If you were to guess which state was the first to host every one of the golf world's 17 major championships conducted by the U.S. Golf Association your thoughts would likely turn to a warm weather state, like maybe California. But no... it's Minnesota!
Sure, we can only golf about seven months of the year in Minnesota... but more people play golf here, per capita, than any other state in the union! About one of every five people hit the links each year in Minnesota on our nearly 500 golf courses.
Last weekend I volunteered as a marshal for the 3M Golf Tournament in Blaine, MN, and it was a big thrill to be within 10 feet of golf’s "Big Four". I saw Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Jack Nicholson, and Arnold Palmer. Wow! On a practice round Fuzzy Zeller was about 15 yards away from me, he had his signature boom box playing and joked around with his noted jovial nature.
Watching the people and the pros at the Tournament, you could see a sincere respect for the game. I gained a lot of respect for the professionals... their skills had to be honed sharp.
Some of the professionals were able to greet the crowds, some thanked the volunteers when they could. Some were very intense and focused all the time. There's a lot of demand on these players. They need to be skillful golfers, but also personable for fans and good business people as well.
During the practice rounds the pros played with golfing amateurs. It was awesome to see the pros enjoying the company of the amateurs and giving golfing tips to these appreciative fans.
Of course the Tournament wasn't just about golf, it has also raised well over 21 million dollars for charities since 1993.
Opportunities like this are examples of what adds to the joy of living in the Twin Cities, where we have a long history of golf going back to 1890, when the Town & Country Club opened in the, then, western "boondocks" of St Paul... which is now Desnoyer Park, along the Mississippi River midway between Minneapolis and St. Paul.
I love the story of how, when the Club's treasurer asked for $50 to buy a set of real golf holes and flags to replace the tomato cans and fishing poles they were using it was soundly rejected on the grounds that golf was a silly game that couldn't possibly last!