In July 1922, Twin Cities newspapers published articles making fun of the people of Redwood Falls.
It seems we rural hicks had the uppity effrontery to build a...golf course.
“The newspapers made it into a joke that we rural people were taking up a gentlemans’ game,”?said local historian Gary Revier.
The Redwood Falls Golf Club celebrates its 90th birthday this year, and is now one of the most respected courses in the state.
But it didn’t start that way.
In July 1922, Twin Cities newspapers published articles making fun of the people of Redwood Falls. It seems we rural hicks had the uppity effrontery to build a...golf course. “The newspapers made it into a joke that we rural people were taking up a gentlemans’ game,”?said local historian Gary Revier. The Redwood Falls Golf Club celebrates its 90th birthday this year, and is now one of the most respected courses in the state. But it didn’t start that way. On July 18, 1922, the Redwood Falls Golf Club was organized at a meeting of about 40 men during a Commercial Club meeting. Businessman W.H. Gold was one of the few men in Redwood who had actually played golf before, and got the ball rolling (so to speak.) “Hardly anyone in Redwood had every played golf before,” said Revier. “To play it back then, you needed to go to the Twin Cities.” The perfect site for the course was Riheldaffer’s pasture, conveniently near both the city and Ramsey Park. In addition to its location, it offered an abundance of natural obstacles. Once the land was a done deal, building the course itself only took about a week. “There wasn’t an architect. They just started cutting grass with a horse-drawn mower and digging holes,” said Revier. Supposedly, if you look at the old oak trees by the tin shed by the current 9th hole, you can still see scars on the trees from the barbed wire pen where the mowing horses were kept. “The course really looked like an unkempt pasture then,” Revier said. For whatever reason, however, the Redwood Falls golf course that first year came up a little short — it only had eight holes. “The Twin Cities newspapers called it “the snappy course” because it was short one hole,” said Revier. The club was formally incorporated 10 months later, on April 15, 1923. Eleven days later, they bought 80 acres from the Riheldaffer’s estate for $85 per acre. In 1923, a rural golf course was unique. Soon, other towns began creating their own. “Soon other towns would bring their teams to Redwood, and there would be rivalries between the communities,” said Revier. The original clubhouse started its life as the home of blacksmith John Thomas, located where the Highway 19/71 “Y” intersection is today. When the highway department bought Thomas’ house in 1934 to enlarge the bridge area, the golf club snapped up the house and moved it to the course. It was heavily remodeled, and officially opened in 1936. It burned down in 1956, and was replaced with the current clubhouse on the same spot. In 1938, the members decided they wanted genuine grass on the greens. In three days, they raised $4,500 for the new landscaping. One of the earliest champions was Palmer Kise, who the club’s annual invitational is now named after. “This year is the 70th year of the invitational, and draws golfers from all over the U.S.” said Revier. Since it’s original eight-hole beginning, the course has changed dramatically. “In 1923, you teed off down by where the number 10 green is today,” said Revier. “They had a little shack there you could keep your clubs in.” The current course is contained within 148 acres, and a second nine holes were added about a decade ago. Today the Redwood Falls Golf Club course is considered one of the most beautiful in the state, and draws golfers from all over. “It’s unusual for a course in a town as small as Redwood Falls to be considered a golf destination,” said Revier.