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Central Wisconsin golf getting attention for its unique courses

One course features real cactus
Posted at 10:33 PM, May 01, 2017

Sand Valley Golf Resort and Northern Bay Resort are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before in the Badger State in the way of golf.

Sand Valley just opened, and Northern Bay has replicas of seven of the best holes in golf. 

“There's already great golf in Central Wisconsin,” Craig Haltom said. “Right next door is Lake Arrowhead.  There's Northern Bay just down the road.  So golfers are used to coming to this area.”

“You could certainly see the hole itself is very, very close to the real hole,” said Darrel Malek. “So you can watch it on TV for the weekend.  And then come up and play it and see how you do versus the pros.”

Sand Valley seems like another world.

“Definitely visitors say I can't believe this is Wisconsin but even more interesting is that the locals say that,” Haltom said. “So people that have lived here their whole lives come up to this spot and say, I never knew this was here.”

With native cactus. Real, native cactus.

“Prickly pear cactus,” said Glen Murray. “If we dropped you out of a plane, you probably wouldn't know where you are.  A lot of people call it Mars out here, with all this sand.”

Pilot Neal Schlachter has a unique view he shares.

“I worked the other day and I was going from Orlando to Minneapolis and I flew right over it,” he said. “ And I took a snapshot from 36,000 feet and I showed it to some of the grounds workers today and they're like wow, this is so cool.”

Meanwhile, Northern Bay combines the best in pro golf, like the island hole at TPC Sawgrass.

“There's 20,000 golf balls in the pond behind us,” Malek said. “And so there may be a few that go in every weekend.”

“You know, when I left the state almost 20 years ago, the Greater Milwaukee Open was the biggest thing going,” Malek also said.  “And here since then, we've had women's US Opens.  We've had US Amateurs.  PGA Championships.  Now the US Open.  The Ryder Cup coming.  Wisconsin is really the center of the golf world.”

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