The family who ran Muskego Lakes Country Club for the past 47 years has sold the business and 161-acre property to a new owner.
Jojan Virk purchased the golf course and banquet facility, located at S100 W14020 Loomis Road, from second-generation operators Mark and Steve Krause. Their father, the late Scott Krause, purchased the facility in 1974, shortly after it first opened as a semi-private golf club.
The sale price was not disclosed.
Mark and Steve Krause had been involved in the club's day-to-day operations since the beginning and took over ownership from their father in 1999. Now both in their mid-to-late 60s, the decision to sell came as the brothers prepared for retirement, without another generation willing to take over the business, said general manager Helen Runjo, a longtime employee and personal friend of the Krause family.
"The (third-generation family members) have all gone in different directions (with their careers) ... and the business is not what they wanted to do," she said. "(Mark and Steve) have five siblings and none of them wanted to take it over either."
The Krause family quietly began searching for a buyer about three years ago. It was important that the property remained a golf course and banquet facility, but they were looking for someone who could take operations to the next level, said Runjo.
The Krause family worked with Colliers International throughout the sale process; Anne Dempsey, vice president at the company's Chicago office brokered the deal.
As Muskego Lake's new owner, Virk plans to revamp the club's marketing efforts to better engage existing and new members; roll out new, more innovative events; and update the property's facilities, including the clubhouse, pub, pro shop and driveway. Work is set to begin this summer.
"He wants to keep the longtime charm that we've always had, but he wants to bring it to this century," Runjo said. "The potential here is untapped, it's just that we didn't have the resources to take it to the next level."
Virk was born and raised in Punjab, India and comes from a family who owns various businesses in both the U.S. and India. He came to the U.S. several years ago to attend medical school, but ended up pursuing business instead. This opportunity was one he couldn't pass up, said Runjo. He was drawn to the club's member community, family-friendly environment, and opportunities for investment
Virk kept the club's entire staff, with plans to hire additional employees. Mark Krause will stay on full-time as the club's PGA Golf professional, at least for this summer, and Runjo will stay on as GM.
Muskego Lakes saw a boost in membership over the past year as people spent more time outdoors and spent more money on outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The events side of the business is beginning to pick up again, thanks to weddings rescheduled from 2020. The club has at least one wedding booked each weekend through July and two weddings booked each weekend in August, September and October. By comparison, the club hosted less than a dozen events last summer due to the pandemic.