SHEBOYGAN — Even someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy golf can appreciate the beautiful property playing host to the Ryder Cup in Sheboygan County.
Whistling Straits is perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. A group of nearly 2 dozen local artists were granted exclusive access to it, ahead of the global golf spectacle. Their work is on display, and much of it for sale, in a special exhibition that runs through Ryder Cup Week.
“It was really, let’s try to bring the Ryder Cup or the course that the American and European teams are going to be playing on, let’s bring that to the local community,” explained photographer Tom Ferguson. His work, along with that of 21 other photographers and painters, makes up the Kohler Golf Exhibit.
“You can’t go out onto the Kohler Golf courses unless you’re playing the course or you’re an invited guest of the Kohler Company,” Ferguson said as he detailed how the opportunity came together for the Sheboygan Visual Artists. “This was almost unprecedented access for a large number of people. 22 people, 4 consecutive Mondays, twice a day. They provided golf carts. They provided advice. They were extraordinarily helpful.”
The artists worked at sunrise and sunset on those Mondays this summer. Ferguson thinks it’s the best time for what they were trying to capture.
“What you look for from an artist’s perspective is lower sun, softer light and long shadows. So it really produced it. First think in the morning, especially on the Straits Course and the Irish Course, where you’d have the sun coming up over the lake and you’d get these long shadows over the greens. And then in the evening, it’s just the opposite. Sun setting in the west and we’d get the shadows heading towards the lake. That’s what artists embellish. That soft light and the shadows.”
Ferguson said the Kohler Company asked for nothing in return, only to see the final results of all the artists’ work.
The Sheboygan Visual Arts gallery will be open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. through Ryder Cup Sunday. The exhibition also features scenes from around Sheboygan and eastern Wisconsin. Much of it is for sale. There is a special artists reception Friday evening from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. For more information and to view the work online, click here.