Cloquet Country Club celebrates 90th anniversaryOpening in 1923, the privately-based, nine-hole Cloquet Country Club course was a gem. Now an 18-hole course, the club celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Fred Pianalto punched in for work before dawn Tuesday morning, but for the longtime Cloquet Country Club groundskeeper, spending hours on the course is perfectly fine.
“He opens up the door every morning for me,” said CCC Superintendent Brian Jordan of Pianalto, who at 70, has been grooming the course from sunrise to sunset for about 12 years. “If we had three Freds, this whole place would be covered.”
Pianalto and staff covered the course thoroughly Tuesday, as that widespread community commitment and surrounding support has allowed CCC to celebrate its 90th anniversary.
Opening in 1923, the privately-based, nine-hole course was a gem. Surrounded by wooded pines, lush grass, sand traps and several areas of water, the CCC was a challenge.
Current club professional Bill Manahan said there are rumors that Scotland’s influential course designer Donald Ross created the opening nine holes. In 2002, golf architect Joel Goldstrand constructed the course’s additional back nine.
“You never get tired of the course,” said Manahan of the 18-hole, par-71 course standing 6,649 yards in length. “It’s always going to give you those different kinds of shots.”
John Sheff shot a round of golf Tuesday, as the 50-year-old has done since becoming a member at age 9.
“I think this is my 41st year,” said Sheff, whose backyard is a just a few hundred yards from the first tee box. “We’re really lucky to have this kind of layout. It’s a great track.
“And there’s always someone to play with,” continued Sheff, who has several club championships and a career-best round of 64. “Around here, it feels like a bunch of relatives.”
Assistant General Manager Matt Carlson said the CCC, which has approximately 275 members, will host its annual Cloquet Invitational July 11-14 as its highlight event.
Carlson began his CCC career at the invitational, serving as a ball spotter in his elementary years. He later worked in the bag room and now the 27-year-old works in the offices.
Carlson said the club is about more than golf.
“This club has done a lot and has been important to many of people in this community,” he said. “A lot have been members here — they stick with it and keep up the tradition.
“Golf is my passion,” continued Carlson, who has been involved with his favorite course since around 1997. “It’s more than just a job for me. I enjoy going to work every day.”
Just like Pianalto.
“I actually happened to take a look at his time card this morning,” Jordan admitted. “He punched in a 4 a.m.”