Golfing memories

Gordon Opstad, Minot

I started caddying at the Minot Country Club in 1953. I caddied for many, some of which were H.H. Westlie and his wife, Ellen, Dr. A.R. Sorenson, Vern White, Dick Gaffney, Irv Keating and in 1958, I was Gordon Westlie’s caddy when he won the N.D. State Golf Championship at the MCC. As I got a little older, I worked for grounds superintendent Vic Creed, raking sand traps, mowing fairways, greens and the rough. During my college years, I shined shoes, worked as a server in the locker room, fried hamburgers in the “Hamburger Haven” at poolside and tended bar.

After I graduated from Minot State, I lived in Grand Forks for 34 years, only getting back to play the country club occasionally and in the member-guest Evergreen Tourney. After I retired, I moved back to Minot and joined the “Club,” just to see how it would be to be a member after working there so many years. It was great!

In 2011, the flood came and wiped out the place I had grown to love so much. I made many trips out there to view the devastation from the high water. It was painful.

Then four courageous men purchased the property and began to rebuild the golf course. They removed more than 500 dead trees, put in a new irrigation system, made some course modifications, re-seeded fairways, greens and roughs and remodeled the old pro shop. The new course, Vardon Golf Club, opened for play the first weekend in August. It is an absolute “miracle,” as to transformation and the condition of the golf course now.

I would like to publicly thank John, Shannon, Bock and Mike for giving me back 60 years of memories. I enjoy playing the Vardon even more now than I did the old MCC, mostly because I never thought I would see the day when the flooded MCC would ever be a beautiful golf course again.