MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A historic Twin Cities golf course reopens Saturday after a two-year hiatus.
Keller Golf Course has been closed for a $12 million renovation, according to Jon Oyanagi of Ramsey County’s Park and Recreation.
“People like Sam Sneed and Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicholas, Lee Trevino, all the big names of that era have played here,” Oyanagi said.
The 85-year-old Maplewood course hosted the St. Paul Classic for years. Palmer recently wrote a letter to staffers about what a special memory he has of the place.
But things here have changed. After a two-year renovation, it’s got a new look.
“As I stand here right now I say, topographically inspiring,” Oyanagi said. “The land is just so great.”
One of the first people to play the course was the Pinehurst resident Richard Mandell, who designed it.
“What I did here was, hopefully, not necessarily just to preserve history but to preserve this special golf course for the people who play here all the time,” Mandell said.
His strategy was to make it equally challenging for good golfers and the rest of us. He placed hazards straight down the line that scratch golfers will have to dodge, and most golfers who hit off to the sides won’t have to worry about.
“I’m not one who thinks that a golf course is either a PGA-tour quality and difficult, and then everyone else is going to have trouble with it,” he said.
But leveling the course cost millions. One county commissioner, Victoria Reinhardt, spent ten years trying to make it happen.
“I look at it this way; it’s an asset, a benefit to the community and it clearly needed to have some work done,” Reinhardt said.
It won’t host the pros ever again because it’s not long enough, but they say that wasn’t the point. It’s not just about being on par; it’s just about being on course.
Keller officials say that even though they won’t be hosting PGA tournaments at Keller, ghey are hoping to land some state tournaments.
There is a day full of free activities at the course Saturday. Click here for more information.