Turtle Greens Golf Course is a Public, 9 hole golf course located in Beloit, Wisconsin.
The course first opened for play in 1963.
The course closed after the 2018 season.
Article from Beloit Daily news
'TG' A WAY OF LIFE FOR LUCAS FAMILY
September 19, 2018, at 10:17 am |
In August 1963, a couple from Chicago opened up a "golf course" called Turtle Greens. I put golf course in quotes because it wasn't much more than a glorified cornfield with flags. Fourteen years later, my father purchased the golf course on advice from my grandfather that it would be a sound business decision.
My father, Chuck Lucas, was fresh out of the Air Force and knew as much about golf as he did about organic chemistry (not much). He didn't play and hadn't ever worked at one before, but did remember picking golf balls out of the neighboring fields in high school. But he bought it in October of 1976 (great time to buy a golf course...right when it's about to snow), opened it in '77 and, along with his new wife and my mother, Linda Lucas, kept their heads above water for the first few years before turning it into a viable career that helped put four kids through college, but more importantly, showed those kids the value of hard work and the importance of family.
Why am I telling you all this? Because, after 55 years, 41 of which directly involved my family, Turtle Greens is closing. For good. My parents are selling the course so they can retire and take their first summer vacation since 1976. They had numerous hopeful suitors for the last five years or so, but nobody could secure a loan to keep it a golf course, so it's being sold to a wonderful local family and turned into farmland once again. After this golf season, Turtle Greens will cease to exist.
It's an incredibly bittersweet moment for our entire family. My parents need to retire. They have ten grandbabies between Wisconsin and Michigan to spoil, two grand puppies in Colorado that miss them dearly, and two sons, two daughters, two sons-in-law, and two daughters-in-law who'd all like to see them more often. For 41 years, they've worked seven days a week from late March until early November. If anybody has earned a break, it's them.
But that course was everything to my siblings and I. It wasn't just a golf course, but our home, our playground, our everything. I remember my dad setting up Easter morning scavenger hunts, sending us crisscrossing fairways to find our presents. My sister and I, when we'd get that perfect layer of ice on top of the snow, sledding down fairways and sailing from the ninth green to the fence line on number two. Or after 3-4 inches of snow, my dad would get out his tractor, hook up a piece of plywood with a 2x4 nailed to the top of it and whip all of us cousins around (until a cousin fell off and the aunts put an end to that). We'd play laser tag, have golf cart races, play Ghost in the Graveyard or German spotlight-there was no better childhood than the one my siblings and I had on that golf course.
It was the meeting place for my extended family, too. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, baby showers, and even my own wedding reception (sorry if this is news to you and you weren't invited...but I'll still accept your monetary gift).
But to everyone else, Turtle Greens was a golf course. Usually, the first golf course people played. We always proudly called ourselves a beginner's course. We never took an individual tee time. (Inside secret: Anytime someone called and asked if it was busy I said no, even if there were five groups on the first tee waiting. When the new group showed up and looked surprised, I always said, "Man they just got here!" Worked every time.) We wanted families and encouraged beginners to show up and try golf for the first time because we knew it was seldom their last.
I, like many people, learned to play golf at Turtle Greens, or TG as my siblings and I referred to it. I can still recall the first time I hit a really good tee shot (on number 3 when I was like 12, late in the evening, and I hit it past the little dip about 100 yards out). I use to go out late in the evening and just chip and putt around number nine green or go play the outside four holes, hitting 10-15 approach shots on each hole. That spot, late in the evening, with the sun setting, was as picturesque a spot as you'll find in Rock County.
I can recall the "country clubbers" coming out and complaining about not being able to hit the greens, not understanding that sometimes firing at flag sticks isn't the soundest method for an approach shot when the green is only about 20-30 feet deep. Those "short" holes got a lot more challenging when you kept hitting it over the green. I know I'm a better golfer because of the shots I learned to play there and so are many others.
But what made TG so special was the people. First, my parents, the unquestioned heart and soul of the operation, kept it running all these years with limited hired help and some overpaid children at their disposal. The employees beyond my siblings are some people I am still friends with today and each holds a special place in TG's history. Finally, the golfers themselves, many of whom we proudly call friends, helped really make it such a special place.
We all know that TG was not the fanciest golf course in the area. It wasn't the hardest. It wasn't the longest. Maybe I should have weeded the sand traps more. But to us, it was the best golf course in the world. It never judged you. It never asked you for your handicap. It never cared about what types of clubs you were hitting. It never asked your score after the round.
The only question it ever asked was, "Did you have fun? You did? Great. Then we will see you again tomorrow."
But at the end of this season, there won't be another tomorrow. So thank you. Thank you for supporting us. Thank you for being part of our lives and letting us be a part of yours. But most of all, thank you for playing. And we hope you had fun.
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