By Tori Wittenbrock
GREEN BAY — After the closure of the 90-year-old Shorewood golf course on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) campus was announced last year, debate erupted over how the course should be repurposed.
It was later decided that it would be most beneficial to convert it into a course for the UWGB cross-country team.
The course opened for its first race on September 1, 2022 and hosted the De Pere Red Bird High School Invitational.
The addition of an official cross-country course means a lot for the future of the UWGB team.
“Our team will now have a home game where we can have an advantage because we know it’s our home course,” said Mike Kline, head coach of the UWGB cross-country team.
“Now that we have a home course, we have received confirmation to hold the 2024 Horizon League Cross Country Championship meet. This will also be an important recruiting tool to be able to take the recruit and their family to show them our Phoenix Cross Country Course,” said Kline.
The course is used not only for college competitions but also for high school and middle school meetings.
“This year, since September, we’ve hosted a high school reunion, two college reunions, and an upcoming middle/elementary school reunion,” Kline said.
The St. Norbert College Tom Barry Invitational was held on September 3rd and the Green Bay Phoenix Open was held on September 9th.
The course will host the upcoming Red Smith Grade/Middle School Invitational on October 3rd.
Kline said he believes this course will draw large audiences to the UWGB campus to watch and support their children, parents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors as they compete.
“People who have never been to our campus can see our cross-country course as well as the rest of our campus,” Kline said. “The course is very close to the Weidner Performing Arts Center, the Studio Arts building and our campus housing. The more people we can bring to campus, the more opportunities there are to get people to look at our campus and apply to be a student or student-athlete in Phoenix Country.”
The course will be open all year round and will welcome people of all ages to run, walk and snowshoe on the hilly terrain.
In conjunction with the course opening earlier this year, the former clubhouse was converted into an outdoor leisure center offering equipment rentals, seminars and workshops.
The area also serves as the entry point to the campus’s Cofrin Arboretum.
“We want people to use it for physical and mental health and to be a part of Phoenix Country. You can jog or walk and see the beautiful scenery of trees and wildflowers, as well as deer, fox, wild turkey, geese, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and lots of birds,” Kline said.