Vicki Ikeogu, firstname.lastname@example.org
SARTELL — It's hard to imagine the fairway of Blackberry Ridge Golf Course & Event Center as anything but a Central Minnesota golfer's dream.
But 20 years ago, the land surrounding 3125 Clubhouse Road was far from it.
Owners and sisters-in-law Linda and Kittie Fenlason remember the land as the 560-acre dairy farm they helped run alongside their husbands.
As the couples grew older, Linda Fenlason said it was time to find a new way to make a living.
"We looked a lots of different ideas," Linda Fenlason said. "It was one of our neighbors that suggested a golf course."
The idea stuck. And the Fenlasons' business adventure has become one of the area's most popular golf courses. So popular that Blackberry Ridge Golf Course & Event Center was named best golf course in the 2016 Best of Central Minnesota Readers' Survey.
"It's a great honor," Linda Fenlason said. "To see that we were voted the best just makes us feel overwhelmed and appreciative."
This is the second year Blackberry Ridge Golf Course & Event Center has received the best golf course title.
"Our original vision was to create a family business and enhance the community of Sartell," Linda Fenlason said.
And now, 15 years later, the Fenlasons believe they have accomplished their goal.
"In the past we have been told by many people that we are the best-kept secret in the area," Kittie Fenlason said.
Both Fenlasons agree that Blackberry Ridge would not be what it is today without the help of their approximately 60 employees, especially during the peak summer golf season.
"Our staff takes a lot of pride in making this the best place possible," Kittie Fenlason said. "So being chosen as the best is really huge (for us)."
Follow Vicki Ikeogu on Twitter @VickiSCTimes or on Facebook at facebook.com/sctimesvicki. Call her at 259-3662.