Cook County News Herald

Golf: Not for Rob’s Tulip



Dissed by a Tulip! I reached a low point when Rob Perez’ talking tulip gave the back of its stem to my summer game. But we soldier on in the face of floral Naysayers who dare not pick up the glove.

Having gone near stir-crazy from Covid isolation, I decided to get some exercise, check out our local muni golf course, and test my new electric golf trolley. So, I loaded up the trolley, sans clubs, and headed to Gunflint Hills, four miles up the Gunflint Trail.

Despite all the rain/ snow, including a freezing 4” rain on December 17th, the course is already in playable condition. Paul Jones, the Superintendent, says the course will open this weekend. The tee boxes were all fine, needing only a mow. Little water remained on the course itself although the woods and some roughs had standing water. (If you go ball hawking in those woods, bring your Wellies.) The ponds are all full plus.

The fairways were generally good. The opening hill on number 1 had some standing water and winter kill. Ditto but less so on #2. Par three hole #3 fairway had no issues. There was a little winter kill on #4’s uphill. Same with number 5. The landing areas were affected only for very short hitters. Six and seven were fine. Hole #8 uphill had some winter kill, but not in landing area.

The views from the most forward tees on 6 and 8 were beautiful to this 80-year-old who now gets an honest advantage in the Wednesday Senior League. (On #8 it’s about 130-yard advantage on a 450-yard hole. Be still my falling handicap….)

The 9th hole has water at its lowest points but not widespread. The big change there is the fall of a large tree on the roadside of the hole. I hope some chainsaw sculptor can carve us some playful bear cubs, or at least a place to sit, from the remaining trunk.

The best news of all is that six of the nine greens are okay, and all greens have playable areas. I have high hopes that the Junior Dew Boys will be able to leave their tracks in the moisture starting around May 20th. My trolley and I may join them some, although 7 a.m. is very early.

Jones says they will be seeding and aerating the greens over the next few weeks to have the greens in solid shape ASAP.

So, the trolley worked well, never tipping over and following the remote’s commands. The only hiccup was letting it go through the trap on #8; it went in fine but could not get out without human intervention. I expect to save about $300+ per season on cart fees.

The nine-hole walk generated about 6,000 steps. With no errant shots to chase, I stayed close to roughs and forests where others’ errant shots went. Compare that to the 6,000 steps I get for 18 holes while riding a cart. My heart and core should love this trolley. And I found seven good balls while staying on the edges of the woods and out of the standing water.

By now, the more subtle amongst our faithful readers have guessed that this column is a barely disguised promo for our five-month golf season. Those of you with neglected golf clubs in your garage can enjoy the game again. Occasional players will buy season passes. You will re-learn, again, the joy of a proper golf shot, occasionally, and will enjoy the humorous company of other masochists, always. And you will convert your friends as well.

Come on out. You may even see Dave Saari on the practice range after making his first hole-in one. (Pat says he will now die happy.) Help turn Gunflint Hills from a properly subsidized tourist draw into a breakeven muni of regional note. Canadians are welcome.

And you don’t have to play with Rob Perez and his nasty tulip, even if he accepts my dare to unhorse his unstudied negative golf notions.

P.S. Until I was 39, I agreed with that d*** tulip. That is evidence that it’s never too late to confess error and enter Heaven’s Door.

Steve Aldrich is a retired Hennepin County lawyer, judge, and mediator, serving as judge from 1997-2010. He and his wife moved here in 2016. He likes to remember that he was a Minnesota Super Family Lawyer before being elected to the bench. Now he is among the most vulnerable to viruses. Steve really enjoys doing weddings, the one thing a retired judge can do without appointment by the Chief Justice. Bouquets and brickbats to the editor or Copyright Stephen C. Aldrich and News Herald, 2022.

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