Historic Minneapolis club reopens


Historic Minneapolis club reopens
Sean Dudley

Edina Country Club in Minneapolis reopened on 1 July after a US$3.4 million renovation at the hands of Lehman Design Group. Minnesota-based contractor Duininck Golf carried out the work.

Founded in 1923, Edina was one of the first clubs built in the city, and was designed by pioneering architect Tom Bendelow. While the sequence of holes at Edina has changed numerous times through the years due to clubhouse relocation, the layout has remained basically the same.

Club president Scott Thiss says a course renovation completed in 1995 was not properly executed. “We’ve been playing on a golf course with serious issues for 15 years,” he said. “In 2009, 80 per cent of the membership voted to fix the course once and for all, an unheard-of mandate for a proposed change involving a year-long closure.”

Minnesota native and PGA Tour veteran Tom Lehman presented a detailed hole-by-hole description of the proposed changes to the members last year. “Lehman added his own vision of requiring golfers to use thoughtful shot strategy and to use every club in the bag,” Thiss said. “The main idea was to re-establish the look and feel of the original 1923 layout, address safety issues, and create a fun and playable experience for all members.”

Last May, Lehman embarked upon an extensive makeover. The greens, which had suffered drainage setbacks in the past, were dug up, cored out and rebuilt to USGA specifications. Tees were rebuilt and in some cases repositioned to create mild doglegs at straightaway holes.

Chris Brands, Lehman’s design partner, said: “Because we were trying to emulate the look of a 1920s golf course, the shapers had to match the era’s character by deepening the bunkers, creating sharp slopes and conjuring a certain look of unevenness common to the period. The Duininck team was able to accommodate all that. They did a really good job of creating the look and feel of an antique golf course. It’s as much a mental exercise as a physical one, and they were up to the task.”