A golf course in a swamp? On a prison grounds? Next to a sewage disposal plant? Yes, yes and yes – and joined by courses built by millionaires, played by champions and designed by experts. From the crazy to the classy, "Fore! Gone. Minnesota's Lost Golf Courses, 1897-1999" revives more than 80 abandoned layouts, many of them long-forgotten but each a piece of Minnesota history.
The story behind "Fore! Gone.": This project is more than three years in the making (and noodling). It began with an assignment to write about lost golf courses in the Twin Cities for the Summer 2010 issue of Minnesota Golfer Magazine. I was hooked.
I wrote the magazine story, then was hopelessly intrigued by every other lost golf course I heard about. So I kept looking -- through old newspapers and magazines, at old aerial maps, on the Internet -- and called hundreds of people who might have remembered the old nine or 18 (or even six or eight!) down the road. I heard terrific stories -- like the one about golfers having to watch out for the unfriendly, unfenced hogs that strayed onto one Twin Cities-area course.
I hope you'll enjoy reading about lost golf courses -- and looking at the photos, old and new. The modern-day photos are from Peter Wong, Minnesota's premier golf photographer. That's his great photo on the mock-up of the book cover, above, and a couple of others, below ...
And here is one of my less-skilled efforts:
Just one more thing about the Kickstarter campaign: Reaching my initial goal will allow me to get the book into print, with no frills. I would be delighted to keep going and reach my stretch goal, which would allow the book to be printed on higher-quality, coated paper that would make the photos come alive even further. Thank you so much for your support.
-- Joe Bissen
Risks and challenges
There have been plenty, and there could be more. Self-publishing a book on limited resources has been, as expected, a challenge and a half. The challenges will continue once the book is in print -- marketing, selling, distributing, shipping. But I have forged ahead this far, and I won't stop forging now.
Surely, one challenge will be to promptly get rewards into the hands of those who contribute. I will do everything in my power to live up to my commitments. I most certainly do not take them lightly. Thank you.
- (30 days)