Wanaki golf course to close


In a shocking announcement  on Wednesday, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said that Wanaki Golf Course will close at the end of the 2019 season.

Farrow said the county-owned course has been losing between $150,000 to $180,000 annually.

The closure must still be approved by the Waukesha County Board of Supervisors.

The property was acquired in 1967 and the 18-hole course opened in 1970.

A full story on the closure can be found in Thursday’s Waukesha Freeman.

2 thoughts on “Wanaki golf course to close

  1. Hi Chuck,
    It was brought to our attention in earlier part of 2015 that both Wanaki Golf Course and in addition Moor Downs Golf Course were on the table to be closed or sold. More than likely Moor Downs is still in that discussion stage even if not mentioned. Moor Downs’ elimination of the club house manager to reduce losses with that course had helped with near $80,000 in lost revenues, a number that was annually expected and accepted in the system.

    Although Wanaki GC needed new bridges for years due to failures and safety reasons, and were never in compliance with state regulations to begin with. The Parks & Land Use Dept. decided to make that expenditure on the new bridges and at a very high cost at that to the reserve fund, what little was left of it, and/or decided borrowing of monies for such would be better at low interest rates. In either case this raised the inability to again meet budget numbers. Knowing fully that the future years of Wanaki GC to exist were low at best.

    It’s sad losing a course where it’s greens conditions were the talk of the town from 2000 to 2015, all sectors of golfers both from public and private raved about that when playing the course.

    The greens were excellent and course conditions very well maintained . This was attributed to the Superintendents playing abilities in how he wanted the greens and his desire to attract new customers and keep the base customers coming back year after year. Unfortunately, just not enough new money coming in and as always the 18 hole percentage of play always seemed to hover less than 40 percent. Probably a location issue with Silver Spring in the back yard for competition for 18- hole play.

    After a much needed automatic irrigation system installation in early 2000, an asphalt cart paths CIP cost to help with more cart rental revenues, the costs for tee time reservation program, then numerous tee time and service upgrades, wasted costs for an unused hitting cage of $50,000 with near zero returns since it’s construction, and now the new bridges, and any new not mentioned upgrades and repairs needed. It’s not a wonder that the end was near.

    Also, the golf courses retained earnings were heavily tapped for other county needs. Monies that never seemed to come back to its pot. There was $340,000 for Elbe Ice, annual monies used for new park land acquisitions, and numerous other sources that tapped into the retained earnings of the golf courses never paid back.

    Sad to admit but true. It actually is a good move revenues-wise for the system. Even with the broken hearts of staff that worked there and customers who played there.

    The Nags as we called it will make its money. Even
    more so now due to county customers play from Wanaki GC filtering to Waukesha Counties main course. Something they “Parks & Land Use” are surely banking on after this move and may even raise its rates because of this supply and demand.
    The course very rarely missed its budgeted mark, maybe one or two times in the last 10 years so all in all that’s pretty solid.

    Although It had many complaints about conditions being poor from earlier days for several years prior to 2012 from lack of proper maintenance and less than desired greens conditions. This was due to supervision thinking it was good to show he could save money, totally wrong in a market to satisfy customers to return, and create new customers and new revenues. Especially in a down market at the time.

    However, due to location and the layout it seemed to maintain enough number of rounds needed to generate revenues just enough to thrive. Now, maintenance is much better and conditions better all around . This after a few years after of struggle getting going with the new guy.

    County golfers can probably look forward to better things as losses should turn to gains and create monies for improvements.

    Nags just might look like the 80’s again running to book a tee time or the front gate overloaded with cars.

    Good by Wanaki🍻❤️
    I left my heart and soul there!


  2. I play(ed) there regularly, latest four days ago. Tees, greens, etc. were 100%, as usual. A real shame for a playable, friendly course. But when you look at the County Budget online, the problem is obvious: rounds played aren’t enough to balance the expenditures. I would have thought Moor Downs was a more likely candidate for closure but it’s losses were minimal compared to Wanaki and Nag’s surplus easily covers them. I don’t mourn the demise of crappy courses, of which there is no shortage, but this one hurts.


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