Whistling Straits’ champion for another major: Ziggy

Whistling Straits’ champion for another major: Ziggy

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Whistling Straits’ champion for another major: Ziggy

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MOSEL, Wis. – You didn’t have to look far to see a perfect example of the entrepreneurial spirt of the Badger state. Just outside the gates at Whistling Straits sits Zig’s Hostel and Social Hall, also known as Ziggy’s, after its owner, Robert Ziegelbauer.

A stone mason at Whistling Straits, Ziegelbauer has been opening his 1.84-acre property to the public for the four championships at Whistling Straits: PGAs in 2004, ’10 and this year and the 2007 U.S. Senior Open.

A popular watering hole, Ziggy’s sits in the middle of a field that serves as parking for media, caddies and preferential pass holders. The club opens when the sun comes up but closes by midnight.

“Everybody has to get ready for the next day and they are tired,” Ziegelbauer said of his hours. “I don’t want a loud thing. We try to keep everybody happy.”

Making people happy was the goal of opening the club to the public. Sure, he makes money, but Ziegelbauer values all of his new friends from the four major events. He also created an RV park for the week, housing visitors who can’t find a hotel in rural Wisconsin.

The process of hosting the public has also gotten more complicated as each successive event has grown in popularity. For this year’s PGA, Ziegelbauer needed to secure a liquor license for the first time, which took him 2½ years of planning and execution between getting the approval of the town of Mosel to the state liquor authorities.

“Tremendous experience,” Ziggy says of the support from friends and those who work at the golf course. “I couldn’t do it without the friends that come and help me. I’ve got a security team. I’ve got a carpenter. I’ve got a lot of people here that help me. I’ve got a bar manager. The caddies had a band they play, and the cart girls bartended for me. So I get everybody involved.”

When midnight Sunday arrives, Zig’s Hostel and Social Club will be closed and everyone will return to their full-time jobs, but how long the club might be closed is unclear.

As his children grow older, Ziggy is considering opening the club on a full-time basis. And then, of course, the Ryder Cup is just five years away.

“Everybody that stayed here (in a motor home) has asked me to reserve a spot for the Ryder Cup,” Ziegelbauer said. “I don’t know what my plans are yet. I’m talking to a lot of people about it. I want to get through this before first I do anything serious.”

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