In 1776, America got itself a country. In 1884, America got itself a golf course. In 1889, America got itself a state named North Dakota; and, in 1909, North Dakota got a golf course all its own.
Tucked into Grand Forks’ historic neighborhoods, Lincoln Golf Course is the oldest continuous course in the state. Originally an 18-hole course, it went to nine holes (35 par) after the Flood of 1997. If you’ve golfed Lincoln, you’ll know that it’s a pretty little spot, with gently rolling riverfront and big ol’ trees.
Even if you haven’t golfed it, if you’ve been ‘round Grand Forks you know Lincoln Golf Course runs right alongside one of the more popular residential streets, named Belmont Road. Peek through the trees while toodling down Belmont anytime between the first sniff of Spring to the last gasp of Fall, and you’ll be sure to find someone on the fairway of the 8th Hole, which spans nearly the bulk of Lincoln’s property along Belmont.
Now sit back and relax, because I’m going to tell you the tale of Amanda on the 8th Hole of Lincoln Golf Course.
First, though, to make sure we are all on the same page – if you’re standing facing South on Belmont this is what you will see if you turn your head from right to left:
- Row of houses
- Sidewalk for houses
- Two-lane historic residential street
- Berm(ish) grassy area of Lincoln Golf Course
- Row of trees
- 8th Hole
I’m terrible at estimating distance, but my guess is the span from the sidewalks to that berm area is roughly 50 feet. So, short. It’s so short that the fine folks at Lincoln Golf Course put up a bunch of subtle signs that say something like, “Don’t follow balls onto private property.” I don’t know exactly what those signs say as I stress-blocked them out because we all have a pretty good idea as to where this story is going.
It was a beautiful Tuesday evening in August, and I was having a ball of a time golfing Lincoln with three of my girlfriends. A newbie to the sport, one of said friends had invited me to join her Ladies’ Night team, all made up of women who were getting their course legs under them. The whole thing was low-key and low-pressure; we complimented and cheered on one another after every swing. In addition to the mental benefits of two hours’ worth of positive reinforcement, I was wearing a new golf outfit (I love me a good skort) and was feelin’ pretty high and mighty after nearly parring the 7th Hole (only 8,000 strokes over!) as we teed up on the 8th.
I decided to do exactly what I had done on the 7th Hole on the 8th. I didn’t actually know what I had done on 7, so I looked at the distant pin, adjusted my super-rad skort, and swung confidently in the direction of the fairway. The ball soared up and down in a perfect arc…a perfect arc that went hard to the right, directly between two trees.
“Great job getting that ball off the ground!” One of my friends said.
“So far off the ground I left the fairway ha ha,” I said.
I wandered out to the trees. Across the street, two gentlemen were mowing their lawns. I gave a smile and a wave in their general direction. The fella with the push mower threw me back a tip o’ the hat, while the man on the riding mower nodded.
“You got this!” My friend called.
Since I was in the trees, I decided to overcompensate and hit a little more to the left than I normally would, just to be safe. I lined up my feet like I was supposed to, adjusted my awesome skort, bent my knees, and swung. The ball shanked hard to the right – now out on the berm.
“Moving right along!” My friend yelled.
“RIGHT is the operative word ha ha,” I yelled back.
Across the street, the riding mower stopped. I looked over and smiled and gave a little shrug as if to say, “Golf, amirite?” He squinted, and nodded again.
I decided to switch from a wood to a more trusty iron. A car drove by, rustling the edge of my sweet skort.
“No one you know would be on Belmont right now,” I lied to myself.
I turned fully perpendicular to the fairway – I wouldn’t be gaining any ground, but it would be better to get back to safety on the other side of the trees. I swung again. Defying all laws of geometry and physics, the ball went behind me and to the right, landing on the edge of the concrete strip between the grass and Belmont Road.
“You’re still gaining distance!” My friend shouted, and then, more quietly, “You can take a drop if you want!”
Now both mowers were stopped. If I had looked across the street, I’m sure I would have seen them texting their insurance agents.
I stood for a moment channeling a few of the greats: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ty Webb, Happy Gilmore. I set down the iron, picked up my putter, and wacked that stupid ball as hard as I could. It landed on the fairway. I sniffed, threw a wave to the mowers without turning around, and walked back through the trees. In the end, I technically three-putted that hole.
The photo above is of me and my skort at the edge of the 8th Hole.
This week’s news has a stem cell donor, a kayaker, a Cushman, and Miss Native American North Dakota. Read on.
Michigan (ND)’s Makayla Fleming is donating stem cells to a child in need of lifesaving treatment. (Altru)
Grand Forks’ Madison Eklund was the first person to kayak from Fort Snelling, Minnesota to York Factory, Manitoba, on Hudson Bay. (Grand Forks Herald)
Best of luck to SaNoah LaRocque, who is competing as the first Miss Native American North Dakota! (KX Net)
We have a beautiful new mural in Grand Forks, courtesy of Becca Cruger, Senta Grzadzielewski, and Jamie Sebby. (Valley News Live)
I wrote last week about the Cushman Classic; and here is a story about its humble and hardworking namesake, Cliff Cushman. (Grand Forks Herald)
Let’s Be (Official) Pals!
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