Business closeup: Midwest Golf Cars
June 5, 2020
Mark Carlson has been in the golf course business for 50 years. The past two decades, he has also owned Midwest Golf Cars, supplying golf carts to area courses, including many in Carlton County.
Growing up, Carlson played on the golf teams at Denfeld High School and University of Minnesota Duluth. After college, he became the assistant golf pro at Ridgeview Golf Course in Duluth. For the next 44 years, he was manager and golf professional at Superior's Nemadji Golf Course, a 36-hole public golf course.
"Along with course superintendent Steve Flagstad, we managed quite a large operation," Carlson said. "We had, for many years, nearly an outside event daily. Fundraisers of all sorts - that usually included dinners and on-course contests for hundreds of hungry golfers - had to be planned and organized."
Nemadji gained a reputation as a course with great greens and course conditions and a clubhouse and staff that could handle the large events. He said he had many employees who returned annually to work on the course, which made for a lot of camaraderie.
Midwest Golf Cars has been used at golf courses when they host large tournaments or other larger events. It's hard for the courses to maintain the fleet size required for the players and galleries of fans. By renting carts from Midwest, courses are able to meet demand. Between his time at Nemadji and also being a part-owner for several years of Floodwood's Retreat Golf Course, Mark completely understands the cart requirements of local golf course managers.
The commercial side of Midwest Golf Cars is also thriving.
Whether for a week or a month or a year, many companies see the advantages of leasing or buying carts to transport employees or clients at local worksites. Paper mills, big box warehouses, utilities, transportation hubs, factories, electric contractors, and construction sites are just some of the places that utilize Midwest.
It delivers new and used carts to worksites in a 100-mile radius around Duluth.
Midwest also rents carts to retirement communities, campgrounds and for special occasion events.
"For outdoor weddings, class reunions, fairs/festivals, and the like, rented carts have become a popular way to move people and guests efficiently," Carlson said.
Midwest takes pride in the quality and maintenance of their vehicles.
Carlson also is now consulting for the newly reopened Pike Lake Golf and Beach Club (formerly the Triple AAA Club). The course was closed for several years and reopened about a week ago. The new owners are remodeling the bar and dining area, have ordered a new playground, and have other big plans for the course. "It's been fun for me to assist in this project," Carlson said.