This morning’s Star Tribune featured a story about the future of the University of Minnesota Golf Course.
Indications are that the university (my alma mater) is pondering whether it should remain in the golf business.
While I certainly don’t want the golf course to go away, I can understand why the question is at least being raised. At one time — back before big high-end public courses dotted the exurbs — the U of M course was a treat to play and was one of the better public courses in the Twin Cities.
Now the ball didn’t travel as far then, the trees on the course weren’t quite as large and I wasn’t as much of a golf course snob.
Right now, the U of M course isn’t in the top 10 public courses in the Twin Cities I would consider playing if I was going to go out and spend some cash money. Actually check that, it might not even be in my top 20. Here are some courses right off the top of my head that would play first: StoneRidge, Troy Burne, Legends, Wilds, Willingers, Chaska, Keller, Rush Creek, Edinburgh, Refuge, Bunker, Baker, Braemar, Deer Run, Elk River, Loggers, Island View, New Richmond and Prestwick.
Basically, I think the U of M course is only slightly better than the Minneapolis and St. Paul municipal courses. It isn’t awful, but it isn’t special.
Am I being fair to the old Les Bolstad? Maybe, maybe not. It has certainly been a long, long time since I played there in the summer. When I’ve played there in recent years, it has been early the season before other places are open. I guess maybe I just remember too many times in the past when conditions have been average or worse and the pace of place has been glacial.
What would I like to see the U of M do? I think they should either spend the correct amount of money to do a renovation the right way or they should shut down the current version and build a really good modern public course when they develop UMore Park in the southern part of Dakota County.
What do I think they will do? I think they’ll keep operating the golf course and if they spend any money, it won’t be enough to really make a huge difference. And then they will wonder why golfers choose to play elsewhere.