Tag Archives: lost golf courses

Who was Bim, and why was he here? (It’s not a mystery.)

William Lovekin, long-deceased and itinerant Midwestern golf professional, built himself a solid résumé: accomplished player, longtime teacher and one-time (at least) course designer.

It also was said of Lovekin that he was well-schooled on golf club design. I have little doubt that’s true. In that regard, however, I would submit he can’t be considered a visionary.

Asterisk: small sample size.

The name of W.R. (William) Lovekin, better known as “Bim,”  is referenced in many old publications, and even a handful of modern ones. But the only one that I know of that reveals Lovekin’s character in any depth appeared in the May 14, 1932, edition of the Minneapolis Tribune. Keep in mind that Lovekin designed and built golf clubs with hickory shafts:

“There is a steady return to wooden-shafted irons throughout the country if Bim Lovekin, popular professional at Golden Valley, knows his clubs and golf, and he has a reputation for both,” the Tribune story began. “During the first Minneapolis league match last Wednesday at Golden Valley, Bim discoursed at length on the movement back to the hickory.

” ‘It is significant and pertinent to note that both Walter Hagen and Horton Smith have returned to wooden-shafted irons and are pushing them,’ offered Lovekin. ‘It is also to be observed that fully 60 per cent of the outstanding players throughout the country have been going the same way.

” ‘The general opinion is that irons with iron shafts were pretty much of a fad, but they have outlived much of their usefulness. …’ ”

Bim wasn’t exactly prescient on this one. Hickory-shafted irons (yes, an oxymoron, like metal woods) went the way of the horseless carriage, while steel became the shaft of choice.

The effort here is not to tarnish Bim Lovekin’s reputation, for we all have at some point supported bass-ackward notions, haven’t we? The anecdote is offered only as a small window into golf’s past.

Back to Bim Lovekin. Nine months prior, he had ventured 155 miles west of Golden Valley to Minneota, a Lyon County city of just over 900 residents, some of whom were expressing an interest in organizing a golf club and building a golf course.

Minneota Golf Club was established in late July 1931, with the Minneota Mascot reporting on July 31 of that year that the group, with Dr. R.J. Lundgren as president, was set to begin work on a 55-acre plot three miles south of downtown. The land, just west of the Hemnes church, was owned by Hans Teigland, where, according to the Mascot, “a very sporty course can be laid out there without much trouble.”

That’s where Lovekin came in. He surveyed Teigland’s property and laid out nine holes covering 2,767 yards, with a par of 35.

He also agreed with, or maybe even fostered, the Mascot’s assessment of the new golf course.

” ‘It is a mighty sporty course,’ Mr. Lovekin said, ‘and it’s one where good shots will be rewarded and bad ones penalized. There are natural hazards in abundance, and it’s a course you won’t get tired of playing.’ ”

1938 aerial photo of presumed site of Minneota Golf Club. Golf course site would have been on the left side of this photo, with County Highway 3 running north-south on the right side and the south branch of the Yellow Medicine River farther right (east). Best guess is that routings of many holes roughly followed the ravine that ran through the course. University of Minnesota John Borchert Map Library photo.

Current photo, with Minneota at top and approximate area of golf course in maroon rectangle. (USGS)

It’s worth noting that Lovekin likely had a handle on what constituted a good golf course. He had played around the Midwest, and the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club that employed him had its course designed by famed course architect A.W. Tillinghast.

The first tee at Minneota Golf Club was at the southeastern edge of the course, where players embarked on a 452-yard par 5. The course also included six par 4s, ranging in length from 285 to 440 yards, and two par 3s of 150 and 155 yards.

The course featured willow trees, hills and four crossings of a ravine. Three of the holes were doglegs. “Those who traversed the course predict that a lot of balls are likely to be lost through the fence when short-cuts are attempted,” the Mascot reported.

