Acker family sells a slice of its golf business
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — As Marshfield Country Club (MCC) reaches its 93rd year in existence, it is entering an era unfamiliar to Marshfield area residents. While the Acker family has not been its driving force the entire 93 years, Darrell Sr. and Jane (Joan) Acker and their children have been instrumental in building the course up over the last half-century.
“Almost exactly 50 years ago my husband had been the pro/greens keeper/manager at Stevens Point Country Club,” explained Jane. “We talked about it, and I said, ‘You are gone all of the time, working about 15 hours a day anyway. Why don’t you do it for ourselves?’
“Then we had heard that Duke Cornelius was selling the course. We were (at MCC) one year before Westview opened up. Westview is now RiverEdge.
“We were young when we bought it, and everyone said that we couldn’t make it.”
Despite the competition from another golf course, MCC continued to thrive and grow as Darrell Sr., a PGA golf professional, attracted golfers with his experience and expertise.
In 1972 the Ackers purchased the nearby Ben Seefeldt farm and expanded the course to 18 holes. There they also added a public driving range and mini-golf course.
“Chip (Darrell Acker Jr.) was just 7 years old when we came to Marshfield,” said Jane. “All of (the children) worked in the business.
“Chip and Andy (Acker) took over the golf course. They leased it one year. Then the next year they bought it. They owned it together for a couple of years.”
Andy would later pursue other interests, and Chip became sole operator of the business. Darrell Sr. then turned his attention to running the driving range with his wife.
“That year he started helping on the driving range picking balls, and that year we got a ball picker,” said Jane. “Before that we had done it manually with the kids.”
Chip, also a PGA golf pro, continued to move the business forward for the next 25 years while brothers Andy and Martin pursued careers in golf as green superintendents and in club management outside of area. The Ackers’ daughter Anna also became a golf professional, joining the LPGA tour.
“Daughter Angela has been a constant source of support in our golf journey,” added Jane. “Darrell is so proud of his family and the work Chip has done.”
On Oct. 3 the Ackers announced the sale of the 18-hole golf course to Jesse Jacobson, the current owner of Woodfield Inn & Suites.
“We wish the new owner, Jesse Jacobson, much success and satisfaction in his new venture promoting golf and recreation for central Wisconsin,” said Jane.
“The golf driving range and mini-golf has always been a separate entity. We will continue to serve the area with an improved facility, and, God willing, Darrell Sr. will be around to give golf tips and (share) stories,” she added. “Chip will continue to give golf lessons, clinic, and classes while making clubs and helping Jesse on the course.”
Chip said, “(Jesse) has begun work on a new clubhouse, which is scheduled to be ready for next golf season.
“Add a new clubhouse, upgraded carts, and new opportunities for dining and socializing before, during, and after golf, and you will start to experience the vision for MCC that prompted me to sell the property to Jesse. The city of Marshfield and area residents will be ensured a fine experience for recreation well into the future.”