Eagle Creek Golf Club is now The Creeks at Ivy Acres
Meet the New Owner and Hear His Vision for The Property
By Brian Weis
GolfWisconsin.com recently interviewed Bill Verbrick, Co-Owner The Creeks at Ivy Acres. We touched on a variety of topics including the reason behind the name change, and what golfers can expect this year at the course. From our discussion, I get the sense The Creek at Ivy Acres will return to being one of the top courses in the Fox Valley.
When did you acquire Eagle Creek and what drew you to the property?
We closed on November 24th, 2015. I learned that Eagle Creek GC was for sale in the spring of 2015 and being an Appleton native, I was very familiar with the golf course and more so, the great potential that the property holds.
You changed the name to The Creeks at Ivy Acres. Is there a story/reason behind the new name?
We felt that it was important to change the name of the business to signify a clear change of ownership and change of management. However, the reason we decided on "The Creeks" portion of the name was to hold onto the strong roots that the golf course has established since its 2001 opening as The Creeks of Ellington and later as Eagle Creek Golf Club. We felt that many members of the course had always referred to it as "The Creeks" already, therefore it seemed to be a good fit, retaining the recognition and history while still clearly signaling change. The reason for the "Ivy Acres" portion of the name is twofold. First, with our intentions of constructing a banquet facility to host weddings, outings and other events, we wanted to create a relevant brand and feel of something more than just the golf course. Secondly, I personally wanted to thank one of my partners and key investors, Ryan Ivy. He is a very modest gentleman who doesn't seek recognition or accolades but I nevertheless felt it was an appropriate nod to him for making my dream a reality.
For the very same reason as above, one of my other partners and key investors, Chad Feller, was also instrumental in making my dream a reality. I was excited to incorporate his nickname into the branding of the business by naming the golf course's restaurant, Felski's Pub at Ivy Acres.
My other partner and the new Head Greenskeeper (old-school title for Golf Course Superintendent) is Steve Blake. He shared my dream of one day owning of golf course and it was his encouraging to pursue this dream that made it a reality.
Most people will probably refer to the golf course as The Creeks and brides will probably say they are having their wedding at Ivy Acres. I think it will be great for branding and I have had some great professional assistance from my branding company, Quill Creative out of Oshkosh, WI.
With new ownership comes new changes, for golfers who play the course regularly what changes will they see in the early part of the 2016 golf season?
We are excited to present some immediate improvements to The Creeks.
1. The biggest change is the rerouting of the front 9 holes. We are incorporating the two practice holes into the actual 18-hole layout. Practice hole P1 will become hole #1. P2 will become #2. Old #1 will play as #3 and so on. We will remove holes #6 and #7 and make those the new practice holes. From the old #5 you will continue to #8. By doing this, we feel we eliminate the two holes that presented the most problems (ie: drainage issues, forced carries, controversial design). The two practice holes are also incredibly well designed golf holes.
2. We have removed numerous trees surrounding two of the greens that were in a poor growing environment in an effort to improve the growing conditions surrounding these greens. We are excited to provide 18 excellent putting surfaces in 2016. The two holes were old #5 (new #7) and #11.
3. We have also replaced the aged gas cart fleet with a greatly upgraded electric Club Car golf cart fleet. We have also added a new beverage cart.
4. We have decided to bring back a few key employees while retooling our staff with many new faces in an effort to make our main focus customer service! We are confident that our dedication to customer service will be our greatest selling point and we are excited to welcome you all to The Creeks! We will be slowly introducing the staff on our website (www.golfthecreeks.com), and our social media outlets (like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay informed).
5. We will continue to make many more improvements including a bar renovation, removal of long grass near fairway landing areas, bunker renovations, banquet facility construction and a new focus on turf grass quality and play-ability that will rival area private golf clubs.
Long range, what changes or visions do you have for the course/property?
I may have addressed some of this in my previous answer, although many of those changes will be immediately recognized. Our goal is to provide the fox cities' golfing community with the finest daily fee golf course along with a reasonably priced membership option. We are excited to soon be included in an elite list of publicly accessible golf courses that makes Wisconsin arguably the best state for daily fee golf in the entire country! We are also excited to provide a unique and special venue for weddings and other events that is much needed in the greater fox valley.
Eagle creek was often viewed as a tough golf course. One that would beat up the average golfer with numerous forced carries and water in play on many holes. Any plans to make the golf course more friendly?
The Creeks was and always will be a great test for highly skilled golfers. This is due to the additional sets of tees on the course that gives us lengths of over 7,100 yards. However, the golf course has mistakenly allowed long grass areas to creep far too close to the fairways, making it difficult for the higher handicap golfers. We will remove or cut back those long grass areas that have swallowed so many golf balls.
There are a large number of water hazards on the golf course but many of those hazards are far enough away from the landing areas to provide a perfect balance of beauty and challenge for golfers of all levels.
Our goal is to make the course more playable for high handicap golfers while maintaining a challenging test for the accomplished golfer. We will continually strive for a fair test of golf. We intent to bring more shot-making into play by removing lost ball areas. Another way to achieve this is by creating more short grass or chipping areas around the greens and more importantly, maintaining those short grass areas in a way that allows players the ability to putt the ball or bump and run the ball instead of being forced to fly the ball all the way to the green.
Why should The Creeks at Ivy Acres be on a golfers "must play list" for 2016?
I have addressed this in length with my previous answers. If they had a "most improved" award for Wisconsin golf courses, I would suggest hedging your bet for The Creeks! But don't take my word for it. Come see for yourself!
What makes your course or what will be changed to be different than the other courses in the area?
Customer service and turf grass conditioning will set us apart. The fox valley has some very nice private golf courses. You will now be able to enjoy the conditions and service of a private club without dealing with the exclusion and price barriers. The Creeks will have a very fun and laid back atmosphere.
Anything else you would like to share?
February 12 - 14, we will be at Player's Choice in Appleton displaying our brand at The Fox Cities Golf Expo. Come see us in Booth A to enjoy some nice promotions. We are also offering a 15% discount off our annual membership prices for anyone who pays by the end of February. Find our prices at www.golfthecreeks.com.
Also, we will be launching our Junior Golf Program soon!
How can golfers contact you?
While we are in the off-season, the best way to contact us is via email at email@example.com.
We will also be periodically checking our voicemail at 920-757-1000. And once the season is upon us you are always welcome to just drop in at the course, located just 10 minutes northwest of Appleton and just a few minutes north of Greenville and east of Hortonville (N3594 Market Rd., Hortonville, WI 54944).
Revised: 02/05/2016 - Article Viewed 22,433 Times - View Golf Course Profile
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler