"How Sweet It Is..."

- Taken from Eastern Pennsylvania Golf Magazine August 2000

Sweet Water Golf Course, the result of a dramatic facelift, aims to make its nine-hole layout memorable At the new Sweet Water Golf Course you will find that less is more. Definitely.

Sweet Water, you see, is the former Pennsburg Golf Course, located just off Rt. 663 between Quakertown and Pennsburg in upper Montgomery County that, from 1969 to 1999, evolved from nine holes to 14.

Having more holes than less when it was Pennsburg, however, slowly became a liability rather than an asset. That’s because the 14 holes, for the want of a better word, wandered all over the property, sometimes even crossing one another. And it slowly spiraled into disrepair until the Kolonia and Vietmeier families took over the property on June 1, 1999.

But the family, with Jeff and Sharon (Kolonia) Vietmeier taking over the day-to-day operations, quickly transformed the golf course. The pro shop was gutted and rehabbed, with a pleasing wood deck added for outside eating and drinking. Then Jeff, along with family help, retooled and redesigned the course, quickly eliminating five holes to return it to a nine-hole layout and making it much more playable and enjoyable.

The course couldn’t be in better hands. Jeff is a Penn State turf grass program graduate with plenty of experience: an internship at Augusta, GA; five years at Golden Eagle in Tallahassee, FL; and six more years at the University of Maryland Golf Course.

While teaching in Maryland, Sharon met her husband while playing golf at the University. Coming back to Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Allentown College and Beaver College, was the perfect choice. Sharon now runs the pro shop and the day-to-day operations.

This the first foray into the golf business for the Kolonia family, but Bob and Joan (Sharon’s parents) have been long-time businesspeople from Holland Township, NJ and, in the words of Joan, “we know the value of hard work and are here to make this golf course better. We’ll continue to work hard to make it an enjoyable place to play.”

The Vietmeiers agree that hard work helped them through a particularly rough first year. “Taking over the course in June (1999) wasn’t the most ideal time,” Jeff says. “The course was really run down so we had a lot to do in a short period of time.” The course re-opened the following month.

“And then the drought hit us,” added Sharon. “That only made it harder to get going.” Jeff agreed, pointing out that after he killed most of the clover on the course (which made up most of the “green” in the fairways), it was tough watering to get anything to grow. A full irrigation system was then added in 2000.

Two of the holes were eliminated to create a 17-stall driving range that will allow the facility to offer lessons with a teaching professional. “That (the driving range) was a must for us,” comments Jeff, “because I want this facility to be as much about practicing and learning the game as it is about playing it. That’s why we also installed a new putting green as well as a chipping green with a bunker (which should be completed in 2002). Our teaching pro can run all sorts of clinics here without going out on the course.”

Jeff has no illusions about this course being more than it is: A nine-hole course. But he has seen the clientele change over the year since the family has purchased it, as more families and couples have come to play. “That’s what we want here. We want people to know that it’s a place where couples and families can come and learn the game. We also want to encourage juniors to play so that they can grow into the game.”

The course is 2495 yard, par 35 with even two par 5’s – one of them the 475-yard No. 4. Nine and 18 hole rates are available. A stream and two ponds affect play on three holes with the two ponds, perhaps, affecting play dramatically on the par 4 - 250 yard No. 2 hole. The ponds, which have been worked on (in 2000), are positioned around a new enlarged green, creating a somewhat island green. For more information, call (215) 541-3111.