Two dairy farmers, an insurance salesperson, and a retired clergyman walk onto a golf course...(Not a bar. This isn't the beginning of a joke; it's the beginning of the Argue-Ment!)
In July of 1997, Art and Carolyn Jennrich & Mark and Judy Renner embarked on the project that would result in the Argue-Ment Golf and FootGolf Course. Family brought them together. Judy and Carolyn are sisters. Since 1977, the couples had spent time together on the Jennrichs' farm property at N9603 Argue Road whenever Judy and Mark could get there on vacation or for a work weekend on the dairy farm. Mark would play golf with Paul and David, Art and Carolyn's sons: "The best crop grown on this farm was boys!" Gradually, a casual conversation started: "Art, if you ever have to get rid of your cows, this would make a tremendous golf course." This conversation became a business plan, a set of conceptual drawings, and finally a decision to proceed.
Each member of the team brought something special to the table. Carolyn was the gardener, matriarch, and caregiver. Art knew the land, its soils, and the machines needed to plant and harvest. Judy was the detail-oriented finance and business manager. Mark was the golfer, dreamer, and designer who saw what was possible, had the executive skills from previous employment, and needed the other three to keep him tethered in practicality.
The pieces of property used for the course are in two counties and four townships. The group soon discovered that the deepest impediments to success would not be rocky soils, brush, demolition of old structures, the learning curve regarding growing grass, or financial hurdles, but rather bureaucratic, regulatory, and clerical barriers. Difficulties with one of the counties and one of the townships delayed onset of planting for a full two years in that portion of the 135 acres dedicated to the course. However, Midwestern folk are nothing if not stubbornly patient: Illegitimi non carborundum.
In August of 2000, after dozens of public meetings, thousands of hours of personal labor, torrential rains that washed out planted areas and covered greens and fairways with mud, and building a living space in the basement of the smaller house on the property for Judy and Mark, finally came the first rounds of golf! Greens fees and cart fees were collected from the open window in the lower barn, and change was made from a shoe box. The present clubhouse followed in 2001, as did the picnic pavilion, pump house, and waterfall. A state of the art waste treatment system, the first of its kind in Wisconsin, was installed. Then came the tornado: pieces of the pavilion strewn all over, trees in the pond, and multiple downed oaks. (Tornadoes never take out the Box Elders...) However, the group soon rebuilt and constantly adapted and strove to make the most out of the land. In 2014, Argue-Ment opened an 18-hole FootGolf course in another effort to make the enjoyment of the game accessible to everyone.
Given the early process, questions about the name of the course implying its birth in conflict could make sense. However, this 50% woman-owned corportation began not with strife, but commitment to the proposition "Honor the land and the game." That is still the motto at the Argue-Ment, and always will be as the next generation walks onto the course.