Cloquet Country Club turns 100
August 4, 2023
Established in 1923, the Cloquet Country Club golf course is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this summer. Festivities last weekend included special food and drink, live music, a nine-hole tournament on the original layout, kids' games and activities, and even people sporting costumes from the dated era weekend.
I delved into the history of the club for a special 20-page booklet, produced with the Pine Knot News and Northern Printery.
It all started thanks to Illinois entrepreneur Rudolf Weyerhaeuser, the son of the famous timber businessman Frederick.
Rudolf moved to Cloquet in the early 1900s and was the first president of Northwest Paper Company. He built the original "Potlatch house" on Park Avenue near the West End business district of Cloquet. He was in Cloquet for the devastating 1918 Cloquet fire but also remained here to rebuild, with a resident's determination, his home and businesses.
In the early 1920s, Weyerhaeuser contracted with White Bear Lake Yacht Club golf professional Tom Vardon to help design the new Cloquet course. Vardon was an immigrant and former professional golfer from the Channel Islands. He played in 18 Open Championships alongside his brother Harry, a six-time winner of the British Open and inventor of the Vardon overlap grip.
Well known Minnesota golf architect Joel Goldstrand would design the second nine holes, which opened in 2001. Bob Gamble, a 60-plus-year member of the club, had the honor of being the first to "officially" hit off the 10th tee. Twenty-some years later, there is very little differentiation in the quality of the turf and design of the front and back nine holes. The CCC is firmly entrenched as one of the finest 18-hole courses in northeastern Minnesota.
Many Cloquet Country Club members and guests have contributed to its longevity and success. Weyerhaeuser's original leadership set the bar high. Any entity with 100 years of history should be proud and thankful to their predecessors' wisdom and vision.
- Steve Korby