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Pathways Through Our Past

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The golf season is long gone, or is it? When the sun is out and there is no snow, and it's relatively dry, one can spot a couple of diehards out on the course hitting a few. If they don't wreck the grounds, why not? I don't golf, so I don't know first hand, but it's said that our course is right up there with the best. We can tip our hats to Dick McKean for making it so. Before Dick...

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The dream of a golf course for Blackduck originated in 1934 with three men -- Chan Moon (Druggist Chan Moon's grandfather), Lee Oberg and I. J. Hauge. These three men were the main push behind the project. They contacted six other local businessmen, namely Leonard Kolden, Dr. S. L. Conley (dentist), Dr. D.J. Jacobson, J. F. Sullivan, James Johnson and H. E. Rolfe to build up enthusiasm for the project. Only three of the nine men played golf so it is apparent their belief was that it would be an asset to the community.

After checking various locations, they finally decided to contact the Pine Tree Lumber Company concerning the property near Pine Tree Park and Sept. 11, 1934 a down payment of $180 was made. With three other separate payments that year, one for delinquent taxes, 70 acres were also acquired through negotiations made with the Immigration Land Company.

Unemployment was high at the time and it was decided by the group to turn over the property to the village and apply for a WPA project. Harry Cann was the foreman in charge of the crew that cleared the densely forested land. It was well enough planned and laid out so that there were still many beautiful evergreen, maple and birch trees on the course. For several years only six holes were used.

A club was formed with each member paying one dollar! The charter members in 1934 included the following men: J.C. (Chan) Moon, Dr. Jacobson, J.F. Sullivan, I.J. Hauge, W.L. Oberg, Dr. S.L. Conley, George Baalson, O.E. Jamtaas, M.E. Anderson, Jonal Erickson, Osborne Kolden, F.L. Kolden, Teepe Tonka Lodge, Robert Baigley, Orin Wolden, Dr. J.V. Farrington, H.E. Rolfe, J.E. Johnson and Fred Magnuson.

In addition to the $1, Moon, Conley, Magnuson, Jacobson and the Blackduck State Bank chipped in $10. The Blackduck American and J.E. Johnson added $5 each.

Chan Moon (old Chan) was the first president of the club, a position he held for two years. The following year Lee Oberg was elected president. Jamtaas had held the position of secretary-treasurer since the organization of the club.

In 1938, the membership numbered 35. A family membership was $10. This was considered merely as a pledge or donation or good will gesture, as it was several years before the course was even playable. These people were determined!

In 1960, the nine-hole course was changed from sand greens to beautiful grass greens. A storage building was built to house the machinery and a large building was added for the storage of motorized carts, lockers and rest rooms.

In 1972, the original log club house was enlarged to include a carpeted dining area, which accommodated 100 people. The kitchen was enlarged and modernized, and a pro shop was built on the same level. The rest rooms were paneled and carpeted later. The formal dining room was called the fireplace room and the ladies division of the golf club purchased wicker chairs and tables with colorful orange upholstery and green traverse draperies to make an attractive seating area.

The ladies of the Blackduck Golf Club were very active, and served weekly luncheons. (Wouldn't it be great if someone wanted to make a small business of catering lunch now)? For many years the lady members put on a Sunday dinner for 60¢ per person, 30¢ for children. They and the men took turns serving breakfasts.

Many local people and summer visitors get much enjoyment from our well-groomed course. The attractive surroundings also lend themselves to the use of the facilities for reunions, receptions and anniversary parties. Once in a while a deer or two, or even a small bear might hold up a game, but that's what makes our course so endearing. Aren't we lucky to have had a few men that dared to dream!?

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