Abbey Springs in Fontana, Wisconsin Reawakens Thanks to Bold Renovation Project

Abbey Springs golf course

After enduring 50 years of brutal Wisconsin winters, one of the Badger State’s most historic golf courses, Abbey Springs in Fontana, Wisconsin, near Lake Geneva, was overdue for a renovation. The semi-private course tucked inside a gated community has long been a hideaway for Chicagoans and Milwaukeeans alike, thanks to its ideal location between both metropolises.

Jack Shoger, Abbey Spring’s head golf professional, who is entering his 40th year at the property, knew now was the time to completely renovate the 150-acre track in celebration of their 50th anniversary. “The product our team puts together for our members every day is tremendous, but providing that product has become a lot more difficult as of late,” started Shoger. “The game of golf has changed a lot since I started here (1982), as has the climate, and both have affected the viability of the golf course. I think the time was right to make a change and bring the course up to today’s standards, and the standards that golfers expect, and our members deserve,” said Shoger.

Lohmann Quitno Golf Course Architects began the project on August 2, 2021. A cold, but dry winter kept the project on time and the property reopened in July.

The scope of the $2.5 million renovation was massive, including the complete reconstruction of all green complexes, including greenside features and bunkers. This project now ensures that every green complex, including their practice putting green, and new pitching/chipping green has USGA-approved green construction along with state-of-the-art 007 bent grass. (I am doubtful this type of grass was invented by Bond, James Bond, but stranger things have happened.)

New fairway drainage was installed on 15 holes, plus seven ponds were expanded and regraded. The renovation also included the rebuilding of 10 fairway bunkers, adding new bunkers, regrading five fairways, and redesigning the short game area.

Abbey Springs golf course

Bob Lohmann, of the Lohmann/Quinto team, was familiar with the property and was honored his team won the job. “When I first arrived at Abbey Springs 20-some years ago, I could see that the property was very special,” stated Lohmann. “But the game has changed a lot, especially in the last couple decades. It was time to make changes at Abbey Springs to ensure it continues to appeal to the future generations that will inherit this great property.”

I was fortunate to play the revitalized course this spring and came away thoroughly impressed at the attention to detail and quality of the work. The firm of Lohmann/Quinto, who are responsible for over 175+ course renovations during their illustrious 35-year career, are to be commended on their finished product. Abbey Springs’ shot values and vistas have always been comparable to any property in the star-studded Lake Geneva area — now they are accentuated throughout.

“I couldn’t be more excited for the members at Abbey Springs and the results of the recent greens renovation,” explained Todd Quinto, vice president/senior architect. “This project was super rewarding on so many levels. I think what sticks out to me the most, though, is how much I enjoyed the collaboration between our collective team. As a group we worked together really well, which was critical for meeting the tight timelines and budgetary needs of the project, but most importantly it provided for a variety of perspectives (pro, amateur, senior, architect, builder) that really shaped the final product. We debated as a group and had fun as a group, and I think that shows in the quality of the work,” beamed Quinto.

Renovated holes of note include the par-3 2nd hole, which now features a huge bunker in front of a kidney-shaped green. You must error long on this early round gem that sets the tone for a thrilling journey.

The outward nine’s other short hole, the 174-yard 6th, has long been an iconic hole in Southeastern Wisconsin, but now the plunging par-3 is stunningly gorgeous. A new retention pond has been installed in front of the putting surface, which includes an outstanding boulder wall that borders the back side of the pond in front of the green. The result – this par-3 will be one of the most photographed holes on site.

Abbey Springs’ closing stretch of holes 12 through 17 have always been legendary, but now in 2022 that legend grows. Before I delve into the quality of the holes, I must articulate the perfection of the new 007 bent grass putting surfaces. Sorry folks, but missing a putt is almost unacceptable now, as the consistency and condition of the greens are remarkable! I also guarantee you’ll want to experience a bunker or two at Abbey Springs thanks to the installation of a Better Billy Bunker liner system.

As I mentioned earlier, Abbey Springs’ six-hole extravaganza starting at number 12 offers a true crescendo to your round. The downhill 347-yard, par-4 12th starts off this dynamic stretch, as players get to bomb a downhill drive followed up by a hopeful wedge into a curvaceous green complex. What goes down must come back up at the following 375-yard, par-4 13th. It’s one of the few uphill approach shots on the course and must be executed properly if you hope to make par or better.

From there, golfers have to navigate the epic 549-yard, par-5 14th, complete with a massive water hazard and ravine just short of the putting surface. Take par on this behemoth and stride to the next is my hope for all who play it. A par is also a badge of courage at the 487-yard, par-4 15th. The downhill beauty is tucked between a beautiful line of trees making a precise drive and approach a must.

The par-3 16th doesn’t offer that much of a rest, but I love the enhanced bunkers and contours of the new putting surface.

The previous three holes are the perfect warm-up for one of the coolest risk/reward par-4s in the entire Midwest. From the tips, the par-4 17th plays a scant 294 yards, and thanks to the three story drop from tee to green, the shot plays closer to 260-yards. A lay-up is a no gimmie here either, so I why not take out the big dog and try to make an albatross!

The reopening marks a new era for Abbey Springs. “We are celebrating our 50th Anniversary in 2022,” said Shoger, “and we’ve seen some great things happen here at Abbey Springs over the years. But this is the most excited I’ve ever been about our future. I think it’s going to be fantastic, and I really look forward to seeing the course grow and thrive over the next 50 years.”

For more information about playing the course and to learn about a variety of membership options, visit

How to Help:

Charity golf tournaments are a great way to play a great course and support a wonderful cause. Check out these Chicago-area charity tournaments still to come this summer: the Chicago Select Golf Invitational benefitting the American Cancer Society and Tee Up Fore ALS, benefitting the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter.

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Glen Turk

Glen Turk is a Wisconsin native who has been the Senior Writer/Editor of Midwest Golfing Magazine since 2005. Glen’s ultimate golf goal is to play in all 50 states and currently he is more than two-thirds the way there. Glen and his wife have a rescue German Shepherd dog and are passionate supporters of their local humane society. Glen also enjoys participating in charity golf tournaments such as those benefitting Special Olympics. You can read all of Glen’s previous works at by clicking on the “Past Issues” tab within the main menu.

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