Looking back: Journey through the courses

Published 5:27 pm Monday, June 21, 2021

By Linda Evenson

The arrival of spring signals a return to the golf links. In 1905, the Oaks Golf Club of Albert Lea was formed, uniting the golf and tennis clubs. The golf course faced some challenges as reflected in their local rule No. 2. It stated, “When a ball actually lies in a gopher hole within the course …, it may be lifted and dropped one club-length or more, directly behind the gopher hole without penalty.” In addition to gophers, the milkman’s cows were trespassing and grazing on the club’s course.

The Albert Lea Country Club was organized by member-stockholders in 1912. The nine-hole course was located at what is known as Shoreline Heights. The Country Club moved to the northwest near Edgewater Park in 1922.

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A nine-hole public course, the Recreation Golf Links, was established in 1931. The opening of a newly installed “floodlighted” night driving range was announced in 1938. This course closed at the beginning of World War II.

Opening day at Green Lea Golf Course was April 21, 1949. Nine days earlier, a devastating fire destroyed the clubhouse. A temporary structure was ready for opening day. The public course planned to operate seven days a week.