The owner of the Currie Park Golf Dome that was damaged during last week's snow storm says he hopes to have the winter golf practice venue 'up and running as soon as possible.'
Phil Levin of Wisconsin Golf Dome Inc. said the dome was gradually deflated over the New Year's weekend as a safety precaution and to prevent further damage as a result of heavy wet snow that accumulated on the roof following the Dec. 28 snow storm that dumped as much as 9 inches of snow on southeastern Wisconsin.
Levin emphasized that no one was injured and the dome did not collapse.
Levin said he plans to meet later this week with representatives from his insurance company and a dome manufacturer to assess the extent of the damage and determine how long it will take to repair and inflate the dome.
'I am hoping to get up and running as soon as possible,' Levin said.
The dome is a mecca for thousands of southeastern Wisconsin golfers seeking a place to maintain and hone their skills during the four to five months when winter weather makes area golf courses unplayable.
Located at 3535 Mayfair Road, on the grounds of the Currie Park Golf Course, the dome is about 100 yards wide, nearly 100 yards deep and about 70 feet tall.
Inside there are 33 hitting bays from which golfers can swing away, pounding countless numbers of golf balls towards targets hanging from the ceiling or launching wedges high into the air toward practice greens and pins set up at the back of the facility.
There is a putting practice area and a retail shop located inside the facility, which is often used as a site for area golf instructors to give winter lessons.
During peak periods as many as 500 golfers a day use the dome, according to Levin. On weekends, golfers sometimes have to wait as long as 30 minutes for an available hitting bay, he added.
This is the second time that winter golfers have lost a venue this season.
The National Golf Center at S74 W24255 National Ave., in Vernon, a driving range that featured eight outdoor hitting bays heated with infrared lamps, closed in November when owner Paul Mindel sold the property to American Friction Welding of Brookfield. The company plans to build a 60,000-square-foot warehouse on the site.
Mindel has teamed up with Peter Gelsinger, owner of Swing Time Golf and Baseball in Waukesha and a consultant in Swing Time in Germantown. They are in the process of developing a new all-season golf practice facility with heated hitting bays at Swing Time in Germantown at W197 N10340 Appleton Avenue.
There also is a heated outdoor driving range at Gastrau's Golf Center at 1300 East Rawson Avenue, Oak Creek, as well as several indoor facilities where golfers can practice on golf simulators that replicate famous golf courses.
The dome was established by Levin in 1996. He is paying Milwaukee County a flat fee of $30,000 a year to lease land for the dome adjacent to the Currie Park Golf Course clubhouse, according to Joe Mrozinski, assistant chief of recreation and business development for the county park system.
Mrozinski said the county and Levin are negotiating an extension of the existing 10-year agreement which is scheduled to expire this year.
The negotiations began in late 2015 after Levin was the only vendor to respond to a request for proposals (RFP) sought by the county for a golf dome operator, according to Laura Schloesser, chief of administration for the park system.
The county sought new proposals for a golf dome in recognition that its existing contract with Levin was expiring, according to Schloesser
Levin was optimistic there will be a new contract and the dome will resume operations.
'This is the first time in 20 years anything like this has happened,' he said.