Golf course collecting non-perishable food items rather than greens fees

Published On: Nov 30 2012 09:26:31 AM CST
WEST SALEM, Wis. -

The signature maple leaves are gone from the trees at Maple Grove Country Club, but even in cold temperatures golfers like Tom Rosenbrook are still swinging.

"I love it. I've been known to take a break from deer hunting Thanksgiving week to play golf. And this is a week later than that yet. It's pretty neat," says Rosenbrook, who lives in Onalaska.

When the weather cools down and most people put their golf clubs away for the year Maple Grove closes its golf shop, but golfers can still hit the links. The greens fee? How about some green beans.

"We thought a good way to donate to a local food pantry would be to allow the golfers to bring a non-perishable food item. Just drop it off on the first tee box and go play," says Tom Ceresa, the vice president and general manager of the country club.

And the diehard golfers do pitch in. "You see your box food. Mac and cheese. Lots of canned foods," says Ceresa.

Especially in unseasonably warm weather like this year or last, when the course was still accepting golfers into January. "We dropped off a full truckload of items. We estimate there were a couple of thousand food items to donate last season," remembers Ceresa, who says there was a day last January when nearly 200 golfers played at Maple Grove.

The non-perishable items go to fill food pantry shelves in Onalaska, so it seems to be a win-win for the community, and also golfers like Rosenbrook who love to play into the winter months.

"When you get those wind chills it gets to be a cold day," says Ceresa.

"Doesn't bother me. Just don't forget the longjohns and a glove," jokes Rosenbrook.

Ceresa says the course will stay open until the snow starts to stick.