Wausau Country Club

Club History

  • Lounge after 1964 remodel.
  • Wausau Country Club founders (left to right): J.H. Thickens, L.R. Spencer, J.L. Sturtevant, Col. Henry L. Graves, M.P. McCullough, D.C. Everest, L.A. Pradt, Mr. Cline, G.G. Steele, L.M. Alexander, Judge A.H. Reid, M.C. Ewing, L.K. Baker, George Foster, H.S. Flieth.
  • 1950, fire damage to the rear of the clubhouse.
  • The first clubhouse, built in 1910
  • Original first tee (before direction was reversed). Dutch elm disease destroyed these elm trees along country club road in the 1960s.
  • The original 9th hole (now part of Nos. 10 & 11), looking north and west.
  • Patty Berg, pioneer in women's golf, holder of 15 major LPGA titles, played at the Wausau Country Club in 1938.
  • Clubhouse, circa 1940.
The Wausau Country Club was organized on July 15, 1899, with a charter membership of 30 men. L. A. Pradt and John D. Ross have been credited with bringing the sport to the Wausau area, although Neal Brown is listed as the first president and F. E. Bump as the first secretary of the Club. The original 9 hole course was laid out north of McIndoe Street and east of Seventh Avenue, where Wausau East High School now stands. The golf course was spread over 60 acres. It was in September 1908 when the Wausau Country Club was organized and incorporated with 40 members. A site of over 60 acres, just four miles south of the City of Wausau, was purchased from the Marathon Paper Mill Company. The nine holes measured 3,250 yards and played to a par 37. The clubhouse was built in 1910.

A fire in the clubhouse on June 6th, 1950, of undetermined origin, destroyed much of the bar and dining room and the second floor living quarters of the manager and his wife. The loss was covered by insurance, but the members were urged to make a voluntary contribution of $25.00 or $50.00 to help upgrade the repairs and reconditioning of the building. Eventually the Club was returned to a useable condition and the remainder of the season completed.

In May of 1959, a special meeting of the membership was called by President Bill Morse, to explain a proposed program of expansion…specifically, actions needed to begin construction of a second nine holes. It was noted that if the Board of Directors voted to go ahead with the program, the membership could be playing on an 18 hole golf course by July 1960! Golf course architect Paul Coates of St. Paul, MN had been hired, along with E. L. Packard of La Grange, IL, to prepare the plans for the second nine holes.

Having successfully completed the expansion of the Club to an 18 hole facility, the men who followed as presidents of the club developed even greater ideas. Particularly active were John Slayton, Dale Heath and Ken Lawson, all presidents in the 1960-65 era. They envisioned a new and improved clubhouse and a reconstruction of the first nine holes. Golf architects and contractors (again Packard and Wadsworth) were hired to "reverse" the front nine. At the same time, a new clubhouse was designed by Peter Murray. On Labor Day, 1964, an auction was held and the furnishings of the old clubhouse were sold. Work was started on the golf course and on the new clubhouse at the same time, with plans for completion set for early summer 1965.

The period from 1970 forward was a very positive one for the club. The membership list was capped at 300 members and there were usually 20 –30 names on the waiting list. During one stretch, the waiting list was right at the 100 mark. The members opted for yet another golf course change in the front nine holes. Holes #2, #3 and #4 were reconfigured and an island that was owned by the club, but never used, was brought into play. The #2 hole became a par 4, the #3 hole became a par 3 and the #4 hole became a par 4. This changed the course par from 72 to 71, not making the course easier but more challenging. These changes in the course came towards the end of the career of Walt Stepanik. He had been greens keeper since the mid-1940’s and had worked diligently to keep the course in playable condition for the members. After serving for forty some years, Walt decided to hang it up. The club was very fortunate to be able to secure the services of Randy Slavik as Walt’s replacement. Randy had experience in the Milwaukee area previously to coming to Wausau. His work and his crew have carried on the efforts to keep the Wausau Country Club one of the very finest golf courses in northern Wisconsin.

The Wausau Country Club has been in demand to host various golfing events over the years. In 1962 the locally owned WSAU-TV station inaugurated its "Channel 7" golf tournament. It remained in Wausau until the 1965 renovation of the course forced it to move to other area courses. The Club has frequently hosted golfers playing the Northeast Wisconsin Golf Association (NEWGA) men’s and ladies competition. The Wisconsin State Amateur Golf Championship and the Wisconsin State Seniors Championships have also been held on the course.

Several membership meetings were held over a period of three years and eventually the final decision was to scrap the present clubhouse and start from scratch. Designs were approved and contractors began work in September 1998. By the spring of 1999, the building was completed enough to be put to use. The golf course officially opened on Memorial Day weekend….May 29, 1999, with the current clubhouse still in use today.