Town of Trenton, WI – The Merkel family is putting the finishing touches on its new clubhouse at West Bend Lakes Golf Club, 1241 Highway 33 E, in the Town of Trenton, WI.
The family suffered a devastating loss following a fire that leveled the clubhouse on March 14, 2021. Although a big loss to the family business, the Merkel’s did not dwell on the past but working with a dedicated staff they started building for the future.
In August 2021 designs for a new clubhouse were released. Gone would be the old farmhouse and in its place a 4,000-square-foot 2-story building designed by American Construction Services as a homage to the Augusta National Clubhouse.
Majestic white columns would surround the porch and golfers would be guided home by a grand clocktower.
The interior features a bar/dining area, pro shop, full kitchen, office, and storage.
The Merkel family has praised the final product.
“I like the openness and the country style with the porch. We are blue collar, but we wanted to keep it with a ‘country feel. We’re not going for a high-end, white collar, fancy. We want it to be a clubhouse where people could come and relax.
“The new design features all one level, no second story. From the customer side it will be more user friendly, so you don’t have to go down 10 steps to get outside.
“The ground level of the first floor will be lower than what it used to be because it was built on stilts. There will be fewer steps to get in or out.
“We’re making some progress,” said co-owner Tom Merkel. “We have some inspections, and the restaurant equipment is all here and there’s a lot happening inside. We’re very excited to hold the grand opening soon.”
Items that are still a work in progress include landscaping, an outdoor pavilion patio area and finishing the driveway.
Also new, and already in place, is the updated design for signage along Highway 33.
The new sign features the clocktower pinned at 5 p.m. “It’s part of our new theme for the clubhouse,” said Lee Merkel. “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere; Let’s get together and relax.”
“I want to also thank our members and most definitely thank all the community for their support through all this,” said Tom Merkel. “The excitement is building for our grand opening; we can’t wait to for everybody to come and see the beautiful area we have for them.”
The Merkel’s have leaned into tradition and family values instilled in them by golf course founders Russ and Sis Merkel.
“The 8-sided gazebo we have out on the course is the rock of the whole family,” said Tom Merkel. “That’s my grandparents and Bob’s mom and dad.
“There’s eight siblings and each corner has a tribute on how they wanted to remember their parents.”
The signs focus on themes of love, life lessons, the value of hard work, and the importance of family.
“We also really want to thank our dedicated staff,” said Tom Merkel. “They’ve all worked really hard and dealt with a lot of change. But they’re all very professional and one of the reasons we’ve been able to pull this all together within a year.”