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Soviets Visit Wisconsin Course

November 15, 1988

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) _ A damp breeze made for poor putting weather Tuesday, but Soviet officials touring a golf course similar to one being built in their country said it made them feel right at home.

″This is the Reds visiting the greens,″ said Robert Trent Jones Jr., architect of both the SentryWorld 18-hole course here and the course just outside Moscow.

The Soviets signed an agreement with Jones last June during the summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The five Soviet officials touring the Wisconsin course laughed as they rode in golf carts for the first time and tried their hand at putting a few balls.

Then they studied both how the course is managed and the machinery used to groom it.

″Too many machines and cars is needed for decoration of the golf course,″ said Valentin Maltsev, vice president of Techno Export Moscow, as he toured the maintenance building where Sentry Insurance keeps about 100 pieces of machinery.

The Soviets came to northern Wisconsin to see the par-72 golf course because it was built despite some of the same problems the site 35 kilometers west of Moscow faces, said Ivan Sergeev of the administration for services for the diplomatic corps. Like northern Wisconsin, the Moscow site is relatively flat and forested and the trees must be removed and lakes built, he said.

″The climate in the area of Moscow is almost exactly what it is here,″ Sergeev said through an interpreter.

The Soviet course, expected to open in 1991, will be the country’s first championship course and will be open six months a year, he said.

″In the winter, it will not be open because it will be lying under a lot of snow,″ Sergeev said.

The Soviet course will provide an opportunity for visitors and diplomats to play golf in Moscow, he said.

But Sergeev said he hoped the Soviet course ″will be a place to rest and not to do business on the golf course″ as is often done in the United States.

The quality of rest is a matter of opinion. The Soviet course will not have golf carts.

″That’s an American way. The Russian way, we walk,″ he said.

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