RACINE -- A golfer from Racine has made quite the name for himself as a player, but he has found that he'd rather carry on his family's and his city's tradition.
Ben Bendtsen III is a former Wisconsin State Amateur Golf champion, joining the likes of Steve Stricker, JP Hayes, Mark Wilson and Jordan Niebrugge. You have to hit a lot of sweet shots to win an event like that. Bendtsen doesn't have much company when it comes to hitting sweet shots in his everyday job.
"I definitely take a lot of pride in what I do. It's a very unique thing we do. It's really only Racine that's really known for kringle and we're the last one to do it handmade, the original process. I'll never change it. I really enjoy doing it. I enjoy being hands on," Bendtsen said.
Bendtsen's Bakery has been making kringle in the same location in Racine since 1934 and Bendtsen is now in charge, the latest in a long family line to do things a certain way.
"The process has been happening for 83 years. It's been passed down four generations. It's basically just hand rolling the dough, but it's also creating layers and dispersing the butter and margarine throughout the dough," Bendtsen said.
There are no shortcuts to the end result, which sounds a lot like golf.
"Even with our job, we're adapting constantly. It's always new orders every day, or different items you're trying to make. We're creating things and with golf, it's the same thing. Every course is different. Every day your swing's a little different. You kind of use your imagination a little bit, your artistic ability, which is similar to baking," Bendtsen said.
Despite being around a bakery his whole life, Bendtsen is still fit and trim.
"I try to sell more than eat," Bendtsen said.
At 31 years old, Bendtsen has long balanced golf and baking. A few years ago, he turned professional and committed to trying to make a life on tour. In the end, the family business was a better fit.
"I don't regret anything I did. I felt like I gave it a good go, but I'm definitely happy with where I'm at now. With my job, I can still play golf, so I kind of have the best of both worlds right now," Bendtsen said.
Bendtsen's Bakery sells kringle in the bakery every day except Sunday and it's shipped around the world.
The busiest time of the year is around the holidays, as you might expected. The quietest is in the summer, allowing Bendtsen to work on his golf game.