Minnesota Golfer - Summer 2010 - 22
Club. By the early 1960s-perhaps as early
as 1962-the golf course was gone.
In its place now are homes, the WestAmong
the other Twin Cities lost courses
(courses of " regulation " length only, and
closed before 2000):
s Antlers Park Golf Links: Located in the
northern part of Lakeville, on the old Lyndale
Avenue Highway. Owned by George O'Rourke,
it appears to have been part of Antlers Park
Amusement Park, a large and
Lake until its
decline in the
s Hilltop Public
Golf Links: an
hosted several state championships in the
1930s. Established in 1921, it went to seed
during World War II, was briefl y revived in
1945 and was sold for redevelopment in
1946. Part of the course wrapped around the
Minneapolis Reservoir; the old 14th tee is
now the grounds of Columbia Heights High
School, and the old 18th tee is the site of the
Columbia Heights water tower.
s Lost Spring: A St. Paul course, perhaps
closed in 1961.
s Matoska Country Club: Located in Gem
Lake, it opened in 1923 and was designed
by Tom Vardon. It had changed its name to
Gem Lake Golf Course by 1938 and failed
shortly afterward. Not to be confused with
the current Gem Lake Hills Golf Course,
which is located only about a quarter-mile
north of the old Matoska grounds.
s Merriam Park Club: A St. Paul venue that
was organized in 1900, opened in 1902 and
closed in 1906. A founding club of the MGA.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM MCNULTY AND THE ST. LOUIS PARK HISTORICAL SOCIETY
wood Hills Nature Center and St. Louis
Park Junior High School.
But more than memories of Westwood
Hills GC remain.
" If you go into some of the back yards of
those homes, " says Dale Caldwell, greens
superintendent at Minneapolis GC and
an authority on Minnesota golf history,
" there is a tee complex there now-a little
mound and a tee area. "
Lying in repose on the south side of North
St. Paul is a prototypical " lost " course-
prototypical because any modern reconstruction
of the place is so piecemeal.
What we don't know about Northwood
Golf Course: how many holes
were in play (one authority says 18, another
nine), the approximate yardage
or when the club was established (possibly
1915 or 1916).
What we think we know: that the club
was private, populated by the Jewish community,
and that when it closed in the
mid-1940s, many of its members migrated
to St. Paul's Hillcrest Country Club.
What we're darn sure we know (courtesy
of Mrs. Harry Lyon, curator of the North
St. Paul Historical Society): the club's exact
location (the 2700 block of Skillman
Avenue East, now a residential and park
area); that it could be reached via alternative
transportation ( " My husband remembers
an airplane landing on the golf course
when he was in grade school, " she says);
that after the course closed, its clubhouse
became the Northwood Supper Club,
which burned down in the mid-1950s; and
that the last standing relic of the club, its
caddie house, became a longtime shelter at
Colby Hills Park in North St. Paul before
being razed last fall.
They paved paradise in Richfi eld, too.
Man, did they ever.
Honestly, though, the emphasis here
should be placed on paved, not paradise.
Rich Acres Golf Course never was a
threat to win any course-design awards,
unless there is some distinction for Top
10 Flattest Courses You Can Play. But the
course was sporty, it was easily accessible
at Cedar Avenue and Minnesota 62 (the
Crosstown Highway), and it had a certain
charm to those who frequented it.
" It was a nice course. Nice and walkable.
Through the years it got better; it
was improved, " says Eileen Nelson of Minneapolis,
who played Rich Acres for close
to a decade.
Ditto, says Jerry Vick of Bloomington,
who founded a singles league at Rich Acres
that Nelson also played in. " When it fi rst
started out it was like playing in the desert.
There were hardly any trees out there. But
they did spruce it up, " Vick says. " It was a
very nice golf course and a lot of us hated
to see it go, but that's progress. "
" Progress " in this case took a highly,
well, concrete form. In the spring of 2000,
Rich Acres, which occupied land leased to
MINNESOTAGOLFER Summer 2010
Minnesota Golfer - Summer 2010
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Minnesota Golfer - Summer 2010
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