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Future of Fitchburg's Nine Springs Golf Course uncertain

Course may be converted to traditional park to offer more recreational options

FITCHBURG, Wis. - Nine Springs Golf Course in Fitchburg may be converted to a traditional park because city leaders said residents have been asking for more recreational options.

Fitchburg's Mayor Shawn Pfaff said residents have asked city leaders to explore options at the site off Fish Hatchery Road.

Since changes could take a while to implement, Pfaff said it will remain a golf course at least until the fall of 2014.

Twice a week, for 10 weeks, kids from all over the area come to Nine Springs for the 1st Tee Program.

"It's only five minutes from my house, so it's easy to come to, so it's a fun course to play," said youth golfer Austin Cotharan.

Cotharan is one of about 30 students practicing their golf swing.

"I think that it is good to have a golf course in this area, to be able to get out and have fun, plus it's one of the few golf courses in the area that's good for younger kids," said Cotharan.

Youth have been learning the game of golf at Nine Springs Golf Course for decades.

"It's not a high-priced, full-championship, 18-hole golf course. It serves a lower end especially for the beginner and perhaps for senior golfers, too," said teaching professional Bill Kokott.

This program and the others based here may need to find a new home if the city council decides to convert the course to a park.

Future of Fitchburg's Nine Springs Golf Course uncertain

"Fitchburg right now is going through a process in determining what type of recreational programming we'll do in the northern part of our city along this main corridor North Fish Hatchery Road," said Pfaff.

Manager and Golf Pro Sam Schultz said the course is an asset to the community and is used by thousands every year.

"It's something that they can get some good exercise with and learn many of the values in the game of golf that become very valuable in the game of life," said Schultz.

Schultz said they keep the green fees low to help make the course accessible to everyone.

"Playing golf isn't just hitting a golf ball, but playing golf is enjoying nature, playing golf is enjoying the outside," said Schultz. "As you go along, stop and play with the frogs once in a while. That's part of the game, that's part of the love of the game."

Pfaff said over the next six to nine months the City's Parks Commission plans to host outreach meetings and study what options might work at that location.

Pfaff said the decision whether or not Nine Springs will remain a golf course will be up to the City Council.

"I personally love playing this course. As mayor, I'm comfortable with the conversation going to seeing if there are other options but in the end, if this maintains itself as a golf course, we'll make sure that young people are a part of this golf course as well," said Pfaff.

Pfaff said they are looking for input from Fitchburg area residents and ask that anyone who wants to give suggestions or voice concerns to talk to their local alderperson.

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