Reusse: The golf course in the middle of somewhere

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE
  • Updated: May 6, 2013 - 11:55 PM
hide

Windsong: “The plan was to have a course dedicated to pure golf,” says founding member Reed Mackenzie..

Photo: PETER WONG • Special to the Star Tribune ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

One of the difficulties Windsong Farm faced from the start in 2004 was the perception that it was located in the middle of nowhere. That was not the view of Jim Kidd and his wife Cathy when they returned to Minnesota in January 2010 to run the private club.

That’s because Jim was the pro and Cathy helped operate Sand Hills when it opened on 800 acres of sand and grass and ravines in Nebraska in 1995. They spent seven years living in Mullen with their young family.

Mullen advertises itself as the “biggest little city in Hooker County.’’ The population for the county is roughly 500 — not counting visiting members and guests at Sand Hills.

The next move for the Kidds was to Friars Head, one of the amazing and exclusive golf clubs on the outer reach of Long Island.

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were the designers of Sand Hills. They also designed Friars Head, which was the connection that brought Jim Kidd to those spectacular dunes on Long Island Sound.

“Somebody just e-mailed me the latest Golf Week course rankings,’’ Jim said. “For modern (opened since 1960 in the U.S.), Sand Hills is No. 1 and Friar’s Head is No. 4.’’

Fantastic golf courses were nothing new to Jim Kidd. He was raised at Interlachen, where his grandfather Willie and father Bill held forth as the pros from 1920 to Bill’s retirement in 1993.

Bill has had health problems that impacted the family’s decision to leave Long Island and take the job at Windsong Farm. The club was in a lot more financial trouble at that time than the Kidds realized in making that decision.

The 200 acres on which Windsong sits are located in the countryside near Independence. It was a horse farm named Wind Song Farm and was purchased by Minneapolis Golf Club as a potential site for a second golf course.

When the MGC members voted against the plan, Jim Lehman arranged with Rehbein Construction to build the course and get its return from memberships. Jim’s brother Tom and his partner John Fought were the designers.

“The plan was to have a course dedicated to pure golf,’’ said Reed Mackenzie, one of the founding members. “We looked at Spring Hill, which was economically at the top of the food chain, and backed it down a notch. We felt there would be a sufficient number of very good, and/or very enthusiastic golfers, to make it work.’’

The horse farm became Windsong Golf Club. It opened late in 2003, about the same time the golf boom was turning into a golf bust.

“With a couple of exceptions, membership fees had started to drop at the older, established clubs in this area,’’ Mackenzie said. “That put us in competition for members. There wasn’t a sufficient market for the prices we were asking to join.’’

And then came the recession, which was dang near a depression, and Windsong was cooked.

Rehbein gave up. The members took over with a bank loan (reported at $4.2 million). In December 2011, it became public that Windsong was going to close.

Pioneer Creek is a public course and neighbor to Windsong. Marcia Kreklow and her family own that course. She sent the story on Windsong’s fate to her brother, David Meyer, the CEO of Titan Machinery in Fargo.

Six weeks later, it was announced Meyer would buy Windsong Farm and maintain it as a private club. He also had hopes of turning it into golf destination — sort of a toned-down Sand Hills, remote in its setting, but within a half-hour of a vibrant metropolis.

The membership fee that once was more than $50,000 is now $15,000, financed long-term. It’s half-price for golfers 35 and under. And it’s much less for people who live outside a 100-mile radius.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 79 4th Qtr 1:46
Oklahoma City 90
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 55 3rd Qtr
Utah 31
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 68 2nd Half 2:22
Florida A&M 62
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 49 2nd Half 8:00
Alabama A&M 62
Southern U 45 2nd Half 11:52
Alabama State 41
Prairie View 40 2nd Half 15:00
Ark-Pine Bluff 68
Texas 39 2nd Half 13:54
Iowa State 54
Texas Southern 60 2nd Half 2:36
Miss Valley St 62
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 45 2nd Half 11:48
Auburn 33
(15) Nebraska 51 2nd Half 7:33
(20) Iowa 48
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close