Pine to Palm...
(An article contribution by Ralph Anderson)
The Pine to Palm Golf Tournament, one of
three so-called Minnesota “resort circuit”
tourneys, is held annually at the Detroit
Country Club’s Pine to Palm course.
In recent years, the Pine to Palm also
had a division for play on the Lake View
course, located across the county road
the Pine to Palm Course, which is an 18-
layout that plays to a par of 31-33-64. The
Pine to Palm course has a 36-35-71.
First held in 1931, the Pine to Palm is the
youngest of the three “resort circuit”
tourneys, which also includes the
International at Bemidji and the Resorters
For the most part, the tournaments have
been held in consecutive weeks, first the
Birchmont, then the Resorters and then
Pine to Palm.
Pat Sawyer, on of Minnesota’s leading
amateur players at the time, won the
championship in the first two pine to Palm
tourneys and defeated his brother (Dick)
1932 champion match. Sawyer bested
Bolstad in the first Pine to Palm final in
and Bolstad is also a familiar golf name in
state. Edgar’s brother (Les Bolstad) was a
longtime head men’s golf coach at the
University of Minnesota.
In recent years, one of the best-known
to Palm champions is James McLean.
McLean, whose home is at Wahgunjah,
Victoria, Australia, defeated Mike Podolak
the 1998 Pine to Palm final to complete an
Earlier in the year, McLean had won the
NCAA Division I individual championship at
University of Minnesota and then added
Minnesota State Amateur and the
State Open championship to his list of
Podolak, who lost to McLean in the finals,
one of the Pine to Palm’s all-time best
Now playing out of Oxbow, N.D., Podolak
also won two Pine to Palm titles (1982-
has been the tournament runner-up three
times and has been the tournament
or shared the medal laurel seven times.
Winner of numerous North Dakota
championships, Podolak also won the
States Mid-amateur championship when
event was contested at the Atlanta
Club in Duluth, Ga., in 1984.
That earned Podolak a berth on the 1985
S. Walker Cup team and Podolak helped
golfers post a victory over the Great
Ireland team at Pine Valley, N. J. By
the U. S. Mid-amateur, Podolak also
spot in the field for the 1985 Masters
Tournament at Augusta, Ga.
Podolak holds the best Pine to Palm win-
record, which is 66-17.
In detailing Pine to Palm history, the
Ken Pinns always comes up.
That’s because Pinns – in 1965- achieved
feat that nobody else has ever
Pinns won the championships of the
“resort circuit” tourneys all in the same
He scored 16 consecutive match play
and defeated Keith Jorde of Hereford, Tx.
and 4) on the Birchmont final, topped Neil
Croonquist of Minneapolis (1-up) to win
Resorters championship and capped his
with a 1-up win over Dave Hanten of
SD at the Pine to Palm.
In winning the three titles, Pinns scored
victories each in the Birchmont and
tourneys and six at he Pine to Palm. This
because the title flight is made up of 32
at Bemidji and Alexandria and is made up
at Detroit Lakes.
Five golfers have the distinction of
the Pine to Palm Tournament
three times each.
They include Virgil Roby (1933-34-35),
Rule (1958-59-60), Bill Von Wald (1973-
75), Bill Israelson (1976-77-80) and Jim
Rule, who won his three titles when the
championship flight consisted of 32
gained the finals in 1961 before losing to
Dayton Olson and established a record of
That was ended in the next decade
Von Wald won three straight times, when
title flight consisted of 64 players, and
the semifinal round in 1976 before losing.
won 22 straight title flight matches, a Pine
Strandemo, one of the three-time
holds the record for the most successive
championship flight appearances at the
Palm. He played in the tournament for the
time in 1973, qualified for the
flight that year and made it every year
losing out in a championship flight playoff
Pine to Palm Notes...
John Harris, winner of the Pine to Palm
1972, won the 1993 U. S. Men’s Amateur
championship and has announced that he
play on the U. S. Senior Tour starting this
Tom Lehman, winner of the British Open
championship in 1996, was the Pine to
medallist in 1980. He lost in the second
of the match play that year to Jeff Teal,
was a University of Minnesota golf team
member with Lehman.
The Pine to Palm senior Division was
the tournament in 1967 and has proven to
an increasingly more popular part of the
tourney with each passing year.
Collegiate golfers have won the Pine to
championship in six of the last seven
They are mark Halverson (University of
Minnesota) in 1995, Laine Brantner
of Iowa) in 1996, Bill Thompson (University
Minnesota) in 1997, James McLean
of Minnesota) in 1998 and Andy Doeden
Christian University) in 1999 and 2001.