Minnesota Golfer - Summer 2020 - 18
the PEOPLE'S GAME
Getchell wrote, " Lester has played on only grass greens, forsaking
the sand greens altogether. This year the state public association
decided to have the meet at Glenwood, leaving many of the best
golfers out of the competition.
" Bolstad has fi rmly made up his mind that he will not compete.
Returning to the sand would put him off his game considerably
and might ruin his chances of retaining the national honors. "
Phalen responded by threatening to withdraw from the state
public golf association, maintaining that the state tournament
would be diminished by Bolstad's absence. In addition to that
argument, Phalen objected on fi nancial grounds. The state association
had proposed that inter-club matches be curtailed in 1927
in order to fi nance Bolstad's trip to the national tournament in
Cleveland. Inter-club events boosted the operating accounts of
the clubs hosting them, so Phalen was chagrined by the proposed
ENGER PARK, DULUTH
Minnesota Public Golf Timeline
1901: Minnesota Golf Association organized; fi rst State
Amateur Championship played in Winona.
1922: First U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship (men).
1923: Public Golf Association of Minnesota organized; fi rst
state championship played at Glenwood (now Wirth).
1926: Women's Municipal Golf Club organized, for players
from Glenwood and Columbia.
1931: U.S. Public Links Championship held at Keller Golf
Course in Maplewood.
1931: Minneapolis Tribune listed 12 courses as " suitable "
for MGA championship events. No public courses,
including Keller, were among them.
1938: First Minnesota Senior Public Links Championship,
played at Hilltop and won by Joe Bakula.
1948: First Minnesota Women's Public Golf Association
state tournament at Como, won by Lorraine McManus.
1952: Minneapolis Park Board lends " full support " to
obtaining benefi ts in MGA and MPGA for the Twin City
Golf Association, made up of African American players.
1978: First State Women's Senior Public Links
Championship, played at Como and won by Ruth Stanley.
1979: USGA opened all of its championships to public links
1997: First U.S. Amateur Women's Public Links Championships,
at Yahara Hills Golf Course, Madison, Wis. (Kathy Williams
of La Crescent, Minn., was runner-up.)
1998: Record 6,300 entries received for Men's Amateur
Public Links at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.
2014: USGA phased out both men's and women's public
2016: Minnesota Women's Golf Association and Minnesota
Women's Public Golf Association merged with MGA.
Sources: MGA, Minneapolis Star and Minneapolis Tribune
archives, Golfweek, Wikipedia.
MINNESOTAGOLFER Summer 2020
Public Links: An Agreement is Made
A special meeting of the state association was called for April 26.
Ultimately, " the dove of peace, " to use the Tribune's term, prevailed.
The association assuaged Phalen, giving the St. Paul club
an association-high seven inter-club events that season. In return,
there was agreement to send Bolstad to the 1927 U.S. Public
Links, along with the state publinks winner and runner-up.
With unity secured, the state public links championship was
held sans Bolstad. Frank Brokl of Phalen won the title match 7
and 6 over Ted Parker of Glenwood. Bolstad and Brokl were sent
to the national tournament in Cleveland, courtesy of the state
association. (Parker declined, having accepted appointment to
At the U.S. championship, Brokl shot a course-record 72 in the
fi rst round of qualifying and reached the third round of match
play before exiting. Then Bolstad's game went suddenly, horribly
awry. He shot twin 82s in qualifying and failed to advance to
match play. He could be seen sobbing in the clubhouse afterward,
the Minneapolis Tribune reported.
For Bolstad, this must have marked months' worth of apprehension
rolled into 36 holes of anguish. He had been banking on
gaining the publinks fi nal four and earning an automatic invitation
to the 1927 U.S. Amateur, to be played at The Minikahda
Club in Minneapolis. Despite his status as a national champion,
Bolstad was otherwise ineligible to enter the U.S. Am because he
was not associated with a United States Golf Association member
club. As a result, the state's second-best player based on handicap-behind
only the legendary Harrison " Jimmy " Johnston-
was effectively pastured for the U.S. Am. Bob Jones would end up
winning that event. The fi eld would include 23 Minnesotans, 22
of them from private courses.
To be fair to Bolstad, his tumultuous 1927 season barely
scratches the surface of his legacy. His resumé includes two state
public links championships, two Big Ten titles at the University
of Minnesota, two State Amateurs and four State Opens. He also
became a renowned instructor and coached the Gophers for 30
years. He was an inaugural inductee into the Minnesota Golf Hall
of Fame, and the University of Minnesota's Falcon Heights golf
Minnesota Golfer - Summer 2020
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