‘We try to keep it going as best we can’: Old friends to gather in A.L. for 40th golf tourney

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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By Ayanna Eckblad

Local golf courses will be busy this weekend, both because of pleasant weather forecasted but also because a special annual tournament will take place. A group of former Albert Lea high schoolers will meet on Saturday and Sunday for the group’s 40th annual golf tournament.

Barry Carlin, one of the organizers of the event, is from Albert Lea but now lives in Duluth. He said the annual tournament is a great opportunity for the old friends to come together and reminisce about their days in Albert Lea, catch up on news on one another’s lives and play some golf.

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“We try to keep it going as best we can,” Carlin said. “[We] have some fun, some laughs, talk about what’s happened.”

The group plays golf in the morning and gets together for dinner later that day to reminisce and catch up with each other.

The tournament began 40 years ago as a group of high school friends from Albert Lea decided to get together and play some golf. From there, it became an annual occurrence.

Carlin said many of the people 40 years ago lived in the Twin Cities but decided to hold the tournament in Albert Lea because it was where their friendship started.

“We figured that’s where we’re all from,” Carlin said.

It was also a good opportunity for people who had grown up in the area to visit family.

“Now it’s a mini class reunion [or] family reunion of sort,” he said.

The tournament usually has anywhere from 15 to 25 participants. As the years have gone by, Carlin said, people have brought their children and friends along to the event as well.

“It’s kind of grown into a family affair with some of the guys because their kids are playing now as well as their buddies,” he said.

Many of the men still live in Minnesota, but a few have to travel a lot longer with the farthest away coming from Wisconsin and Washington state.

The tournament usually is set exclusively at Green Lea Golf Course. However, due to overlapping schedules at the venue, Carlin said the men organizing the golf tournament decided to split the playing between two different sites, Green Lea and Wedgewood Cove Golf Course.

Carlin said life sometimes gets in the way and there are fewer participants at the tournament than there have been in other years, but he still looks forward to seeing his friends each year when the event rolls around.

It gives him the opportunity, Carlin says, to “catch up with the guys and see how they’re doing, family wise, and how their life is progressing.”