SYSK: Wally Markham turning around La Porte City Golf Club - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Wally Markham turning around La Porte City Golf Club

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LA PORTE CITY (KWWL) -

Golfers are in full swing at the La Porte City Golf Club. In April, the golf club got a new owner, Wally Markham.

"I made an offer to buy it. Now I own a golf course. I used to be retired," said Wally Markham.

Wally is retired from John Deere. You might remember hearing his name in the news in November 2011.

That's when Markham won a more than $7.5 million dollar Hot Lotto jackpot.

Taking the cash-option, he pocketed more than $3.5 million after taxes, which brings us back to the golf course.

Wally said he invested most of his lottery winnings and largely bought the greens with his 401K, but winning the lottery made the decision to buy the course much easier.

"That didn't hurt me any. I'll tell you that. Got something to fall back on," he said.

Staffers said having Markham in charge gives them relief their jobs are safe.

"He's really saved this club," said Nancy Riley.

"If I wouldn't have bought the course, it would have closed. I wanted La Porte to have a golf course because a lot of people golf out here. That's the reason I bought it," said Markham.

Wally Markham still lives in Waterloo, but was a regular at the La Porte City Golf Club, even volunteering with some course maintenance.

He said it's definitely different being the owner.

"It's neat. It's fun. New experience," said Markham.

Markham is already making noticeable improvements, including new landscaping around the course and fixing up the clubhouse. He also paved the cart paths, plans to pave the parking lot soon and is renovating the banquet hall to hold functions year-round.

"it's just a fun place to be. everyone wants to be here now."

Wally Markham said he wants everyone to enjoy their time at the La Porte City Golf Club (whether golfing or not) but he warns, if you do swing a club, watch out for the trees.

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