Charter members of Minneota Golf Club paid dues of $10. The Mascot reported by way of comparison that Lovekin’s Golden Valley club charged dues of $110 and an annual membership fee of $400.

At Minneota Golf Club’s outset, no greens fees were charged. “Expenses are being kept to the minimum in launching the course here,” the Mascot reported, “and the intention is that people who have not played golf before be given an opportunity to do so at no cost whatever in order to stimulate interest in the game. An ideal course can be arranged within the next few years, but for a ‘starter’ only the simplest of preparations will be under taken.”

Minneota Golf Club did not last forever. My best guess is that, like three other lost courses in Lyon County — at Russell, Cottonwood and Tracy — it was abandoned by the early 1940s, which would match the timeline for many other lost courses in southwestern Minnesota. A 1932 Minneapolis Tribune ad from Minneota GC solicited purchase of a mower. An April 1936 entry in the Minneota Mascot referenced the club, with Dr. C.E. Eastwood as president and Carl Strand as secretary. I found no later references to the club. Golf in Minneota reappeared in 1964 with the opening of Countryside Golf Club, on the western edge of the city.

More of Lovekin’s story deserves to be told. The native Scotsman’s bio included stops at no fewer than eight clubs: Rockford, Ill. (1906), Woodmont of Milwaukee (1907-14), Fox River of Green Bay, Wis. (1921-26), Ozaukee of Milwaukee (1925), Golden Valley (1928-36), Montevideo (1937-38), New Ulm (1939) and Worthington, where he was employed until his death in 1952.

Lovekin had the unusual distinction of playing in two U.S. Opens 24 years apart — in 1906 and 1930 — and won the 1922 Wisconsin State Open. A 1972 column in the Argus-Leader of Sioux Falls, S.D., reported that Lovekin had been among the professionals at Worthington who had worked with an up-and-coming player named Joel Goldstrand, who would matriculate to the University of Houston, then the PGA Tour, then a career as Minnesota’s most prolific golf course designer, with around 50 courses to his credit, most of them in Minnesota.

Lovekin, meanwhile, was credited with having designed 18 other courses as of the 1931 Mascot story. I haven’t run across any other mentions of courses he designed, but regardless, he did leave a mark on the state’s golf history.


Albert Lea, Part II: A little recreation, a little history

George Klukow and Oliver Flesche had the right idea, if you ask me.

In early 1930, Klukow and Flesche launched a golf course just north and west of the Albert Lea city limits, about a mile north of the since-closed Albert Lea Country Club. Their intent seemed clear, reading between the lines of an Albert Lea Tribune story from May 14, 1931.

“This is the kind of course that the city has needed for some time,” read one sentence in the Tribune.

In other words, the kind of course that everyone could play. A public course.

Until 1931, Albert Lea’s only golf courses (yes, I wrote courses, plural, and I’ll get to that) had been private, with Albert Lea CC standing prominently in southeastern Minnesota. But as it was with most country clubs, membership there was an impossible financial reach for the Toms, Dicks and Olavs of the day.

That’s why I liked Klukow and Flesche’s idea — make golf available to everyone in Albert Lea. Their 1931 creation likely was one of the first three or four daily-fee golf courses in southeastern Minnesota.

To boot, they had another excellent idea in naming for the course. Perhaps in looking to appeal to a less formal side of the game, Klukow and Flesche chose a name devoid of pretense.

“Recreation Golf Course Open to Public Tomorrow,” read a headline in the May 2, 1931, Albert Lea Tribune.

“Yielding to the increased demand of players the Recreation golf links will be open to the public tomorrow,” the story began. More details followed: the course would be open to the public, would consist of nine holes, and a few temporary tees would be employed until new ones could be grown in.

“The course is large, having a yardage of 3,165 and par on the course is 36,” the story continued. “The rolling ground adds to the attractiveness of the course.”

The May 14 Tribune story added more. The course would have sand greens, at least to start (that was the norm for Minnesota’s public courses of that era). There would be one par 5, of 475 yards, and one par 3, of 181 yards. There would be “a few natural hazards and one or two constructed traps.”

