Swinging into form

Alison Chambers, a member of The Prairie School girls golf team, works on her swing while practicing on the driving range at Ives Grove Golf Links in Yorkville in 2017. A new year-round driving range called Range Time could be coming to the golf course. The county and company is currently working out details of a contract. 

YORKVILLE — Area golfers might be getting a new place to tee off all year round.

Racine County is currently working with Keller Architectural Design regarding a lease for a 9,970-square-foot clubhouse and covered driving range at the Ives Grove Golf Links, 14101 Washington Ave. The range would go where the existing, outdoor driving range is located.

On Monday, the Yorkville Village Board approved site plans for the development which still requires the Racine County Board's blessing. 

The applicant for the project, Ramiro Romo, would lease the current driving range land and own the new one to be called Range Time Golf Academy. He hopes to break ground in April.

Romo, the father of former NFL quarterback and current CBS broadcaster Tony Romo, said he got the idea for the business while waiting to hit buckets of balls at other area driving ranges.

“The lines (for the driving range) would be so big, or I’d have to wait a half an hour to an hour to hit a bucket of golf balls,” Romo said. “And I was thinking ‘Holy cow, this seems to be an up and coming piece of business.’”

After five years of research, Romo said an opportunity opened up to work with the county and Pete Eitel, the head golf pro at Ives Grove Golf Links.

Special features

The prospective driving range is likely not to be like the driving ranges of the past. For starters, it will have 30 heated bays.

In addition, “Our intentions are to put in two indoor simulators,” Romo said. “So if you want to play Pebble Beach or if you want to play golf courses that are well known around the world, you start loading them up on a computer and start hitting them into a screen.”

Romo said he also plans to bring additional technology to the range, specifically TrackMan Golf which can tell a golfer about their swing and the path and rotation of the ball.

Romo hopes the driving range will give those who love the game a place to go during winter and on rainy days.

“You just can’t imagine how much people love to go out,” he said. “Golf is a great stress reliever because it takes your mind off of stuff and makes you focus on something else.”

The driving range could also be a place to teach younger generations the game; Romo hopes Racine County high schools will take advantage of the facility during the off season.

“The majority of it is going to be to help the golfer learn how to play golf,” Romo said. “It’s going to help a lot of the high school community so kids in our community can start working on the game sooner so when the spring season shows up, they won’t be behind.”

Romo said the focus is going to on golf, but there will be some food available.

He said Racine County officials and Ives Grove Golf Links have been very supportive in the project

When the ground thaws, Romo said, construction will begin.

“We’re ready; we’re locked and loaded,” he said.

Asked if his son Tony, an avid golfer, would hit some balls when Range Time is up and running, Romo’s reply was simple: “Uh, yeah.”

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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