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Touch Of Scotland In Nekoosa, Wisconsin!

May 7, 2017

In today’s Travel section of The New York Times comes an interesting read about a world-class golf resort that is most impressive sounding–and located in Nekoosa, Wisconsin.  Love the writing.

The area is still dirt-poor, particularly once you get away from the honky-tonk tourist attractions and water parks surrounding the Wisconsin Dells. The nearest big city is Milwaukee, more than 150 miles away. O’Hare airport, in Chicago, is four hours by car; so are the Twin Cities. It’s not exactly the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of building a world-class golf resort.

But nestled near the tiny towns of Rome and Nekoosa, about 100 miles from Madison, hidden away for decades under vast rows of red pine trees planted to produce pulp, was something extraordinary: a stunning section of the exposed sandy bottom of a prehistoric glacial lake that, geologists say, flooded a large area of central Wisconsin about 18,000 years ago, when an ancient ice dam collapsed.

When we drove toward the course, on the last Monday morning of September, I didn’t know what to expect. A couple months earlier, I had made a reservation by email to play that afternoon, spend the night at one of the new rooms that were supposed to have opened, and then play again the next morning before moving on to Minneapolis. Where we would go for dinner was an open question.

Our GPS device led us astray, and as we wandered around the countryside of farms, cottages, cranberry bogs and lakes, we came upon a roadside bar with an original Pabst Blue Ribbon logo, passing numerous lawn signs for the Trump campaign. Eventually, having stopped to call for directions, we found a small sign directing us onto a gravel road, and entered what looked a lot more like a sprawling construction site than a golf resort.

In the strong wind, sand was blowing everywhere across an unpaved parking area. The future clubhouse was a hole in the ground, with a foundation in place and not much else. We found the check-in desk and golf shop, in a nearly windowless converted 40-foot shipping container. However, as soon as we saw the immense landscape of wide green fairways, golden-colored prairie grasses, low shrubs and acres of washboard sand dunes, we knew we had come to someplace special.

At first blush, though, this didn’t look like Aldo Leopold’s vision. “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community,” Leopold wrote in one of his most famous passages. “It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Could a sprawling golf development really reflect his conservation ethic? Maybe it could.

Mr. Keiser’s son Michael lives in Madison and is responsible for carrying out the project. In an email after our visit, he said that Leopold’s words “inspired us to rebuild a forgotten world in Adams County,” where Sand Valley and Aldo Leopold’s shack, now a designated historic landmark, are set. “The pine barrens of central Wisconsin are as rare as they are beautiful — we’d like to help them flourish.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Solly permalink
    May 7, 2017 11:37 PM

    woo hoo! I imagine the high capacity well permits have already been issued to keep it green.

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