“Too much cannot be expected the first year as it takes nearly five years to make a good course.”

Klukow and Flesche retained Jack Gallett, who had been hired earlier in the year to become Albert Lea Country Club’s professional, to design the course. The grounds were situated “north of the Wedge Seeds warehouse,” the Tribune reported.

Grounds of Albert Lea’s Recreation Golf Course, 1931-circa early 1940s. In current parameters, the course was bounded by 225th Street on the south, Richway Drive/740th Avenue on the east and Bluegrass Road on the west, with the northern edge stretching not quite up to what is now Interstate 90. (John Borchert Map Library aerial photo)

Klukow and Flesche’s creation lasted only about a decade and met a fate similar to that of many comparable courses. Longtime Albert Lea resident Andy Dyrdal recalled in a telephone conversation with me that he had played the Recreation course long ago, and he was paraphrased in a 2013 Albert Lea Tribune as saying, “With many young men gone during World War II, it was plowed under to become farmland.”


Before the Recreation course, there was Albert Lea Country Club, established almost two decades earlier, in 1912.

Albert Lea CC was a golf course of historical standing in Minnesota. It was one of the first 20 courses in the state, according to records I am keeping. (They aren’t “official” records, I suppose, but I’ll be honest: I doubt anyone has a more accurate list. If so, kudos.)

But Albert Lea Country Club wasn’t even the first course in town. What was?

Hint-hint, read the March 10, 1904, edition of the Albert Lea Tribune.

“A golf club meeting will be held at the Elk club rooms Tuesday, March 15 … for investigating as to sentiment, opportunities and organization.”

In other words, Albert Lea, polish up those spoons. And not the ones in your silverware drawers, either.

The aforementioned meeting was “quite well attended,” the Tribune reported on March 16. C.D. Cowgill, who judging by records was an executive with Western Grocer Co., was appointed president. A committee was established to “look up grounds.” It was estimated it would take $500 to establish and maintain grounds in the club’s first year, and the club was seeking a membership of 50 at $15 each, or $5 each for “ladies.”

None of which was proof that a pre-Country Club golf course actually existed in Albert Lea. A Tribune story from one year later, however, clears up the matter, at least in my mind.

“The Albert Lea Golf Club has held its annual meeting,” the Tribune reported on March 6, 1905. “The club has arranged to enlarge the grounds by using the land west of the ball park.”

A Minneapolis Journal story the next week, presumably a summation of the Albert Lea Tribune story, reported that W.A. Morin was the club’s new president. William Albert Morin owned many large tracts of land in and around Albert Lea at the turn of the 20th century; he also helped bring the Illinois Central railway into town.

As for location of the Albert Lea Golf Club grounds, determining the site of “the ball park” is vital. Searches through newspapers showed that Albert Lea’s baseball stadium changed places multiple times through the 1890s and early 1900s. In 1900, however, a new ballpark opened on West Clark Street, west of downtown, apparently near the city’s rail yard. Best guess on the site of Albert Lea’s first golf course, then, is that it was just northwest of what is now the intersection of Clark Street and Minnesota Highway 13.

I don’t know that for sure. Nor do I know how long Albert Lea Golf Club lasted. Skimming in two sessions a multitude of late spring-early summer editions of the Tribune from that era revealed no mentions of local golf, even through 1911, the year before Albert Lea Country Club was established, and it is at this point that I must apologize. My appetite for researching was diminished shortly after I came across an advertisement, the likes of which was common from that era in newspapering, that began:

“Educate Your Bowels.”

Photo at top of post by Peter Wong.

Albert Lea, Part I: Back to the ’50s, and a naked truth

A couple of nuggets of Minnesota golf history:

Albert Lea was one of Minnesota’s first cities with a golf course.

Albert Lea Country Club was established in 1912.

