Reflection / The Magic of Everyday Life / This is me.

We Bought a Zoo (Golf Course Edition)

On March 26th, my parents came up to De Pere for dinner. I had just gotten back from spring break out in Cali, so when they suggested that we Skype my sister, I threw out some ‘tude and asked why…(since I had literally just spent a week with her). But they insisted on calling her as a little fam activity. So I got my computer, made sure Sarah was ready to talk, and found two image files that Mama Amy wanted me to send to Sarah. I was instructed to send them in a specific order. And their commentary was as follows (starting with “We bought a house…”).

After hearing the news, it’d be an understatement to say that Sarah and I were “surprised”. Like seriously, who buys a golf course? But, we were genuinely excited as well. As my parents and I were still Skyping in my room (with the door cracked), I hear a few of my roommates whispering in the living room… “They bought a golf course.” But they promise they weren’t eavesdropping. 🙂 It’s definitely been a challenge telling people. It’s not something you can casually mention without people responding with statements, like, “Are you serious?”, “They bought a golf course?”, “Like a real golf course?” And I don’t think I’ve quite mastered the telling…which is why I have resorted to a blog. If I give it to you short, it’s a 9 hole, par 3 course, and my parents are going to live there. But that doesn’t quite tell the story.

My initial impression of the small, brown building [The Clubhouse] wasn’t the most ecstatic, but since seeing the inside, spending time there, and realizing it’s bigger than it looks, I give it a high approval rating. And since my parents are two of the most innovative, resourceful, and open-minded people I know…they’re without-a-doubt going to turn it into a beautiful home.

Also, if you know my parents at all, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me when I hypothesize that they were looking for a new project to keep themselves busy. Probably because the house we have lived in for the past 9 years is just about complete. 😉 No, but really, they’ve been looking to move back to the Fond du Lac area since Sarah and I graduated high school (closer to work, family, & friends) and the 4-year search turned up this gem of a property. It’s just north of Fond du Lac by a little bit…and it happens to be a golf course.

They were originally drawn to the property for the land, the 5 ponds and the stream that runs through the 16 acres of incredibly picturesque property. They closed on the property on April 25th and have been hard-at-work since. They like it a whole lot. I’m in love with it. And I think it rivals Santa Barbara…a teensy-weensy bit. When you have the chance to come and check it out, you’ll see why the four of us love it so much. It’s beautiful.


The other day I was mowing one of the fairways and I had to hop off the lawn mower to transport a toad out of my pathway, I saw a pheasant trotting around a pine tree, and a mallard couple was enjoying a nice little date next to one of the ponds. You can see the ginormous bullfrogs as they croak from their little homes in the cat tails and Missy runs around the property like a little pup. She’s never been much of a water dog, but she loves wading through the stream and plopping down every once in a while to cool her bod and grab a drink. My favorite thing to do is listen to the stream at night. Sounds like a recording that should be played at a spa. It’s ridiculous.

My parents have always been the type of people who – at the most basic level – enjoy renovation. But at the root of all things, they love a good challenge. They’re visionaries. They work incredibly hard. And they’re not afraid to take a chance. They transform things from the “boxes” they are normally confined by, to creations that are far beyond what the average person would imagine. I could brag for days. Because I admire this quality so incredibly much. Best part is, it’s exactly what they’re doing here. You may be thinking to yourself, “I can’t believe they bought a golf course.”, but I’ll assure you that every once in a while they’re doing the exact same thing, thinking, “I can’t believe we own a golf course.” But they’re enjoying every second of this beautiful ride.

I don’t think I have to mention that it’s an incredible amount of work, but it’s the right work right now. We’re all enjoying it. And specifically for me, it’s a wonderful job to have between undergrad and grad school. Who doesn’t want to spend their entire summer outside? I’m learning an incredible amount, mowing an incredible amount, tanning a ton (with sunscreen…of course), and adding some muscle to my already-massive biceps. So buff.

But this purchase also means a sale. So if you’d like to buy a beautiful home in Markesan, hit us up. It’s for sale. Tell yo friends. Tell yo fam. Tell all the people. Because another family should be enjoying this wonderful place. It’s pretty great.

So…keep your eyes peeled. After some TLC and renovations, we’ll be reopening the course mid-July. Start practicing up on your golf swing, because until mid-August – when I peace on out to Ohio – I’m the golf course manager…and I expect each and every one of you to come and visit me at Thornbrook Golf Course. Our new home.


Created by Rah Riley
Thornbrook Golf Course © 2014

Oh, and if you don’t get the title of this blog…it’s referencing the movie, “We Bought a Zoo.” It’s a good one. Go watch it.


2 thoughts on “We Bought a Zoo (Golf Course Edition)

  1. Oh wow, I think that is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read from a child about their parents. You rock! Congrats on your new golf course and your new challenge as a golf course manager. We can’t wait for the grand opening.

  2. Pingback: A Golf Course Can Teach You a Thing or Two | a beautiful world.

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