CWC COURSE HISTORY
The Cold Water Canyon Golf Course has a deep history that is intensely intertwined with the evolution of the Wisconsin Dells and Chula Vista Resort. In the beginning, however, two went by different names. The Wisconsin Dells at the turn of the 20th century was known by Kilbourn City and while Cold Water was the name of the Canyon, the course was named Berry's Dells Golf Course.
The course would be commissioned by Kilbourn City pioneer Clinton Berry with ground breaking in 1917. The nine hole course would supplement the 100 acre Berry Hotel grounds. Berry's property included an indoor dance hall, tennis courts, cabins along the canyon and a dining hall.
The Berry Hotel main house
Golf was taking the United States by storm at this time and Clinton Berry wanted to be the first to construct a course for the area. The front nine of Cold Water Canyon was designed by famous architect J.C. Wilson of the Chicago Golf Commission. The nine holes were constructed entirely from horse drawn equipment and opened in June of 1923.
The Berry Hotel Grounds & Golf Course
Chula Vista Resort was also being developed at this time by E.C. Cummings just a quarter mile down the road. At this time Chula Vista was merely a few cabins and dining room with activities such as horseback riding and fishing being offered. The new Berry course became a hit with Chula Vista guests as well.
Chula Vista Rsort hotel grounds 1926
Chula Vista Resort receives new ownership from a hotel man out of Wisconsin Rapids by the name of Lester P. Daniels in 1931. Daniels would go on to operate the Blackhawk Hotel, become the president of the Wisconsin State Hotel Association and was a partner in the Consolidated Boat Company famous for the Wisconsin Dells river boat tours.
Chief Silvertongue at Chula Vista
The record for the front nine was set on July 23rd 1939 by 27 year old Hugh Byington. Byington was a local barber from Hillsboro, Wisc. Hugh was a member of the Dells Country Club at the time, with the annual dues being only $10 per member.
The clubs used that July afternoon were 1932 Walter Hagen steel shafted clubs traded to Hugh by Cold Water Canyon's golf pro, John Cesnik. John traded free shaves and cuts for the set.
Hugh Byington in 1982
Hugh Byington shot a miraculous six under par that day for a score of 27. When asked about the course Byington said the following,
"It would seem like it is an easy golf course to play, but about the time you par the first two or three holes, it will strike back at you and knock you out. It has a way of striking back at you."
Hugh Byington's 1939 scorecard
Lester P. Daniels dies December 8th 1949 leaving his vast estate for sale. After managing the resort since 1951, the Kaminski family purchased the Chula Vista Resort in 1953. Joe and Vera Kaminski owned and operated the resort until Joe's death in 1975 leaving operations to their son Fred Kaminski.
Joe & Vera Kaminski at the front desk of Chula Vista Resort
The Berry family owned and operated the course until 1960 when James "Jimmie" Wimmer and his family purchased the property. The course then became the Pineaire Country Club for the next several decades. The Wimmer family has also owned and operated another Wisconsin Dells staple, Jimmie's Del-Bar since 1947.
Pineaire Country Club scorecard
During the 1980s the Wimmer family reverted the course name to the Cold Water Canyon Golf Course and constructed a new octagonal club house with a wrap around porch. This structure is still on the grounds today (The Chalet) and can be booked for overnight stays at Chula Vista Resort.
The Chalet today at Chula Vista
The new millenium brought new ownership to the course and in 2004 the Kaminski family of Chula Vista Resort purchased Cold Water Canyon Golf Course. A new club house was constructed in 2017 as well as a new outdoor tent venue. Cold Water Canyon today hosts many events, weddings and large golf outings.