Last week is here already!

I posted 7 pics this morning. I have been behind in posting since April, and I thought time would never catch up with me, but here they are already — last week’s photos. I’ve caught my tail!

 

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(7/23/17) The “Southside Sprint” is a day-long series of bike races through our neighborhood.  It’s the second half of the Big Waters Classic, which begins with the “Rondo Rush” in St. Paul a day earlier. There are some very good bikers in these races, and it’s fun to watch them buzz around and around a 3/4-mile route near the 48th and Chicago Ave. area in south Minneapolis. At 2:30, there’s a kids “race”. My two intrepid grandchildren are seen above mentally preparing for the start.  Svea cranked around the course with the same game-face you see here, while Otto scooted his pedal-less glider bike while his dad ran along trying to keep up. Both kids enjoyed getting a medal at the end and were even more excited about the free water bottles.

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(7/24/17) Filling the ammo tank in preparation for soaking Gramps using the blue and red weapons in the foreground. 

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(7/25/17) Columbia Golf Course in N.E. Minneapolis

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(7/26/17) The Happy Hour group met at LUSH in N.E. Minneapolis this week.  Lori shows how she feels about Claire’s color choices, while Krista and Ron prefer to avert their eyes.

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(7/27/17) Life on the Mississippi

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(7/28/17) Roger is looking good as he hits his second shot on the 15th hole at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course.

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(7/29/17) Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

 

Happy birthday, Les Bolstad

When I was in high school in the late ’60s, my golf team would occasionally get to play the University of Minnesota Golf Course. We all considered it a treat. It seemed like a step above the other courses we played. Plus, it was part of “The U” — big time stuff.

The University of Minnesota Golf Course was named after Les Bolstad in 1983.

In those days, the practice range was right behind the clubhouse. I remember thinking it was so cool to watch the Gopher golf team hit balls. All the players had the same, odd-looking short backswing. Always nearby was a slightly hunched, quiet man wearing a classic flat golf cap and a sweater. Coach Les Bolstad seemed like an old man to me at the time, but if I do the math, he was only a couple of years older than I am now — clearly not old at all!

Les Bolstad (photo from the 2009 PGA Tournament program)

By all accounts, Bolstad was a great teacher. He mentored the legendary Minneapolis golfer Patty Berg throughout her career. Minnesota business tycoon and author Harvey Mackay took lessons from Bolstad while still in high school and then played on the U of M golf team. He attributes much of his success to what he learned from Bolstad.

Robert Hustrulid, in his book, “Golfing the Les Bolstad Way”, quotes Mackay talking about Les Bolstad. “Like all great coaches and teachers, Les did not teach golf. He taught life. If you learned a little golf on the side, well so much the better. Like going fishing. If you catch a fish, it’s a bonus. You’re there to savor the experience.”

In 1926, at age 18, Bolstad won the National Public Links Championship. The next year, he won the Big Ten Championship. For the next few years, he was one of the top Minnesota golfers. But he chose to devote his golf skills to teaching, coaching the Gophers from 1947 to 1976.

A framed photo hangs in the clubhouse, along with his red glove.

When the U of M golfers were out on the course, he would walk through the trees between fairways, standing — almost lurking — to watch his players. Later, on the practice tee, he could be seen quietly offering a bit of advice or encouragement.

I never actually spoke with him, but I remember once when we passed each other near the clubhouse and he nodded and smiled, flashing the impish grin that shows up in every photo of him. I’ll always remember that.

Coach Les Bolstad would have been 102 years old today. When I was in the clubhouse on Saturday photographing the framed picture below and the one above with the red glove, one of the young people working there didn’t really know much about who he was. That’s sad. It’s also too bad that a Google search of his name mostly turns up stuff about the golf course and photos of cross-country meets held there. I left the clubhouse and pictured Les standing on the old practice tee. I hope we can keep his memory alive for a while longer.

I’ll end with another photo that hangs in “his” clubhouse. Robert Hustrulid tracked down the photographer. His name is Richard Hamilton Smith. It’s an amazing sunset shot of Les Bolstad in his later years, walking a fairway, hunched forward, carrying his clubs, as he always did.

Some of us haven’t forgotten you, Coach.


(post script to this post . . . . I got a note from photographer Richard Hamilton Smith. He says he doesn’t think the sunset photo of Les Bolstad is his. I guess he would know, right? So who DID take that shot? Let me know if you have any info)