Nestled on scenic South Murphy Road just off of Highway 11 between Footville and Orfordville, Bass Creek Golf Club remains a hidden treasure.
Opened in 2003, playing the nine-hole course has gone from being an afterthought in the beginning to a destination of choice for many area golfers.
Brothers Willie and Ed Hoeler were the original owners of the property and land used to build the course, but Matt and Sheena Wellnitz took over ownership of Bass Creek on July 1—thus fulfilling a lifelong dream of owning their own golf course.
Sheena’s grandfather, Robert, was one of four Hoeler brothers, so buying the course kept things in the family so to speak.
And although the COVID-19 pandemic made the timing less than ideal for purchasing Bass Creek, Sheena said the couple never wavered from their plans.
“Willie posted that the course was for sale back in November, so Matt and I decided to talk to him about it,” Sheena said. “And when the time came to finalize things, we didn’t hesitate and decided to go for it.
“The response has been great, and even though we’re still dealing with COVID, we’re still offering a lot of great deals—both for golf and food-wise.”
Bass Creek is currently following COVID guidelines set forth by the Rock County Health Department, but Sheena said they’ve also modified a few things to make the experience more enjoyable. A few golf carts have been equipped with a plexiglass divider that allows players who are not family members or related to share a cart. And golfers also have the option of sharing a cart as non-family members if they wear a mask.
“As mandated by Rock County, we’re only allowing 50 percent capacity in our bar/restaurant,” Sheena said. “Hopefully, when we get to Phase 3, we can start getting back to normal and begin work on some projects we have planned.”
For years, rumors circulated that Bass Creek would be expanding to an 18-hole course. Sheena said that’s still a possibility, but more of a longterm goal rather than anything in the next year or two. Sheena, who is the on-site manager, said updating the menu and providing a go-to restaurant/bar year-round is first on the list of things to do.
“This year because of COVID, everything is kind of status quo,” Sheena said. “But I’ve got a lot of great ideas going forward on new food items, dinner specials and things like that.
“And we still have our great fish fry from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and you can still stop in and get a bite to eat before or after you golf.”
Bass Creek has league play three days a week and also offers daily golf specials. Mondays it’s $18 for nine holes and a cart, and that special also includes a hot dog or brat with a soda. The cost is $26 for 18 holes. Monday thru Friday before 9 a.m., golfers can play nine holes with a cart for $17 or $29 for 18 holes.
Sheena said one of the things that made the transition in ownership go smoothly was the fact that the grounds crew that Willie and Ed employed remained on staff.
“My husband Matt works full-time besides owning Bass Creek, and I’m inside the whole time, so having those guys stick around was huge for us,” Sheena said. “And they do such a fantastic job of keeping the course in great shape.
“It’s kind of funny to think that when the course first opened in 2003, they didn’t even have a clubhouse. All they had was an army tent they used to check people in. And now look what we have. This really is a dream come true for us.”