Careful. Don’t link those two sentences too closely together. You could be jumping to a conclusion.

If you read carefully, you’ll note that I never wrote that golf in Albert Lea started in 1912. Because it didn’t. But that’s another matter for another day. I will explain — just not now.

Regardless of its status in city golf history, Albert Lea Country Club, born 1912 passed away 2006, holds a position of prominence as a pioneering Minnesota golf course. It ranks roughly among the first 20 to 25 organized sites in the state upon which were struck glorious drives and fat approach shots. In southeastern Minnesota, only Winona, Rochester and Faribault had golf courses before Albert Lea Country Club opened for business, pre-World War I, in a clubhouse that was a converted horse barn.

Albert Lea Country Club, postcard dated 1954. The green to the right of the clubhouse was No. 6. Property of Joe Bissen.

Albert Lea Country Club survived — nay (misspelled and probably misguided horse barn reference there), thrived — through 95 years. Its shortstop was long one of southern Minnesota’s prime tournaments, at one time attracting fields approaching 200 players. (One notable winner was 1957 champion John Eymann of Forest City, Iowa, who golfed cross-handed.)

And like any golf course worth its weight in either gold or just plain auld sod, Albert Lea Country Club created memories.

Most of the posts on this web site revolve around golf courses that were abandoned in the first half of the 20th century. It is admittedly biased reporting — I prefer to focus on lesser-known clubs and courses from long ago, those that vanished because of tolls taken by the Great Depression and the advent of World War II.

The 1950s? Hardly a notable era in terms of shuttered Minnesota golf courses. But that isn’t to say there aren’t tales to tell.

“One of the things about the 1950s is that you didn’t need a whole lot of money to play golf,” Dex Westrum, who spent much of his youth on the grounds of Albert Lea Country Club, said in a recent phone interview. “Guys were playing in Army fatigues and white T-shirts. For people that were just hackers, they could buy five irons, two woods, a putter and a cheap 50 cent golf ball and have a wonderful time. Now they’ve got to spend thousands of dollars.”

Westrum is a retired college professor who lives in South Milwaukee, Wis., and is the son of the late Lyle Westrum. The latter was the professional at Albert Lea Country Club for a short time in the 1950s after having caddied there in the 1930s, going off to World War II, then returning after the war and turning professional upon finishing second in the Albert Lea shortstop. Lyle Westrum, his son noted, also had been a prominent Albert Lea hockey player and all-conference fullback in football.

Young Dexter Westrum followed his father onto the golf course in the 1950s. Among his memories of Albert Lea Country Club:

“After the war, there was a great interest in golf,” Dex Westrum said, “and a lot of women, if they wanted to spend time with their husbands, they took lessons. He (Lyle Westrum) had 12 to 15 lessons a day, and most if not all of them were to women. Men would prefer to do it their way.”

Albert Lea CC’s many sand bunkers presented hazards for its golfers. The driving range presented a hazard for young Dex.

“Lesson balls had to be shagged, and I was elected to stand in the practice fairway collecting balls in a shag bag while the people took aim at me,” Westrum says in reading from a passage he penned for “Minnesota Memories 2,” written and compiled by Joan Claire Graham. “Once in a while I would lose sight of a ball in the sun and get hit. But fortunately, most people couldn’t hit the ball straight until the lesson was over.

“I received 40 cents for a half-hour lesson, which resulted in quite a sum by the end of the day. I immediately spent half of my earnings at the Ben Franklin store on new comic books. I eventually had more than 300 comics, which my mother threw away shortly after I left (Albert Lea).  …”

Westrum recalled a relaxed atmosphere surrounding golf in the 1950s, with ladies days on Tuesdays and Wednesday men’s days including steak dinners after a round of golf.

Another notable experience took place every year on the Albert Lea CC grounds.

