Book Uncovers Storied History of U.S.'s Largely Forgotten Golf Course

Middletown resident Anthony Pioppi, who spent the summer caddying at an original course in Scotland, has just released a history of Minneapolis' onetime prominent links.

Middletown resident Anthony Pioppi and 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam / photograph by Colin Chystie
Middletown resident Anthony Pioppi and 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam / photograph by Colin Chystie

The fascinating and little-known history of the Minneapolis golf course that hosted the 1915 U.S. Open is the subject of a new book by Middletown resident Anthony Pioppi. 

His third book, a five-year-long project, delves into the history of this 18-hole course where amateur golfer Chick Evans Jr. won that year's national title, and Bobby Jones became champion of the the 1927 U.S. Amateur, as well as the home of a Walker Cup, Curtis Cup and U.S. Women’s Am.

"The History of the Minikahda Club Golf Course," which begins with the first meeting of the founders in 1898, includes all 18 original architectural hole drawings and chronicles the development of this course that's been largely forgotten outside the Twin Cities area.

Minikahda will never host another large-scale national tournament, Pioppi says, because the course is landlocked and cannot expand. It is located on the west side of Lake Calhoun, the largest lake in Minneapolis, Minn.

Pioppi, who wrote To the Nines and is co-author of Haunted Golf: Spirited Tales from the Rough, spent this past summer caddying at Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club on the Kintyre Peninsula in very far southwest Scotland, which opened in 2009. 

Keith Martin, general manager of the course and the resort's two hotels, met Pioppi when the author worked on the green-keeping staff of the Old Course in St. Andrews Scotland during the 2000 Open Championship.

Scotland, where the game of golf originated, afforded Pioppi the opportunity to gain an understanding of the sport's roots, something he quickly learned is far removed from the American version.

"It was really a wonderful experience working and playing on a true links golf course," Pioppi says. "Although I've been to Scotland many times, this summer, I truly learned to appreciate links golf, playing the ball on the ground, dealing with the the wind, and accepting the good and bad bounces."

At Mach Dunes, Pioppi caddied for one of the sport's legends — 1991 Masters champ Ian Woosnam — who was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1991-92. He also met Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, who counts the game as one of his favorite pastimes.

Superintendent magazine, where Pioppi was named senior writer last June, ran a series of columns this summer dispatched from Scotland and the Chicago Tribune will soon print a feature Pioppi wrote about Campbeltown Whisky in Scotland. 

He's also hoping to turn his experiences this summer in Scotland into a book.

The 167-page Minikahda hardcover was published by the club with a limited number of copies that can be signed by the author. He may be reached at AnthonyPioppi@gmail.com.

His piece, "A Good Boy," appears in the third issue of Noir Nation.

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