Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, December 21, 1998
Santa visits ShadowBrooke just 12 days before Christmas
By Tom Schmidt
The 1998 golf season at ShadowBrooke will likely be our most memorable for a variety of reasons.
Not the least of which is the fact that it's almost Christmas and folks are still golfing.
On Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving, Todd Messner of Hamburg shot a hole in one. And he did it on hole #15. To my knowledge, that's the first hole in one ever on #15.
But nothing could have topped what happened on Dec. 13. Last Sunday, just 12 days before Christmas, ShadowBrooke had a special visitor.
Kris Kringle, alias Santa Claus, was flying overhead when he saw a flurry of activity on what appeared from overhead to be a golf course. Mr. Claus stated that as he lowered his sleigh it became apparent that it was in fact a golf course and it was full of golfers.
He then assumed that he must have drifted off "course," so he decided to land the sleigh to check things out. He was shocked to find out that he was flying over Minnesota.
News spread quickly and reporters from various newspaper including the "Hollywood Gazette" showed up to cover the story.
"In all my years, I've never seen so many people golfing in Minnesota this close to Christmas," Santa said.
It was such a beautiful day that he decided to take a break from his busy schedule and reward two groups by playing nine holes with each of them.
After checking his list he chose "the two groups who were the nicest during the year" according to Santa.
Santa started off the front nine with the Dahlgren crew who were frequent visitors these past few weeks. According to Santa, he had an enjoyable round with these nice folks. He turned in a respectable 42 on the front nine. Santa couldn't help but brag a little about the "Ho Ho Hole in one he shot on number 6.
Santa wasn't as thrilled with the back nine though.
"The back nine was a little less enjoyable," Santa said. "Gerald Ide kept bugging me for toys the entire round."
Then Dick Norman informed me that he was still angry that I didn't get him the "umpire chest protector" he asked for when he was nine. "I couldn't read his handwriting at the time. I thought it said "Schwinn bike reflector." Santa apologized to Dick and assured him that he'd make it up to him this Christmas.
After his round he shook hands with some, while others he hugged. Then he turned away and walked towards his sleigh.
A crowd of golfers was gathering around him as he climbed back into his sleigh. He turned and gave us one last wave of his hand and a trademark farewell. Then he took off into the wind like a flash of lightning. We were all aware that we had just been part of something special.
After Santa departed, I went up to my office to reflect on this special day and what a wonderful year it had been. After pondering for a moment, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if this warm spell continued until Christmas. That thought inspired me to write a poem.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the clubhouse
Florence was still cleaning, so we got the heck out.
The phones were still ringing while the golfers they'd pray
that Paul Douglas would mention "There'll be one more warm day."
Members searched for their clubs, then blew off the dust.
"If it's 50 degrees, it's ShadowBrooke or bust."
The golfers were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of birdies, still danced in their heads.
Ralph in his pj's and Orland in his hat
had just settled down to watch the Vikings recap.
At the break of dawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the clubhouse to see what was the matter.
Away to the tee box I flew like a flash.
I jumped over the fence and spilled all the cash.
The lights of the sunrise on the long since cut tees
showed more divots than ever, so I planned to reseed.
When what to my wandering eyes should appear,
but an eightsome of members standing tall without fear.
With a hook and a slice that made one think it was stormin',
I knew in a moment that it must be Dick Norman.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
caused him to whiff, ". . . double bogey," he said.
More rapid than eagles his eightsome they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name.
Now, Bopper, now Ralphy, now Tracy and Tim,
on Sammy, on Harley, on Gerald and Jim.
Though most missed the fairway, they all turned in par.
Then they rushed off the golf course and ran to their cars.
Dick sprang to his feet and he turned with a lurch.
"I promised the wife that I wouldn't miss church."
But I heard him exclaim, as they drove out of sight,
"Hey, we golfed on Christmas. See, honey, I must be doing something right."
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