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Golf season winds down

With the turning of the leaves and calendar to September, many golf aficionados start planning where to store their clubs for the winter season. But a group of seniors maximize the remaining daylight and try to prolong the golf schedule with a condensed tournament that features six local course sites played over four days.

The annual event, founded by the late Lee Samuelson of Lee’s Pro Shop in Pine City, has a maximum — and it is always full — of 18 foursomes playing in a four-person-team scramble. This year’s tourney started on Sept. 8 at Proctor Golf Club with nine holes of play in the morning and moved to Grandview Golf Club on Midway Road for the afternoon and second nine holes. The next day featured nine holes at the Pine Hill Golf Club in Carlton followed by Rugged Spruce Golf Club in Mahtowa for lunch and nine more holes.

On Sept.10, all 72 golfers played 18 holes at the beautiful Moose Lake Golf Club, and on Sept. 13, they played 18 holes at the Retreat Golf Club in Floodwood. A total of 72 holes for seniors (over age 50) over four days.

Teams are composed of men and women, mostly retirees, from Pine City, Moose Lake, Cromwell, Brookston, The Lost Tavern in Scanlon, Mahtowa, Esko, Carlton, Sawyer, Floodwood, Cloquet, Proctor, and Twig, near Duluth.

Players get to meet many others in “the field” and also get acquainted with new friends and golf advocates. There are a lot of smiling faces; it doesn’t take long, with golf, to get familiar and comfortable.

It’s a great way to close out the fading season.

Personal reviews

I couldn’t resist a few comments and, as a participant, observations of these local host tourney courses.

Proctor Golf Club: Established in 1927, this is undoubtedly the only golf course in America with a full -ize train and Air Force fighter jet on its property. Considering the drought of 2021, the course was in great shape. Greens putted true. A very walkable course.

Grandview Golf Club: Spectacular view from the eighth- and ninth-hole tees overlooking the valley behind Spirit Mountain. New hole No. 1 is a challenging, stiff dogleg, par 4. Course is showing steady major investments, improvements, and playability. Very nice greens.

Pine Hill Golf Club (Carlton): The greens were perfect. Per owner Jim Barry, “Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect businesswise in 2021 with Black Bear and Big Lake reopening after being shut down for the pandemic … and we’ve had a record year.” Course easily handled 72 golf tourney participants.

Rugged Spruce Golf Club (Mahtowa): New owners Jim and Colleen Myhre couldn’t be more pleased with 2021 course and clubhouse business. Their new outdoor patio, attached to the clubhouse, was perfect for serving food and seating for 72 hungry and thirsty golfers. Course in overall great shape.

Moose Lake Golf Club: Tracing its roots to 1929, this course overlooking Sand Lake was plush and beautiful. With an expansive clubhouse, there was plenty of room to serve 72 golfers lunch and beverages. Marina attached to the clubhouse is an impressive feature.

The Retreat Golf Club (Floodwood/Gowan): Owner Dan Donofrio said 2021 business has been great, even surpassing 2020. Recent rains have made already nice greens simply perfect. The nine-hole layout has some unique holes with two challenging par threes.

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