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Merkel Family History


Introducing The Merkel Golf Family!

As many of you are aware, our parents, Russ and Sis Merkel had 8 children and raised them in the Greenfield/Hales Corners area of Milwaukee County for the largest portion of our lives. If not owners, all of the 6 boys and 2 girls have, at one time or another, worked at one of the family courses over the years and currently live within an hour of one of the 3 facilities.

In 1982, the family became involved in it’s first golf course, a scenic 9 hole course, Lakeside Country Club in Pewaukee. Lee and Bob were partners with Larry Henkel, a long time friend and partner from the Falls Racquetball Club, where Bob and Lee first partnered in a business venture in 1976. Lakeside CC is where Bob worked hard at running the food service program that boasted fish frys of 500 or more and large banquets. Brothers, Jim and Jody, worked long hours helping us turn this course around and Vicki and Kay first worked as waitresses and later with Bob in the kitchen.

After selling their interests in Lakeside, Lee purchased Willow Run Golf Club in Waukesha, in 1987. He turned the sleepy 18 holer into one of the top outing destinations in the Milwaukee area and Laura and Tom joined the work force. Here, sister Vicki and brothers Jody, Jon and Rich worked in various capacities with Bob assisting in bigger outings with the food. Sister Kay served as GM for many years.

In 1994, Lee, Bob, Jim and Tom purchased West Bend Lakes as a run down 9 hole course. Over the next 20 years, they have spent nearly a million dollars improving and enhancing the facility.

When Lee sold Willow Run; Kay and her husband Don, Jon and his wife Sue, Bob and Lee purchased a 9 hole course in Mineral Point, Ludden Lake Golf Club. They operated that from 1995-2002.

In 1996, Lee and Laura purchased The Golf Club at Camelot and began its transformation by building a new million dollar club house and banquet facility. Over the years, they have continued to grow that facility into the premier banquet and outing facility of Dodge and Washington Counties.

Late in 2014, Lee, Bob and Jim purchased the newest addition, Horicon Hills Golf Club. This facility is again being upgraded like the other Merkel courses. A new irrigation system for the 18 holes has been completed, the clubhouse has been renovated and equipment has been updated.

Lee, the eldest, is a partner in all 3 courses and spends most of his working time at Camelot, but will be
seen at all the properties while he serves as CEO of our group.

Bob, the 2nd oldest, is a partner in both Horicon Hills and WB Lakes and spends the majority of his time at “The Lakes” where he is responsible for running the office and handling group publications.

Jim, the second youngest, is a partner at Horicon Hills and WB Lakes and splits his time between the
courses. He is the GM at Horicon Hills, and assist with daily tasks at WBL’s.

Laura (Merkel) Beaudoin, Lee’s daughter, is a partner at Camelot and her major responsibilities are for the daily operations of Camelot. She also handles advertising, website management as well as negotiations with vendors for the Tri Course group.

Tom, Lee’s son, is a partner at WBL’s and his major responsibility is as Superintendent. This includes all responsibilities for the course, equipment and buildings.

Chris, Jim’s son, is the GM at WBL’s and is the person in charge of the daily operation of “The Lakes”.

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