By Tori Wittenbrock
GREEN BAY – After the shutdown of the 90-year-old Shorewood Golf Course on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) campus was announced last year, debate arose about how the course would be repurposed.
It was later decided that its most beneficial use would be to turn it into a course for the UWGB cross-country team.
The course was opened for its first race on Sept. 1, 2022, hosting 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 meet where we can have an advantage knowing it is our home course,” Mike Kline, head coach of the UWGB cross-country team, said.
“Now that we have a home course, we got the bid 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 family out to show them our Phoenix Cross Country Course,” Kline said.
The course will be used not only for collegiate competitions, but also for high school and middle school meets as well.
“This year, since September we have hosted a high school meet, two college meets and have an upcoming middle/grade school meet,” Kline said.
The St. Norbert College Tom Barry Invitational was held on Sept. 3, and the Green Bay Phoenix Open took place on Sept. 9.
The course will host the upcoming Red Smith Grade/Middle School Invitational on Oct. 3.
Kline said that 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 that 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, Studio Arts building and our campus housing. The more people we can get on campus, the more opportunities there are to have people check out our campus and apply to be a student or student-athlete in Phoenix Country.”
The course will be open year-round, welcoming people of all ages to run, walk and snowshoe the rolling grounds.
In conjunction with the course opening, the former clubhouse was converted earlier this year to an outdoor recreation center offering equipment rental, seminars and workshops.
The area also serves as an entrance point to the campus’ Cofrin Arboretum.
“We want people to utilize it for physical health, mental health and to be a part of Phoenix Country. You can go for a run or walk and get to see the beautiful landscape of trees and wildflowers, along with deer, fox, wild turkeys, geese, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and many birds,” Kline said.
By Tori Wittenbrock