“The highlight every summer was the Fourth of July, because the country club was where the fireworks were shot off,” Westrum said in reading from “Minnesota Memories 2.” “The whole town turned out, cars lining up on old Highway 13 along No. 3 and the driveway along No. 4. People sat elbow to elbow along No. 7 hill. …

“Best of all, there was free ice cream for all the kids. … It was rich and it was cold, and one dip was plenty. In the morning, caddies would find cardboard remnants of the fireworks. Sometimes they found them in the bushes by the clubhouse. One year, there was a bunch of stuff on the clubhouse roof.”

Dare it be said that one of Westrum’s ALCC memories tops all others.

“The Edgewater (Cottage) was so close to No. 7, it provided my father with a challenge on the morning after the high school prom in 1961,” Westrum wrote for the memories book. “He went to take the dew off the greens so they could be mowed when he discovered two naked teenage lovers on the green. Fortunately, he was more than a hundred yards away when he saw them. He didn’t want to embarrass them or himself, so he went back to the pro shop, picked up his wedge and practice ball bag and returned to hit balls at them from a safe distance until they woke up and ran on.”

Albert Lea Country Club fostered some excellent players in those days. The 1952 Albert Lea High team won the state championship (as did the 1982 team). Individual state champions from Albert Lea included Clayton “Bumper” Westrum (Dex’s uncle, 1950 and ’52, and later the designer of the Northern Hills course in Rochester),  Craig Clauson (1954), Dex’s teammate Dick Jones (1962), Mark Knutson (1973) and Chad Adams (1989). On the girls side, Donna Boom won a state title in 1994.

The old Albert Lea Country Club course required shotmaking. Dex Westrum relates a memory from the shortstop:

“Neil Croonquist (former University of Minnesota standout and two-time State Amateur champion) and some of the other guys who were playing decent amateur golf in the Twin Cities, they came down and they did not tear that Country Club course apart,” Westrum said in the phone interview. “It wasn’t long, but it was really hilly and had very small greens. You miss the hole by 30 feet in Minneapolis, you got a 30-foot putt. You miss the hole by 30 feet in Albert Lea and you’re in the trap.”

One year, Westrum said, “Neil Croonquist was medalist with 69; nobody else broke par. … Bud Chapman … a hell of a good player. He came down to the Albert Lea shortstop, and he qualified for the fifth flight. That was the year the wind blew and it took something like 83 or 82 to make the championship flight. He came back the next year and won the tournament to distinguish himself, and he never came back.”

The Albert Lea HS team that Westrum played on as a junior and senior featured Jones and four others who could break 40 for nine holes, he said. “So we were a formidable lot. In fact, I don’t think we ever lost a home match. … Teams would come and play us, and they just couldn’t handle the uneven lies. There were hardly any holes where you were going to hit off a flat surface.”

Dex Westrum shows fine form in playing a shot from one of the “yawning traps,” as he referred to them, as a youth at Albert Lea Country Club. The bunker was on No. 6; the shot was observed by Dick Davies Jr., and Westrum says it finished within a foot of the hole. (Photo courtesy Dex Westrum)

Westrum went off to college, then to a teaching career that covered 50 years, 10 schools and five states. His final memory of Albert Lea Country Club comes from the pages of “Minnesota Memories 2”:

“On my first visit back to Albert Lea Country Club after I heard the course was going to be destroyed, I took my 7-year-old son … for a walk on the old holes 7, 8 and 9. Stakes all over the landscape marked what I assumed were planned housing sites. This is where I was  a little boy and where I was a high school kid.

“I tried to explain what the holes looked like in the 1950s and 1960s and that the course had been one of the most distinctive nine-hole layouts in Minnesota. It had small greens, narrow fairways and sand traps you could get lost in.

“I never saw the additional nine or played another version of the course after the final high school meet of the 1963 season against Red Wing.”

Next: Two other lost courses in Albert Lea, including the very first.



Photos: Northwood Country Club, North St. Paul

In October, the North St. Paul Historical Society hosted a presentation on Northwood Country Club in North St. Paul.

