Langford’s of Lawsonia: A living legacy

Guests mingle and dine during Langford’s famous fish fry. Ariana Hones photo

by Ariana Hones

In between noshing on his favorite pop rock breath mints and asking the ever constant question of “links or woods?” to a steady stream of clients, Josh Carroll, PGA Head Golf Professional at Lawsonia, paused to talk about the living legacy that is Lawsonia Golf Course and in particular, the exciting new leadership of Langford’s Pub.

In less than a decade, Langford’s has evolved from “hot dog rollers and just ‘the bare necessities’” to a premier restaurant that offers Friday and Saturday night dinners of fish and prime rib respectively, and has a fully operational liquor license.

Like all great things, there were many people behind its creation.

“Eight years ago, before [Langford’s] was anything, Adam Wagner, now food and beverage manager, was helping run the Caddyshack, which offered quick and easy ‘to go’ items,” Carroll said, noting Wagner’s first job was in the kitchen at Lawsonia. “Then he left to work at Pastimes for four years and now we have him back.”

The head golf pro also credited a current cook for making Langford’s what it is.

“Glenn Willis is the head chef and he has been all over the place. He is bringing in new flavors and killer desserts that are making me big really quickly because someone needs to sample them,” laughed Carroll. “Everyone here is looking for an opportunity to do better.”

The evolution of Langford’s into its current state has sparked new motivation in the Lawsonia team, many of whom have made the property their home.

“I grew up [at] the property. I will always have a life-long tie,” said Carroll.

“I have worked here for nine years,” added assistant PGA pro Michael Lueptow.

Lueptow also noted Lawsonia wants to be a “go-to-destination for golf in America.”

Housing a top-tier restaurant like Langford’s is part of that vision.

What are Carroll and Lueptow’s favorite bites to eat?

“The cheesecake [is] incredible, but my go to [is] probably the chicken wrap,” Carroll said.

“Anything off the breakfast menu; like those extra crispy hash browns,” Lueptow said.

A client walking in to start his day on the course piped in: “The cheeseburger — a classic.”

Beyond serving cuisine, both men believe that there is plenty of room to expand the vision for Langford’s.

Such as live music or more tailored golf outings.

The late Nick Lueptow, Michael’s uncle, was the visionary for Langford’s, and the champion if not creator of so much of what makes Lawsonia what it is today.

“He was the cornerstone of the place and now we are trying to continue that,” Carroll said.

Nick Lueptow, like both men, had a special tie to the place. It was never just a place where he worked.

“He helped run both Pastimes (in Ripon) and Harbor Lights (in Green Lake) and brought that experience and knowledge of the locals and built this restaurant off of that,” Carroll said. “He saw the local connection as a huge opportunity to make this place go.

“Nick had been here since he was a kid. He dug the irrigation for this place and really wanted to see it succeed.”

From the time the snow melts to the first snow fly, Lawsonia and Langford’s welcomes people onto the property.

“What is great about Lawsonia is the overall values of the place. We have been ranked No. 64 in the nation and No. 3 in Wisconsin,” Carroll said. “It is professionally run, but it has a local vibe.”

The “local” feel should come as no surprise considering the ties to the course of the people running it.

With an outdoor patio looking over the golf course and a revamped menu and interior, Langford’s gives new meaning to the word “legacy.”

It is the dream of Nick Lueptow realized and the work of so many coming to fruition.

The only question now before a stop at Langford’s…

“Links or woods?”