Very sad event and end of an era?

Cheesbrough Fire

We have been using practice green sticks from Cheesebrough for a decade. The first one's were purchased in 2003 and the current set in 2009. Every year I get compliments about them. I learned a lot about how to care for them from the man who made them. Wood products outside need regular attention and I can often be seen oiling up the practice green sticks throughout the summer, always hearing Ken's friendly voice and trying to take as much pride in his work as he did. I have tried to carry that knowledge to the rocking chairs on the porch.
Cheesebrough was a family run, small town wood working mill in Freetown, Michigan. They began in 1872 manufacturing rakes used in cheese making and continued to use many of the same techniques and equipment to this day. They broke into the golf market with rakes and then became known for really nice flag sticks using exotic hardwoods and brass. As many posted on Turfnet it was a highlight of my national convention to stop at the booth and chat with Ken Vantol, the owner. I would marvel at the different displays and the intricate work it took to make them. Ever since my first shop class in school where I learned how to turn a piece of wood on a lathe I have appreciated fine wood working. Some of Ken's display pieces were true works of art. I remember asking him one year about a practice stick and he said he could not charge enough to mass produce it, he had some crazy number like 20 hours of work into it.

Do yourself a favor and look through the pictures on their website. My pictures of our sticks do not do the Vantol craftsmanship justice:

"old" one we use as a winter stick leaning on "new" one

brand at the bottom of our "new" sticks
sample from website
I cannot guess what the family will do. I sure hope they rebuild. I wish the best for a great company and great people who produce quality products right here in America.

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