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Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, Published February 27 2010

Halgrimson: Fargo Country Club took shape over time

When Dr. William Kostelecky was elected president of the Fargo Country Club in 1950, it marked the start of a period of major change for the social club.

During Kostelecky’s tenure, the stockholders of the Fargo Country Club authorized a project to enlarge the clubhouse. William Kurke was the architect, and Kostelecky appointed a building committee composed of Ward Briggs, Fred S. Anderson, H. D. Crosby, Folmer Hansen and A. L. Netcher.

An increase in the stockholding membership from the original 180 to 350 was approved with the requirement that all members become stockholders. At that time, there were 300 stockholding members, and the 1950s brought the first of several major renovations to the clubhouse.

In the summer of 1957, a $50,000 swimming pool construction project was undertaken. Dr. Robert Rogers, club president, said the project, north of the clubhouse, would include a 60-by-50-foot, 80,000-gallon swimming pool, a wading pool, a bathhouse, a shuffleboard court and a patio equipped with lights for night dances.

He added that a 6-foot- high fence of unbreakable glass would surround the pool to act as a wind barrier and as a protection from golf balls hit past the nearby 18th green. Kurke Associates of Fargo designed the project, and Baker Pool Co., Minneapolis, built it.

In 1958, the club bought 93 acres of land south of the clubhouse along the Red River for future development. The transaction included 87.49 acres purchased from the Southwood Development Corp. and 5.69 acres purchased from Clark Scouter of Page, N.D. The purchase price was approximately $69,000.

They planned to develop nine holes in that area to replace the upper nine, which would be sold outright or platted and sold as lots for residential use.

The new tract would adjoin the current “lower nine” of the club course. It was surveyed and pronounced ideal for the new layout, said club President Russell B. Thorson. The Country Club holdings, before purchase of the new tract, included about 170 acres.

But, apparently, it wasn’t until 1963 that the new nine holes were completed. In 1961, heavy equipment from Northern Improvement Co. shaped greens and tee stands. Robert Bruce Harris of Chicago laid out the new nine.

Some of the club pros over the years were Ralph Kingsrud, who retired in 1964 after 30 years at the Fargo Country Club; Jack Webb; Jim McElhaney; and Stephen Weidner, who held the position from 1975 until 1995 when he died of injuries suffered during a traffic accident in California.

When Kingsrud retired in 1934, he said that when he started at the club, there was only one generation of golfers, but when he retired there were three generations as well as increased activity by women golfers.

In 1965 and again in 1979, it was announced that a new clubhouse would be built, but additions and renovations sufficed and the club came to its current design in 1995, according to the club’s Web site.

There were two stories from The Forum’s files that interested me the most. One was about 75-year-old Paul Greving, who in 1991 won the same tournament at the Fargo Country Club that he had won at age 17 in 1933.

The other is about 90-year-old golfer Paul Person acing a hole at the El Zagal Golf Course (which he was instrumental in getting built) 30 years after getting his first hole-in-one at the Fargo Country Club, where he had been a member for 50 years.

Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com