By Tom Jordan
Door County is blessed with some fabulous golf courses. But some are too challenging. Some are not challenging enough. Some are so popular it’s hard to get a tee time. And some are just too expensive. Which is why my favorite eighteen-hole course is Cherry Hills. Challenging, without being too tough and yet surprisingly affordable and accessible.
About ten years ago the course was not in the best of shape. In fact, some of the greens resembled a lunar landscape. That all changed four years ago when Jon Martell took over the operation. He has invested a lot of time, effort, energy and money into improving the course, the clubhouse, the overnight accommodations…even the driving range.
Jon Martell has a long history of being around golf courses. When he was eleven-years-old he got his first job as a caddie. Over the years he has worked at some of the most prestigious courses in the country, including Whistling Straits, Redstone Golf Club, and most recently, Liberty National. “I’ve been in love with golf my whole life,” Martell said. “Having the opportunity to make major improvements here at Cherry Hills is like a dream come true. It’s been a lot of work but it’s really paying off.”
The improvements go beyond carefully refining and grooming the golf course. Every room in the lodge has been updated and the restaurant/bar had a complete makeover. “On a Friday night we’ll often get a big crowd for our fish fry,” Martell adds. “And the pub can be very active after a round of golf.”
More and more people are booking rooms for the week, playing a lot of golf and then using Cherry Hills as a “home base” for visiting the rest of Door County. With a staff of nearly twenty, Cherry Hills is a vibrant, hustling place that just seems to get better and better.
“I’ve worked at some very prestigious golf courses, so I know we’re on the right path,” Martell said. “If you haven’t played Cherry Hills in the past few years, I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”