Short Course Construction Underway

Sylvia Ferdon is serious about golf. She played professionally, coached a collegiate team for 17 years and has teed off on courses around the country.

And it all started in her childhood, at a three-hole short course in Oconto.

“I never thought my life would be totally in one sport but it’s been a blessing and it’s been really, really fun,” Ferdon said. “I’m happy to share my knowledge. That’s my whole goal – to help kids learn how to have fun with it.”

Jason Daubner explains the short course plan.

Ferdon is an instructor at Peninsula State Park Golf Course, and will soon be teaching lessons on the new short course being constructed across the street from the driving range.

The six-hole course is designed for new golfers practicing their skills before heading on a real course and for those looking for a quicker, easier, more affordable game.

“This course is about developing the game and making it more inviting,” said Peninsula State Golf Course general manager Jason Daubner. “We don’t want golf getting stale.”

Holes on the short course will be about 100 yards and admission will be about $10.

“The game from 100 yards in is crucial as far as scoring and being successful in the game of golf,” Ferdon said. “They can actually learn how to make par a little quicker and experience the success of the game versus something where they’re playing a 300-yard golf course.”

All of the money to build the course was privately donated by Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation, the Raibrook Foundation, Peninsula Golf Associates and individual donors. The land was already part of Peninsula State Park.

While Daubner said most people are supportive of the new short course, not everyone is happy with the development. Neighbors along Holand Road, which wraps around the course, are concerned about the amount of trees cut for the project.

The parcel that will house the short course is five acres, and three are being developed for play. A line of trees had to be moved for the fourth hole, but Daubner said some of those will be transplanted around the course.

The short course will become the new home of the Peninsula Golf Associates’ Dr. William and Carolyn Bell Junior Golf School, where 8 to 14-year-olds can learn to play for free.

Starting this year, the junior golf school will incorporate lessons from the First Tee program, an organization trying to promote life lessons and the sport. Ferdon is certified under the First Tee program and writes lesson plans around what she learned.

“It’s really using golf skills to learn life skills,” Ferdon said. “Each day we try to introduce one of the values into our lesson and talk about that a little bit and how that connects to the game of golf, to ourselves and to other people.”

The First Tee program promotes nine core values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

“In our lesson plans what we’ve got included is talking about each one of those values each day that we give a lesson,” Ferdon said. “When we come around we talk about what the word [value] means, what does it mean toward the game of golf and how can that make you build character with your own life.”

Daubner hopes the short course will be ready by next July, after more than a year of shaping the land, seeding the grounds and building restrooms and an office. Then, he hopes new players, young and old, will be there to learn to enjoy the game of golf.

“We’re trying to provide a great product at a great price and give the golfers a great experience,” he said.