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From Fields to Fairways

Classic Golf Clubs of Minnesota

2012
Author:

Rick Shefchik

From Fields to Fairways

The first history of Minnesota’s celebrated golf clubs and courses, including rarely seen photographs and long-lost details about the game’s most famous architects

From Fields to Fairways is the first book to thoroughly explore the history, architecture, and joie de vivre of Minnesota golf clubs, bringing to life the personalities who founded and shaped the clubs and courses. Featuring more than two hundred photos, this will be the book of record on Minnesota’s illustrious golf history for fans and players of all handicaps.

A great addition to the written history of golf in Minnesota and one that every true golfer will want in the library.

Reed K. Mackenzie, former president of the United States Golf Association

From retreats for the middle class to playgrounds for the rich, golf clubs have been sources of recreation, fellowship, and business for Minnesotans for more than a century. Minnesota’s courses have hosted some of the sport's most dramatic tournaments and legendary players—including Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods—and its clubs have been deeply involved in the development and popularizing of golf throughout North America.

From Fields to Fairways is the first book to thoroughly explore the history, architecture, and joie de vivre of Minnesota golf clubs, bringing to life the personalities who founded and shaped the clubs and courses, including forgotten details of how the greatest courses were built. Rick Shefchik highlights the best-known golf architects and the clubs they designed, such as Donald Ross (Woodhill, Interlachen, Northland), A. W. Tillinghast (Golden Valley, Rochester), William Watson (Minikahda, White Bear Yacht Club), and Seth Raynor (Somerset, Midland Hills, Minnesota Valley). He also traces the evolution of the state’s public courses, which provided affordable playing grounds for the middle class as well as African Americans, who were not allowed to join private clubs. Another chapter focuses on the creation of private clubs by Jewish golfers, who were likewise once excluded from Minnesota’s elite golf clubs.

Featuring more than two hundred photos from newspapers, clubs, museums, and private collections—many of which have never before been seen by the public—From Fields to Fairways will be the book of record on Minnesota’s illustrious golf history for fans and players of all handicaps.

From Fields to Fairways

Rick Shefchik is a freelance writer and was, for twenty-six years, a reporter and columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He is the author of four novels. As a young boy in Duluth, Minnesota, in the 1950s, he took his first golf lessons from Northland Country Club head pro Everett Stuart and has been playing golf ever since. He lives in Stillwater, Minnesota.

From Fields to Fairways

A great addition to the written history of golf in Minnesota and one that every true golfer will want in the library.

Reed K. Mackenzie, former president of the United States Golf Association

Rick Shefchik brings to life the visionaries, architects, and personalities that built our classic courses and forever shaped the game we love. Minnesota is known nationally for the quality of our golf courses and this is a must for anyone who loves the history and traditions of Minnesota golf.

Tom Ryan, Executive Director & COO, Minnesota Golf Association

From Fields to Fairways: Classic Golf Clubs of Minnesota delivers more than you ever thought you'd want to know about golf's beginnings in Minnesota.

Star Tribune

The book is the first to thoroughly explore the history, architecture, and life inside Minnesota golf clubs. With 200 photos, this exhaustively researched compilation brings to life the personalities who founded and shaped the clubs and courses. It will be the book of record on Minnesota’s illustrious golf history for anyone with interest in the local game.

Twin Cities Business

The book is an exhaustive compendium of rare photos and little known details of some of Minnesota's most beautiful and exclusive golf courses and how they were the precursors to the state's many public courses.

Minnesota Public Radio

An eye-opening, entertaining read for any Gopher State golf buff.

Twin Cities Daily Planet

From Fields to Fairways is a highly-detailed, thoroughly researched, encyclopaedia of classic Minnesota private country clubs and their architectural histories.

A Walk in the Park

From Fields to Fairways will be the book of record on Minnesota’s deep golf history for fans and players of all handicaps.

Midwest Golfing Magazine

A definitive history of golf in the state.

2nd Swing

From Fields to Fairways is hereby proclaimed as the book of record on Minnesota’s illustrious golf history for fans and players of all handicaps.

Tee Times: Minnesota Golf & Living

Reading about these clubs is almost as fun as playing them.

KARE-11

Filled with rarely seen photographs, history and architectural details of Minnesota’s celebrated golf clubs and courses, this book brings to life the personalities of those who founded and shaped the local greens.

Plymouth Magazine

From Fields to Fairways

Contents


Acknowledgments

Introduction: Farms to Fairways


1. The Wellspring
The Town & Country Club (1893)

2. Cradle of Championships
The Minikahda Club (1898)
The Godfather: C. T. Jaffray (1865–1956)

3. Lake Superior Gem
Northland Country Club (1899)

4. Crossroads of History
Interlachen Country Club (1911)

5. Sailors and Golfers
White Bear Yacht Club (1912)
The Unsung Hero: Tom Vardon
Minnesota’s Bobby Jones: Harrison R. “Jimmy” Johnston

6. Ross Shows His Stuff
Woodhill Country Club (1915)

7. The Players’ Club
Minneapolis Golf Club (1916)

8. Rising from the Ashes
Golden Valley Golf and Country Club (1916)

9. Tillie’s Gift
Rochester Golf & Country Club (1915)

10. Raynor Comes to Minnesota
Somerset Country Club (1920)

11. The Professors’ Legacy
Midland Hills Country Club (1921)
University of Minnesota Golf Course (1916)

12. No Longer a Rich Man’s Game
Municipal Golf (1916–34)
The Mayor of Bronzeville: Jimmie Slemmons

13. Jewish Golf
Oak Ridge Country Club (1920)
Hillcrest Country Club (1921)

14. Bring the Family
Edina Country Club (1923)

15 Spreading the Game
Southview Country Club (1921)
Stillwater Country Club (1925)
Minnesota Valley Country Club (1925)
Mendakota Country Club (1926)

16. The PGA Arrives
Keller Golf Course (1929)

17. James J. Hill’s Retreat
North Oaks Golf Club (1951)

18. Golf’s World Stage
Hazeltine National Golf Club (1962)


Afterword. The Modern Classics: Golf’s Last Building Boom


National Tournaments in Minnesota

Illustration Credits

Index

From Fields to Fairways

Shefchik_map

Click for a full timeline of great Minnesota golf-course events in the state's history.

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UMP blog - A little love, and a little luck, helped create the A.W. Tillinghast-designed Rochester Country Club members know today.

Minnesota is blessed to be the home of golf courses designed by some of the best golf course architects who ever drew a blueprint, laid out a fairway or placed a bunker.

Scotland native Donald Ross has six examples of his work in Minnesota (Minikahda, Interlachen, White Bear Yacht Club, Woodhill, Minneapolis Golf Club and Northland); Long Island surveyor-turned-golf course designer Seth Raynor designed three here (Somerset, Midland Hills and Minnesota Valley); prolific American architect Robert Trent Jones designed Hazeltine National; gifted Canadian Stanley Thompson designed North Oaks; and two-time British Open champion Willie Park, Jr., designed the first routing of Minneapolis Golf Club.

Read the full article.

 

SEE RICK'S KARE 11 INTERVIEW: