The heavy local favorite for Father’s Day: Golf

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RACINE COUNTY — On any given Father’s Day, many local dads spell this special day g-o-l-f.


“It’s undoubtably our most busy day of the year,” pro shop worker Eric Eitel at Ives Grove Golf Links, 14101 Washington Ave., remarked one day last week. “I think a lot of the dads get the OK from their wives to come out and play.”


That observation was echoed by other golf course workers and golfers themselves at H.F. Johnson Park Golf Course, 6200 Northwestern Ave., on a sunny Saturday afternoon.


“We’re always busy on Father’s Day,” said Scott Schuitt, manager of the City of Racine’s three public courses. “We’re always booked up.”


Kevin Cookman, 52, of Wind Point and his son Forrest, 13, played a round at Johnson Park Saturday and planned to play another 18 today at Racine Country Club, 2801 Northwestern Ave.


“We always golf together on Father’s Day,” said Kevin, director of Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization, 2000 DeKoven Ave.


“And usually Mother’s Day,” Forrest added.


In the 10 years since Forrest took up golf, Kevin said, they’ve played on Father’s Day in such exotic locations as Hawaii and the Celtic Manor Resort in England. Often they have three generations of fathers together, with his own dad joining them.


Another father-son golfing duo at Johnson Park were Jeff Fries, 63, of Mount Pleasant and Barry Fries, 29, of Caledonia. But they don’t only pair up on Father’s Day. “We typically play golf every Sunday together,” said Jeff, an account manager at Modine Manufacturing Co.


And today, they said, they’ll be joined by Barry’s brother-in-law and father-in-law to make two father-son pairs in the same foursome.


City golf course pro John Feiner said he and his father, Tom, won’t be able to play together today. But a normal Father’s Day means playing 18 holes together, watching the U.S. Open and cooking out.


Of course, another Father’s Day magnet is miniature golf — for example at Mulligan’s Mini Golf, 6633 Douglas Ave.


“Our busiest day of the year, by far, is Father’s Day if the weather is nice,” said part-owner and Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig. “It’s really just neat to see it,” he said. “The course will be packed, they’re all out there — with their sons, daughter, wives — laughing and joking and having a good time.”


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