Actually, the presentation was on both Northwood Country Clubs: first, the Northwood familiar to longtime area residents as the restaurant and supper club owned and managed by John Heimel, and second, the Northwood familiar to some Minnesota golf history buffs who recognize it as the first Jewish golf club in Minnesota, established in 1915 and abandoned as a golf course in the mid-1940s, probably 1946, with a portion of the membership moving a mile to the southeast and buying Hillcrest Golf Club (also now a lost course, as of fall 2017).

I was not able to attend the presentation but was forwarded a few photos displayed there. They are posted below, courtesy of and thanks to Dan Goodenough, Tony Ducklow and the North St. Paul Historical Society. Click on any of the photos for larger views.

Northwood green, circa 1910s, with Clarence Johnston-designed clubhouse and caddie building in background.

Northwood Country Club (the supper club) burned to the ground on June 1, 1976, never to reopen. From “ForeGoneGolf.com”: “… its address is now occupied by by two homes on a knoll on Northwood Drive. The last-known standing relic from the golf course was its caddie house, which stood in what is now Northwood Park. The caddie house was moved to Colby Hills Park, at the southwest edge of North St. Paul, before being razed in 2009.”

Midway Golf Links, Ivanhoe: Barbed wire and all

Golf course maintenance isn’t rocket science. But it’s close.

Consider a recent story in the magazine Golf Course Management, titled:

“Antimicrobial options for reducing bacterial etiolation on putting greens.”

OK. Sure. Huh?

Then consider golf course maintenance in, let’s say, 1935, when it went like this:

“I remember the dandelions. They took two cars and put barbed wire between them and they’d get the dandelions off, usually on Sundays or before tournaments.”

OK. Sure. Whatever works.

The dandelion — or should it be damned-delion? — quote is offered by Muriel Widmark Dorn of Ivanhoe, a small town in southwestern Minnesota that once was but no longer is home to a nine-hole golf course. The course, named Midway Golf Links, is No. 157 on the ever-growing list of Minnesota’s lost golf courses.

Muriel Widmark Dorn has to be one of the few people alive who remembers Midway, which disappeared from the Lincoln County landscape in the early 1940s. She doesn’t have extensive memories of the golf course, but at age 96 — soon to be 97, she points out — those she does have are salient, maybe in part because Midway Golf Links was family.

Midway, technically not situated within the Ivanhoe city limits but on farmland 4.5 miles west of downtown, was founded in 1933 by Widmark Dorn’s uncle Cliff.

“It was kind of hard — one hill to the next,” Dorn says of the course. On one hole, she recalls, “You had a pond to hit over, so we used to find a lot of golf balls in there.”

Dorn’s other memories of Midway Golf Links include: The course had sand greens. There was a canteen on top of a hill where refreshments — pop and candy — were sold. She passed the course on her 2.5-mile walk home from the district school and often stopped to play nine holes. Golfers played Midway with wooden-shafted clubs. And Cliff Widmark, she recalls, was not an avid golfer when he founded the course but began playing more at that point.

Muriel Widmark Dorn’s first-hand memories of Midway Golf Links are augmented by written history.

“NEW GOLF LINKS WILL BE OPENED SUNDAY, MAY 7th,” read a headline in the May 5, 1933, Ivanhoe Times. The story noted Clifford Widmark’s status as founder of Midway Golf Links and that “local golf bugs are looking forward with interest to this occasion.”

Why the Midway name?

“The links are located at an advantageous point both to Ivanhoe and Hendricks, being five miles west of the former and seven miles southeast of the latter,” the Times reported.

This made good business sense for Widmark. Though golf courses dotted the southwestern Minnesota prairie in the 1920s and ’30s, it’s debatable as to whether Ivanhoe, population 556 in 1930 (and 559 in 2010), or Hendricks, population 702 in 1930 (and 713 in 2010), could have supported a golf course on its own.

