The lost golf course book, and more

Website and blog by Joe Bissen, author of the book “Fore! Gone. Minnesota’s Lost Golf Courses, 1897-1999.” My book brings to life many of the 100-plus golf courses that have disappeared from the state’s landscape. Featuring photos by Peter Wong, Minnesota’s premier golf photographer.

Come back for more news about the book, tidbits about Minnesota’s lost golf courses, miscellany and oh, I don’t know, ruminations about the uncanny similarity between Jason Dufner’s apparent exercise regimen and mine.

17 thoughts on “The lost golf course book, and more

  1. Joe:

    How and or where can I buy the book? I reside in Kentucky however, I grew up in Duluth…about 500 yds over the hill from Enger Park.
    Thank you,
    Mike Peterson

    1. Mike, thanks for the inquiry. I spent 15 years in Duluth, and Enger Park was my old stomping grounds. I miss the place.
      I hope to have the book in print by November or early December. I’m guessing there will be information on pre-ordering within about a month.
      However, there is a way to essentially pre-order the book at a slight discount. I have a fundraising campaign going on, with various pledge levels offering various rewards. The pledge commitment doesn’t go into effect unless and until I reach my fundraising goal.
      There is info elsewhere on this blog to get you to the Kickstarter site, or go here:

  2. My brother bought this for my mom as a Christmas gift. I can’t wait to see it. I, along with my brother, and many high school friends worked at Joyners Brooklyn Park Golf in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Mr. and Mrs. Joyner were great people to work for. I am sure you captured the essence of Mr. Joyner and the course in the chapter on him. Not many high school kids can say they worked the concessions, “pro shop,” tee times, mowed the greens, managed the range, gave lessons, handled irrigation, and chased trespassers off the property in a circa 1970’s Cushman all within the same week of work.

  3. Joe, I just purchased your book for my husband. I’m trying not to read it too much before I give it to him. I checked whether our library was carrying your book and typed Fore! into the search box. It returned “Fore!” which was printed by Augsburg Publishing House in 1929. It’s 82 sketches of Minneapolis golfers — a lot of them from Minikahda and Interlachen. Have you seen it? It’s at the Minneapolis Public Library.

    1. Thanks for buying the book. I hope your husband enjoys it. (You could always buy a second book for yourself — OK, probably not practical.)
      Interesting note on the old Minneapolis golf book. I hadn’t heard of it; I’ll have to check it out. The Minikahda-Interlachen connection is worth checking into, because some of the members pictured in the book likely matriculated from Bryn Mawr, which is a chapter in the book.

  4. Dear Joe,

    Thanks for the great book. I learned to play golf in the early 1970s at Orono Golf and the Warroad golf course to which you refer near the end of your book.

    The Warroad course was 9 holes and, as you point out, had sand greens. Each green had a lead-pipe rake to smooth the sand. There was no clubhouse or building of any kind; instead, there was a post between the parking lot and first hole that had a sign attached with the course rules and in big letters FEED THE PIPE. There was a slot in a cover on the top of the post into which you could shove your greens fees. The course was abandoned when Warroad Estates Golf Course opened.

  5. Joe-

    Book has been ordered through Amazon and 5 Star Sales. Looking forward to the Winona section. Thanks again for your help with the hole in one also.

    Jim Januschka

  6. Hi Joe- I live on the former Westwood Hills GC grounds. Received your book for Christmas and have really enjoyed the chapter on my neighborhood and other former MN golf courses. I’m wondering if you’d be able to help me figure out which hole my home is on? I found the map on the historic aerials website you referenced and can see I’m on a fairway- but not sure which hole! Address is 1661 Virginia Ave S.


    1. Brian: Thanks for the note. I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you. With everything I found out about Westwood Hills, I never came across a routing of the course. I’m sure there are plenty of them out there. Let me do some digging and get back to you.

    2. Brian:
      Sorry I never got back to you (for one thing, I’ve been busy tracking down a handful of courses I missed). I’m afraid I still don’t have an answer for you, as I still have not seen a routing of the course, holes 1 through 27.
      But here is an exercise that might tell you a bit about your homesite. Go to and type “Saint Louis Park MN” in the search field. Click and drag the map to get it on the old Westwood Hills site. Zoom in or out as desired. Then — this is the fun part — find the green tab that reads “Compare (Off)” and click on it to get more options. Click on “slide,” pick a year on the menu on the left (I would suggest 1957 in this instance), and you’ll wind up with a “slidable” photo that will show the current land on one side of the screen and the historic view on the other side. Great way to see what used to be in the neighborhood. Without spending a lot of time on it, it appears to me that your home is right in the middle of what used to be a fairway.

  7. Joe-

    I saw on your map that I live near what used to be a golf course, Maple Grove Golf Acres, in Hermantown. I’ve tried reaching out to my local historical society to no avail. If you could shed some light on it for me i would appreciate that very much. I love what you do and give you many thanks for enjoyment throughout the years.

    Thank You

    1. Sam, thanks for the note. Maple Grove Acres was one of the courses featured in my book, albeit in a relatively short chapter. The Wollacks, the family that owned the course, were one of the most prominent families in Twin Ports golf during much of the 15 years I lived in Duluth. Jim and Pat Wollack’s four daughters worked on the grounds and were terrific players for Hermantown High School and into college. They also operated a restaurant, Ye Olde Sawmill. There is more (not a lot more, but a bit) in my book. The course operated in the 1970s and briefly into the 1980s.

  8. Joe ,

    I joined HCC in 1985 after 3 years at Dellwood and 1 year at Sawmill. At that time the club was still considered a Jewish club , but there were many non-Jewish members. The club was struggling for members as the St Paul Jewish Community could not by itself support the club. I remember that food was only served in the upstairs dining room and Sundays were family days on the golf course and pool.

    I became a Board Member a couple years after joining and served as Club President in 1991-92. I was 2 times a Mr and Mrs Club Champion, Club Champion in 1994 after multiple runner up finishes. I won the King of the Hill, played City League and Senior league during my 25 years of membership. Because of my involvement with HCC, I became a Director for the MGA in 1991. While no longer a director I continue to volunteer as a Rules Official for the MGA, USGA and other golf organizations.

    Most importantly HCC is where I taught my son the game and where he and I spent many hours together. Those are moments I will not soon forget.

    At HCC I developed friendships and business relationships which still continue today. While may have played my last round there , I will not forget the greens, the fairways and routing as long as I play this game.

    Rob Tennant

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