By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake Golf Club celebrates 90 years

 

September 5, 2019

Lois Johnson

The Moose Lake Golf Club is celebrating its 90th Anniversary.

Back in 1929, three men came up with the idea of a golf course for the community. The Moose Lake Golf Club was formed, and its members are celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.

According to information compiled from interviews of long-time members, newspaper articles and club minutes, the three men, Richard Lewis, a banker, Clayton Dodge, an attorney, and Elmer J. Williams, a dentist, enlisted community support and were able to purchase the Romanoski farm on the south shore of Sand Lake.

"The enterprising founders quickly developed one hole, which they played over and over, while the additional eight holes were laid out and completed," it is stated in the history. "In what would become the theme for future development, volunteers did the work."

The papers of corporation were filed in 1930.

"By 1950, there were approximately 37 stockholding members and about 20 season ticket holders," it is stated in the history. "The grass greens were completed in 1954. Prior to the grass greens, each 'green' was provided with a board covered with carpeting that was pulled over one's line before putting."


Season tickets were available for husbands and wives in the 1950s but women started their own groups later.

"It was probably in the 1960s when golf took off for the ladies," said General Manager Josh Gamst in a recent interview. "Golfers like Lois Romanoski, Ione Johnson, June Hambly, and Bette Skelton played together. Many of them are still members even though they no longer play golf."

The first clubhouse was a log building, located on what is now the number six tee. At that time, it was the number one tee.

"The minutes indicate that in 1961, a new clubhouse was built and the holes were reconfigured to what we know today," the history stated. "Volunteers dismantled a home donated by a local doctor, and with those materials, built the present clubhouse, which was later graced by an addition on the east side of the building."

More property was purchased in 2002 to separate the fourth green from the fifth tee. An irrigation system was also added that year. A well and a self-contained sprinkler system was added in 2006.

The membership in 2004 was 267. The membership is 230 at the present time, said Gamst.

"We are still really happy with the membership numbers," he added. "We get tremendous support from the community. Golf has declined in the last 15 years and hundreds of golf courses have closed."

Gamst commented on the Spirit Crew, a group of members that volunteer for steak fries and recently completed a new two-story addition to the clubhouse.

"They are incredible," he said. "The 25 by 30-foot addition was started in May and just completed in mid-August. It will seat 65 upstairs and the same downstairs. The addition was totally paid for by donations. It was built by volunteers who put in more than 680 man hours."

Gamst said that the new addition has already hosted a number of events.

"We are capable of holding events for up to 200 people now," he added. "It used to be 100. The new addition doubled our occupancy. Anyone can rent the space for special events."

As the club looks to the future, maintaining the membership is key.

"Many of our members are seniors now and are not able to play anymore because of health issues," he said. "Now we are getting more of the lake property owners that come to play. They like being able to pull up to the dock with their boats and go to play. One person told me that was why they bought property on the lake. Others are joining because of the people in the club. There is a lot of camaraderie and bantering."

Students from the local high schools come to play golf in the spring for their sports team.

"We find clubs for those that don't have any," said Gamst. "I have three kids, ages 15, 13, and 11. Two of them play and one was on the golf team this last year. My son plays quite a bit."

But, unfortunately, the kids don't hang out at the golf course during the summer.

"When I was growing up, I was always out here playing," he said. "I played hundreds of rounds of golf in a year. It was cheap entertainment."

Gamst issued an invitation to everyone to come to the club.

"People like to come and have a good time," he said. "People are always welcome. Come and have fun. There is always something going on."

The Moose Lake Golf Club opens for the season the first week of April and closes Oct. 31.

The hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Reservations are needed for tee times. Parties are welcome. Live music is available at times.

The golf course is open to the public. Call 218-485-4886 for reservations.

 

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