Officials at a Wisconsin golf course have apologized after the club advertised nine holes of golf for $9.11 to mark the 12th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The Tumbledown Trails Golf Course in Verona, Wis., placed the ad in the Wisconsin State Journal offering golfers "9 holes with cart for only $9.11 per person or 18 holes with cart for only $19.11" on Wednesday.
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After a picture of the ad was posted to Twitter by a reader, news spread on social media and the golf course's Facebook page was flooded with negative comments.
Late Monday night, golf course employees posted an apology on the page, saying they would donate the difference between their normal rate and their advertised special to the 9/11 Memorial fund.
"We hope that everyone will now see this as a positive as we really meant it to be," the Facebook post read. "Again, we do sincerely apologize for offending anyone & hope that you do accept our sincere apology."
But the backlash continued, with one commenter writing, "9/11 is a painful, frightening memory for those of us who were living and growing up in the Northeast. For those who were there and who lost parents, relatives, and friends, it is a nightmare they must face at this time every year for the rest of their lives. To exploit these horrors for profit is sickening."
Owner and general manager Marc Watts told the Associated Press
that he might temporarily close the club following death threats and threats to burn down the family-operated public golf course.
"We're a little hurt by the fact that people are putting such a negative context on this," he said, adding: "I thought people would appreciate it."
The golf course's promotion of nine holes for $9.11 actually began two years ago, on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, but Watts said until now it had been warmly received.
"You have a small business that's woven into the community, they were doing a promotion, thought they were commemorating 9/11, they ran it and it blew back on them," Kathleen Culver, associate director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told the AP.
"They apologized. Really, does the story need to go any further?" she said.
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