all thank you so much for this opportunity Brian. I can’t think of a better place in the state to play 36 holes in one day and feel like you traveled miles and miles to do so. The contrast from Northern Wisconsin within The Woodlands Course’s dramatic forest and wildlife, to the Links Course and the feel of playing in the British Open! We have a great all day rate all season long here for just $105 weekdays and $145 on the weekends as well as houses on property to bring the group and stay. Don’t forget about our full service restaurant and bar Langford’s Pub, serving food and your favorite beverages and food daily. For more information on Lawsonia, make sure to visit their website at www.lawsonia.com or call the pro shop at (920) 294-3320.
The Golf Courses of Lawsonia is pleased to announce that on March 1, 2014 Oliphant Golf Management assumed the operation of the Golf Courses of Lawsonia on a lease arrangement. Green Lake Conference Center continues to own the courses. The Golf Courses of Lawsonia remain public courses, with annual memberships and daily play available as in the past.
Oliphant will also oversee Lawsonia’s pro shop and restaurant operation. Formerly known as the Caddyshack, the restaurant’s name has been changed to Langford’s Pub after Links Course designer William Langford. Watch for expanded hours this season, building on the tremendous success of the Friday night fish frys. Jeff Kleinke and Nick Lueptow continue to manage the day-to-day business at the pro shop and restaurant.
Ben Mott, President of Green Lake Conference Center, says, “I am excited to see Lawsonia as a whole benefit from the expertise and passion of the Oliphant companies for creating outstanding golf experiences. This change also provides the conference center staff with more time to focus on its passion for nurturing and training Christian leaders.”
“We look forward to many more years of successful partnership with The Golf Courses of Lawsonia” says Craig Haltom, Vice President of Golf Management for Oliphant. “Clubhouse renovations are underway, and there are great things planned in the restaurant and bar. This winter, we have continued an aggressive tree management and course restoration plan on the Links, and we have begun to open some dramatic lake views on the Woodlands course. It’s a busy and exciting time for Lawsonia.”
For the last three years, the maintenance of the courses has been sub-contracted to Oliphant and they have done a fabulous job. From tees to greens, the courses have never been in better condition. Lawsonia’s course superintendent is Mike Lyons of Oliphant, past president of the Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Oliphant Golf Management’s parent company, Oliphant Golf, Inc., is an industry leader in golf course construction and renovation. The company has had 13 projects recognized in Golf Digest’s Top 10 ‘Best New’ in the past decade, and they have completed renovations at some of the most highly regarded courses in the country including Pebble Beach Golf Links near Monterey, CA and Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan.
To find out more call (920) 294-3320.