Memory Links

Took a trip down memory lane today. Or maybe I should say down memory links. Anne and I played Hiawatha Golf Course, one of the Minneapolis Park System golf courses. The Park Board recently voted to close this course due to excessive ground water pumping, which is done to keep the course from reverting to the wetland it once was. Current pumping levels are seven times the allowable limits. (The course will remain open through the 2019 golfing season.) There are some neighborhood efforts to save the golf course, but it doesn’t look promising.






This course holds a special place in my heart as I grew up a mile west of the course. It was where I first caddied at the age of ten for my father when he played in his Honeywell employee golf league. I took up the game and began playing regularly there at the age of fourteen when I joined the Central High School golf team. It was our home course, which meant we could practice there for free after school Monday through Friday in the spring and fall. I could play the course in the dark (and did a time or two – “That felt like a slice. I think I’ll walk down the right side of the fairway and hope I trip over my ball.”). The coach once had us play nine holes with the club of our choice. Only one club. I used my five iron for all shots.

When I separated from my first wife in 1983, I moved back into my parent’s house for two months. During that time I played golf with my aging father every week. I learned he actually had quite a vocabulary of cuss words that I never knew he possessed. Apparently he felt free to swear in front of me after I became an adult. I finally started beating him at the game once he reached his mid 70’s. I was able to play many more rounds with him over the next half-dozen years. My father had to give up the game due to heart problems at the age of 82. He died in the year 2000 just short of 92 years of age.

Playing the course today brought back many fond memories. I will miss it after it closes, but it will forever occupy treasured acreage in my heart.

About bwcaguy

I'm an avid runner who probably runs too much. My wife of over two decades is quite tolerant of my obsessions and has put up with me thus far. My grown daughters gave up trying to understand me long ago.
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2 Responses to Memory Links

  1. Leila McGrath says:

    Nice memory Dave, well told. I have mixed feelings about the course. Because it’s so close to the water table, it feels like it should be allowed to go back to nature. A few years back when we got so much rain, most of the course was underwater and unplayable for the rest of the summer. And yet people have so many memories. It was the first integrated course in the City of Minneapolis. It’s where Ted Cook (19th Hole BBQ) got his start. My own memory isn’t exactly golf-related, but instead winter-running. In the brutal winter of 2014 I trained for the SHT 50k, and used the creek which was frozen solid as a stand-in for trails. I ran from the falls to France Ave and back. When I got to the golf course it was nice to know I would have terra firma under me for even just a short distance.

    • bwcaguy says:

      I’m in the same boat. I love the course and appreciate a reasonably priced golf venue. Since it is an urban course, over the years it has provided an entry point to the sport for underserved communities. Not too many years ago it averaged about 40,000 rounds per year, although it has fallen off recently. On the other hand I understand the importance of good water management. Having abundant wetlands helps absorb storm water runoff and filters our sediments and pollutants. Some projections show the Twin Cities population doubling in the next 30 years. Maintaining buffer wetlands will increase in importance in the future.

      And I think you are much braver than me for running on the ice of Minnehaha Creek in the winter. I’ve canoed the length of that river many times and know there are many very fast stretches of current. Not sure I’d trust the ice hidden under deep snow. Of course that same winter I walked well out onto Lake Michigan which had substantial ice.

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