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Breezy Point

Fairways & Greens
August 18, 2017

Perham Lakeside Golf Club - One Of My Favorite Northern Minnesota Courses
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Perham Lakeside Oak #2
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Perham Lakeside Oak #2
RJ Smiley

Great golf courses in the LAKE COUNTRY? No! Not the Brainerd Lakes Country; the Northwest Minnesota Lake Country.

Eight golf courses located in Northwest Minnesota have joined marketing efforts and created the Minnesota Golf Trail. These eight fine golf courses make an interesting variety for a summer golf trip, and Perham Lakeside Golf Course is one my favorites.

The small city of Perham (2,700 people) and their, not so small, golf course (27 holes) owe a lot to Tuffy Nelson, founder of Tuffy's Dog Food. Tuffy's has morphed into KLN Family Brands, a snack food and chip company that has $500 million in annual sales. When combined with the normal agricultural, fishing and vacation home industry found in Northwestern Minnesota, KLN's economic engine makes Perham the envy of most small Minnesota communities. That envy is translated to the city's golf course as well.

How could a community of only 2,700 people support a really good 27-hole golf course? The answer is really simple. There are the locals who support the golf course and purchase an annual membership. There are the tourists who visit the area's resorts for short stays and play a few rounds at Lakeside. There are the vacation homeowners who come to the area for weekends or all summer and support the area golf courses. And finally, there are the additional rounds that are created by distributors, vendors and customers of KLN.

In total, these customers of Perham's Lakeside Golf Course generate enough annual revenue to support a rural golf course that is kept in "superb condition." Superintendent Jeff Fjosne learned the trade as head superintendent at Rochester Golf & Country Club prior to Perham Lakeside. He keeps the fairways lush and the greens fast and smooth.

"We want our customers to leave our golf course telling people what a great experience they had at Perham Lakeside," says Joe Kauffman, General Manager. "We are a small town public course with a country club quality course. The entire staff works at making golfers feel welcome at our facility. I learned the 'people pleasing business' in the bar/restaurant business along with a previous job as an apartment concierge. We want people to leave with a smile and great memories and keep coming back year after year."

In truth it takes more than an adequate maintenance budget and a good superintendent to make a good golf course. Mother Nature must also play a part. The beautiful hardwood forest gives the course a parkland feel and the naturally rolling terrain makes for a variety of dramatic approach shots. The seventh on the Oaks nine instantly comes to mind. After a good drive, the player is left with one of the most dramatic pictures in Minnesota golf. The green, on this reachable (for many) par-5 is a long thin peninsula. To understand the shot - imagine trying to knock a ball onto the 16th green at Hazeltine from 200 yards 50' above the level of the green. After a lay up, the third shot is still a challenge.

There is nothing unfair about the seventh or any of the other 26 holes at Lakeside. Golfers that I have talked to about Lakeside speak of the variety of interesting holes.

Golf/Fishing Opener Weekend(s) Special - $30 Green Fee & Cart
General Manager Joe wants golfers to get a jumpstart on the golf season (that really starts on Memorial Day Weekend). He has created what he calls his Golf/Fishing Opener Weekend(s) Special. "For the fishing opener, we want fishermen to throw their golf clubs into their Ranger boat and come play Lakeside on Friday, May 13th, (before opener) or Saturday or Sunday for only $30, half the summer rate. The following weekend we are featuring our Golfing Opener. The green fee and cart are again only $30 for Friday, Saturday or Sunday the 20th, 21st and 22nd."

Emma Anderson-Otto, the restaurant manager, who comes from Fair Hills Resort and previously at Arrowwood resort, is going all out to make it not only a special weekend, but a special year at Lakeside Tap. The Tap, located in the spacious clubhouse, is featuring a hog roast and live music on Saturday night. This is a great opportunity to get the feel for the Lakeside Golf Course and Perham hospitality.

Lakeside has become known for the variety of golf tournaments hosted by the course. The Tuffy Nelson Golf Classic held the last Friday in July has become one of the biggest golf tournaments in Minnesota. With 27 holes and 8:00 and 1:00 shotgun starts the 4-person team event attracts almost 400 golfers, both men and women. "As a tribute to Tuffy, Kenny, and the Nelson family; area businesses really get behind this event. We have prizes for almost everything. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the day of fun," says Joe.

Play Perham Lakeside Golf Club; it will become one of your favorites, also!

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