Site of Midway Golf Links, more or less midway between Ivanhoe and Hendricks, is represented by red rectangle. Ivanhoe, seat of Lincoln County, is near the right edge of the aerial photo, Hendricks, near the South Dakota border, is near the left edge. John Borchert University of Minnesota Map Library photo.

Also making good business sense for Cliff Widmark: his choice of consulting service.

“Before making preparations to begin work on the ground,” the Times reported, “Mr. Widmark engaged the services of Mr. Brokel, a golf pro of the cities, who visited the premises and gave assurance that they could be developed into a fine course. This gentleman platted the course and laid out the suitable location of nine holes, together with giving information as to how the greens should be built.”

“Brokel” was Frank Brokl of Minneapolis, a state champion golfer in the late 1920s and a notable name in the development of small-town golf in Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. Among Brokl’s other designs was the now-lost course in Lake Benton.

The Ivanhoe Times’ report on Midway’s founding also noted that the greens were 40 feet in diameter (“larger than the average,” the newspaper said); that the course was 2,570 yards long and played to a par of 34, with no par-5s and a shortest hole of 157 and a longest of 365; and that power mowers would be employed to trim the fairways. (That having been written, I have no doubt that Muriel Widmark’s barbed-wire-trimmer recollection also is accurate.)

Midway Golf Links grounds, west of Ivanhoe, Minn., 1938 aerial map from University of Minnesota’s John Borchert Map Library. The golf course grounds are in the bottom-center portion of the photo. The east-west road is Minnesota Highway 19.

The Times also reported that tournaments would be played at Midway. In 1936, the newspaper reported on an 18-hole team match between Ivanhoe and Marshall golfers. Ivanhoe won the match 655-700, with D.H. Wilson of Marshall recording a low score of 72. For Ivanhoe, M.J. Grodzick and Floyd Muchlinski both shot 76.

Another Ivanhoe Times story reported on a meeting between Widmark and club members over an apparent predicament concerning course condition and flagging patronage. It was reported that 30 members would be needed in order for Midway to continue operating.

On April 18, 1937, the Minneapolis Tribune ran a one-paragraph story headlined “Golf Club Changes Hands.” Datelined Ivanhoe, Minn., the story read, “The Ivanhoe Golf club has decided to take over the Midway golf course, owned by Clifford Widmark, during the coming season. Leo Kruse has been placed in charge of the links.”

Midway Golf Links lasted only a few more years, and issues persisted.

A July 26, 1940, a front-page story in the Ivanhoe Times reported on an impending tournament at Midway. “Reports are that the Ivanhoe course is minus dandelions, overgrown rough, filled sloughs and long-haired fairways. The greens, authentic sources stated, have been relieved of boulders dangerous to good putting.

“Preparations have been made for a large attendance … for gosh don’t disappoint ’em!”

In 2012, the Ivanhoe Times reprinted a story from its April 25, 1941, issue titled “Midway Golf Links will open for 1941 season.”

“It’ll be another season of picking stray golf balls out of neighboring grain and alfalfa fields for local golfers,” the Times had reported. “Another year’s rental has been agreed upon and the Midway Links will again be there this season for those late evening and Sunday sessions.”

The Times indicated that membership was only about 20. “All that remains now is a couple sanding bees to put the greens in shape and a prayer to keep the mowers together. … Next call will be for volunteer workers to sand the greens, pull a few weeds and put kinks in the back muscles. Then its (sic) time for that annual battle for par.”

My best guess is that 1941 was Midway Golf Links’ final season. I could find no further reporting on the course in subsequent years’ issues of the Ivanhoe Times, and with the onset of U.S. involvement in World War II in December 1941, it seems highly likely that area residents turned their attention and service to war efforts and that the course was abandoned.

Muriel Widmark Dorn, however, continued with the game. Though she is no longer an active golfer, she did play for years at Hendricks Golf Club, established in 1969, and proudly reports that a few years ago, she played there in a foursome in which all four women were in their 90s.