Lotto winner buys local struggling golf course - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lotto winner buys local struggling golf course

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LA PORTE CITY (KWWL) -

You've probably dreamed of what you would do if you hit the lottery jackpot--suddenly becoming a millionaire.

Last fall, a retired John Deere worker from Waterloo had his lucky day--cashing in a hot lotto ticket worth $3.5 million.  And he's using a chunk of his winnings to bring new life to a struggling local business.

On a sunny afternoon, golf lovers like Duane Kramer can't help but hit the links.

"Weather like this--it's hard to beat! Perfect day!" Kramer said.

Kramer and a group of friends visit several eastern Iowa golf courses each summer.   On this day, they're visiting the La Porte City Golf Club.

"The greens are good, the fairways are pretty good.  Everybody will have a good time out here," said Kramer.

That's thanks to a facelift courtesy of new owner Wally Markum.  Markum made the buy after striking it rich last fall--when he hit the hot lotto jackpot.  He's poured some of his winnings into making the course a thing of beauty:  greener greens, new landscaping, even paved cart paths.

"I bought this place, because it was in financial trouble and needed a little help.  And the city of La Porte wouldn't have had a golf course if I didn't buy it.  So I now own a golf course!" Markum said.

He never dreamed the fields of green would be all his.  While it's hard work keeping things in tip-top shape, life on the links is a match made in heaven.

"I didn't think I'd like it that much, but it's been quite enjoyable," said Markum.

The business might not have survived without Markum's investments.  And he's got more improvements in the works, including more upgrades to the clubhouse.  With every tee off, the lotto winner knows his investment is well worthwhile.

"I'll have this the rest of my life.  It's too much fun right now!" Markum said.

The La Porte City Golf Club is a public course. 

Wally Markum says the improved club house is booking up quickly for graduation parties, class reunions, and more.

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