Mark Murphy intends to keep it as a community course
The historical Maxwelton Braes Golf Course has a new owner with a familiar name, but golfers shouldn’t anticipate major changes.
Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy bought the course from Jim Bresnahan on Dec. 30 for $1.04 million. Murphy said Bresnahan will remain the general manager for at least two years, and current memberships will not be affected.
“We’re excited,” Murphy said. “I grew up playing on public courses like Maxwelton and want to make sure it continues to be an affordable course for locals and visitors.”
Murphy put to rest any speculation about alternative development of the property.
“I wouldn’t have bought it for anything else but a golf course,” he said. “You need golf to be accessible to have family involved and introduce people to the game.”
Murphy has served as Packers president since 2007 and will continue in that role through July 13, 2025, when he reaches the organization’s mandatory retirement age of 70. Murphy said Packers fans can rest assured that his focus will be squarely on the football franchise until then.
Designed by golfer and greens-equipment innovator Joseph Roseman and built in 1929 and 1930 by Baileys Harbor native and Sunbeam executive Michael McArdle, the golf course in recent years has been a separate entity from the adjacent Maxwelton Braes lodge and resort, which McArdle also built.
Jim and Jeanine Bresnahan purchased the golf course from Baylake Bank in early 2015 after the course was in foreclosure for approximately five years. Since the purchase, they have made changes such as improving the quality of the fairways and the surfaces of the greens, and adding a storage building for maintenance equipment.
Murphy said the purchase wasn’t long in the making. A deal with a different buyer for the course and separate lodge fell through at the last minute in June, and Murphy said that he and his wife, Laurie, began considering it last fall.
“We both love Door County, and Laurie loves real estate, and I love to golf,” he said.
The Murphys first got to know Door County during a visit with friends when Murphy was the athletic director at Northwestern University in the mid-2000s. When he began with the Packers, it became a regular getaway, and his family bought property in Baileys Harbor in 2009.
During his time as athletic director at Colgate University in New York state, Murphy said his duties overseeing the school’s public golf course were one of his favorite parts of the job.
“That course had history, and so does Maxwelton, having been a real asset to the community since 1929,” he said.
The new ownership isn’t the course’s first connection to the National Football League. In October 1948, the Los Angeles Rams spent two weeks at the resort during their Midwestern road trip. In the days before teams traveled by plane, the Rams saved travel time and money by staying at the resort after their game at Chicago and before their contest in Green Bay, practicing on a makeshift field on the 11th fairway. Then they returned to Maxwelton after that game to practice in advance of their game in Detroit the following week.