SW Wisconsin golf course clubhouse, restaurant reopens nearly 2 years after fire

CUBA CITY, Wis. — Nearly two years after a major fire, the clubhouse and restaurant of a Cuba City golf course are open for business.

Cole Acres Golf and Grill, 7617 County Road J, reopened the clubhouse and restaurant to the public last week following the completion of a new building.

“We’re really, really excited,” said General Manager Dan Bowden. “We’re really kind of a community center for not only Cuba City, Hazel Green and Benton, but we also have a lot of members from the Kieler and Dickeyville area and Belmont. We have a few people from Platteville come down, and we’ve kind of been found in the last year by a lot of Dubuque and Galena golfers. We’re excited to welcome those folks in. We’re just excited to get going.”

The golf course has been without its clubhouse since May 9, 2021, when a fire destroyed the two-story building.

The adjacent swimming pool also permanently shut down after the pool’s pumps were removed from the clubhouse after the fire. The Cole Acres board of directors, City of Cuba City and Village of Benton announced the decision in July 2021 after finding out the pool could require up to $150,000 in upgrades following the fire.

However, the golf course remained open the past two summers while the new clubhouse was being constructed.

“The first summer, we operated out of a construction trailer,” Bowden said. “Last year, we built a garage space and temporary clubhouse. Now, that will be storage space for us to use.”

The new 5,600-square-foot building consists of only one story, Bowden said, and the previous pool facility now is primarily a grassy area. Outdoor patio seating now also is available for the first time.

Bowden also said the business is adding two golf simulators that will be available for use later this summer.

The reopening also marks the return to food service at Cole Acres for the first time in nearly two years, with new additions to the menu such as salads, wraps and paninis.

“Before, we were more of a supper club,” Bowden said. “We had a number of steaks and fish dishes. We will still do roasted chicken and steaks and a fish fry on Friday nights, but we will be more geared toward sandwiches and appetizers on the day-to-day.”

Bowden added that the golf course is intended to be an asset for the surrounding communities beyond solely golf. Hunter-safety classes recently were hosted at Cole Acres, he said, and a number of class reunions and other events have been booked at the course.

Benton Village President Scott Cruse said everything he has heard from community members about the new Cole Acres building design has been positive.

“Cole Acres is a wonderful kind of regional asset in that it serves several communities, Cuba City and Benton and Hazel Green,” he said. “It’s exciting for all of the local communities to have a nice golf course redone and ready to go, finally, after the tragedy of that fire. Out here (in Benton), in a community of 900-plus people or so, to have that nearby is a great asset.”

Cole Acres will be open seven days a week once golf season begins. Bowden said he hopes the date will be April 1, but the season start will be weather-dependent.

“We want to be open as soon as we possibly can,” he said.

In the meantime, Cole Acres opens at 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, as well as at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The kitchen is open until 9 each night.