Golf lodge should be a hit-in right place

SOMETIMES ALL A GREAT idea needs is to find the right place to flourish and succeed.

That may well be the case with the Tournament Club golf lodge Chris Wold proposed to build on County S in the town of Plymouth.

Wold’s plan is to build a rustic lodge in the country that would serve as home base for groups of golfers looking to hold their own minitournament on the area’s championship-caliber golf courses – Whistling Straits, Blackwolf Run, The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, Erin Hills and more.

Wold thought he had found the perfect location – a 14.7-acre parcel on County S south of County Z in the town of Plymouth in the rolling kettles with woods and a wetland. He planned to build his 12- to 16-bedroom lodge set back from the road, behind a natural berm, shielded from his neighbors.

The roadblock he encountered – and eventually couldn’t overcome – was determining the proper zoning.

Town officials decided he needed business zoning, but in the end couldn’t support what would be spot zoning in the face of questions raised by potential neighbors.

It was the right decision by the Town Board. While Wold could make the case that his proposal would be minimally disruptive to the area and his neighbors, once the door was opened to business zoning at the property, it was a door that would be difficult to close in the future should the land come to other uses.

The Tournament Club could last decades or it could falter shortly after opening, but either way the chance is there that it would not last forever. And once the business zoning had been in place, a future owner of the property could turn it to other uses that would create intolerable traffic, noise, disruption or worse for the neighborhood.

That’s the purpose of land-use planning and zoning, to ensure compatibility not just now but for all future contingencies. That’s why the Town Board was right to make the decision it did.

But that doesn’t mean the Tournament Club is a bad idea – it isn’t.

If Wold can find a location where he can have the rustic, rural setting he’s looking for and still be compatible with surrounding land uses, there’s every reason to believe his plan can succeed.

Similar ventures are already successful in locations from the Carolinas to the state of Washington and in between. The same kind of business plan has worked for hunting and fishing lodges throughout northern Wisconsin and there’s no reason to believe it can’t work for the collection of world-class golf courses in Sheboygan County and the surrounding area.

Here’s hoping that Wold continues looking for the right spot for his Tournament Club in Sheboygan County and eventually finds one that beats par in every sense.

At issue:
Tournament Club lodge
Bottom line:
There should be a place for it

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