At a state park, it’s duffers vs. the DNR

Beware the golfer scorned, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found out last night at a hearing on the DNR’s decision to close its only golf course.

The Fort Ridgely State Park golf course has been open for 90 years, but it’ll shut down in early July.

“What has been our tradition is not our future,” Phil Leversedge, deputy director of parks and trails at the DNR, told unhappy duffers at the hearing, according to the Mankato Free Press.

Times change. People’s recreational interests change. Golf is for old people.

But even as he and other DNR officials attempted to make their opening presentation, people in the audience were stepping up to the tee.

“When will we be able to talk about saving the golf course?” one man yelled.

“How many of you here are interested in saving the golf course?” a second man asked to the crowd.

Virtually every person in the standing-room-only crowd at the New Ulm Civic Center raised a hand.

“We feel we need to focus on what’s truly unique about Fort Ridgely,” Leversedge said, mentioning the park’s role in the U.S.-Dakota War.

“I think the golf course is what’s unique,” another man exclaimed.

The golf course will be converted to prairie.

“How much is that grass going to make for the park?” one man shouted.

The DNR official took questions from the golfers on ways to reduce the operational cost at the golf course — there was no public hearing before the decision to close it was made in St. Paul — but indicated there’s nothing to suggest the decision to close the course might be reversed.