New York Mills: Sheep are par for the courseby Marc Sanchez, Minnesota Public Radio
New York Mills, Minn. — Dr. Howard Legried, a retired veterinarian, raises sheep on his farm a couple miles north of downtown New York Mills. His methods are nothing spectacular: sheep roam the grassy pastures, get sheered, then grow another coat of wool.
Legried's sheep, however, double as grounds-keepers at Balhepburn, the nine-hole golf course he has lovingly sculpted into his field of dreams.
Legried has steadily been building the his course for nearly 30 years. It started with just a few cans in the ground and has evolved into somewhat of an institution in the area. About 15 years ago, local dairy farmers helped him build a clubhouse, where one can play pool or cards, or just swap stories. Now, the course hosts a weekly league and charity tournaments.
There's a registry for people to sign in when they play. Legried says during the one year he kept track, he had visitors from "25 states, 75 Minnesota communities and five countries." Even with all that traffic, the course is still a pretty well-kept secret. Legried doesn't advertise. He says people come by are friends and friends of friends.
Legried has golfed the course every month of the year. The toughest month is February, he says, because the ball really bounces off the frozen ground.