Korby's Connections: Rosen clan has deep roots at golf club


August 4, 2023

Contributed photo

The living Rosen siblings and extended family gathered at the Cloquet Country Club near the 18th tee, including Mark, Mike, Tim, Shelly, John, Steve and Dan Rosen. They are gathered around a bench dedicated to their late brother Tommy.

Few Cloquet Country Club families have been more intimately involved with club activities and programs over the century than the Rosen family. The Rosen siblings held a family reunion last weekend to coincide with the club's 100-year celebration.

Bob and Aletha were their parents. They were both from the little town of Perham but did not meet until they were both at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in North Chicago during World War II. They got married and moved to Cloquet after Bob graduated from the University of Minnesota with an electrical engineering degree. Bob interviewed with general manager Al Spafford, and was hired at the Wood Conversion Company (later Conwed and now USG). Bob and Aletha raised 10 children, Mark, Steve, twins Dave and Dan, Mike, Tim, Becky, Tom, Shelley and John.

"I know it doesn't seem possible," said Mike, aka "Beatsie," before last weekend's gathering, "but I have been a caddy, a golfer, an employee, a club president, and a club champion during 60 of those years. Should be a fun weekend." Other than Mike and Jimmy Stafford, Mike and his dad Bob are the only father-son club presidents.

Living a block away from the Cloquet course had its advantages. All 12 of them golfed.

"My dad used to say having a family membership for $125 annually was the cheapest daycare anywhere," Dan said.

All the kids except for Becky golfed on Cloquet High School teams. Shelly, Mark and Mike qualified for the state tournament, with Mark taking third at a very young age. Dave and Mike owned and operated the Cloquet Pro Shop in 1975. Dave, with four wins, holds the family record of club championships, with Mike and Dan both having one. Dan qualified for the Minnesota state amateur tourney years ago. Many Rosens, including Tim, won area youth tournaments, placed high in the Cloquet Invitational, and made the Rosen name synonymous with Cloquet golf.

The Rosens made use of the course year-round. There were many neighborhood touch football games on the end of the practice fairway in the fall and early winter. Under the right conditions, they skated and played hockey on the Hole 8 pond. Some family members cross-country skied, and the very adventurous took to a toboggan on the No. 5 hill. All the Rosens are Vikings, Twins and Gopher fans, anything to do with Minnesota sports.

Mike said one of the biggest changes since he was growing up 60 years ago is the use of riding carts. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were only four Cloquet players with private riding carts: Emil Hallback, Claire Hendrickson, Gene Lavan and Ted Brenny. Players walked, carried their bags, pushed pull carts or hired caddies. Now, most golfers ride carts.

"Harry Newby was the best caddy instructor," Mike said. "He'd tell you the best position to be in, etiquette, and proper caddy technique. Neighborhood kids would also look for golf balls and then sell them. With a quarter you could get a Mission grape or orange pop, bottled on 10th Street in Cloquet, for a dime and also a 15-cent candy bar."

Another big change Mike sees is with the former Cloquet mill's basic ownership of the club.

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"If there was a deficit at the end of the year, Northwest Paper made it up. The mill managers requested the clubhouse stay open year-round so they could host clients and guests for lunch. They even had holiday parties. It kept many cooks, servers, and bartenders employed in the off season. The superintendent and others worked at the mill in the winter. Repairs or parts for equipment were supplied by the mills. Water for the course in the summer was pumped by a pipeline from USG. Now, the course has its own well. I think the transition, where the mills gave up ownership, happened in 1972. It was a big change."

The Rosens had a golfing team in the nine-hole scramble, part of the anniversary events. All seven of the surviving siblings returned. All can be proud for contributing to the club history and legacy.

Steve Korby's interest in writing goes back to when he was in fourth grade and editor of the Scan-Satellite school newspaper in Scanlon. He welcomes ideas for stories and tales regarding Carlton County residents, projects, history, and plans c/o news@PineKnot News.com.


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