Keiser Offers Fund Renovation of Glenway Golf Club
By Dave Daubert
Michael Keiser-son of Mike Keiser, developer of the famed Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon, an owner with his brother Chris of the acclaimed Sand Valley Resort in Rome, Wisconsin has volunteered, along with his wife, Jocelyn, to fund a renovation and reimagining of the public Glenway Golf Course in Madison.
The city of Madison's Golf Subcommittee is scheduled to meet virtually on January 28th, and Keiser's offer for the improvements of Glenway's nine-hole executive course which first opened for play in 1927, will be on the agenda for discussion. That will be the first step in a process that will eventually include the Board of Park Commissioners and the City Council. Keiser's proposal appears to satisfy many of the recommendations of the city's Task Force on Municipal Golf in Madison Parks, which promotes positive ecological outcomes, an attention to diversity and the opportunity for enjoyment of non-golfers.
Mike first started thinking about Glenway about two years ago, after reading a newspaper story about the troubled finances of Madison's public golf courses. He then called Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp.
"I was not really expecting him to call me back but I heard back from him in 45 minutes," Keiser said. "We talked for an hour. The vision I described was in concert with his vision." Keiser's vision extends beyond rebuilding eight of Glenway's nine greens to making the property more mixed-use, with hiking trails and the reintroduction of prairie and savannah species in turf areas not in play. Keiser points to the famed Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, as a model. "They have trails going through the course," said Mike. "When you're teeing off on the second hole, there's a trail to the right where people are walking their dogs. They close the golf course every Sunday and open it for non-golf activities."
The routing of holes would not change dramatically. Keiser adds, "It's really good as it is. I think with outstanding greens it could be a course any of us would be happy to play, with our kids, our parents and our friends, for the rest of our lives. A fun, thoughtful, inclusive course." There would be no strings attached, but did say he would like to move quickly and there is no time like the present. That could require Glenway to be closed for all or part of the 2021 golf season.
"Madison is such a progressive city," said Keiser. "I think it would be cool to have a progressive golf course, one that's inclusive and designed architecturally for all golfers. Most golf courses are designed by men for men. Why wouldn't Madison be the city to lead the change?
Knepp has written to the subcommittee members in support of the project. "The focus of the project will be on ecological restoration and multi-purpose benefits of golf courses, which will at the same time enhance the golfing experience for players of all skill levels. The work will highlight the natural beauty of the course by opening up key vistas across the course."
If approved, the Glenway project would be undertaken during the same time that the Keisers would also pursue their ambitious and innovative plan to recreate on the Sand Valley property the architecturally revered course from the Lido Golf Club, a combined design by Seth Raynor, C.B. Macdonald and Alistair MacKenzie on New York's Long Island that was closed in World War II.
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Revised: 01/27/2021 - Article Viewed 9,781 Times
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About: Dave Daubert
David has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.