The Mayville State University Golf Classic began in 1976 when a small group of alumni decided to get together to play golf at the Detroit Country Club in Detroit Lakes, Minn. and determined it should be an annual event. The men responsible for the idea and annual outing are Paul Maltrud, Gene Gaffney, Del Hultgren, and Dennis Hopman. What started out as a golf outing among friends has grown into the longest-running alumni stroke-play golf tournament in the country. The 40th annual tournament was held June 13, 2015.
The MSU Classic has provided a great deal of financial support to the university through the years. At the completion of this year’s tournament, a cumulative total of contributions to scholarships through the MSU Foundation has reached nearly $120,000. The financial impact of the Classic is due to registration fees and the annual Calcutta held on the Friday evening before the Saturday tournament each year. This fund-raising has been successful because of the generous contributions of the alumni and friends who attend each year. The “contributions” of the Classic far exceed the monetary impact. The classic has become an annual gathering point for alumni and friends alike. Over the years, there has been a ladies brunch on Saturday morning, and there has been endless visiting and friend-building at not only the Detroit Country Club, but also at private lake homes.
Through it all, Paul, Gene, Del, and Dennis have been steadfast in their commitment to the Classic, but more importantly to Mayville State University and supporting scholarships for students. They have had helpers as auctioneers, registration volunteers, and score posters, but these four stalwarts have been at the center of it all for 40 years. Recently, Paul Maltrud has been unable to continue to contribute to the planning, but this has not stopped Gene, Dennis, and Del from forging ahead and continuing this great tradition. Through it all, they have not lost focus on why they do it. “Let’s not forget. It’s all about the university,” Hultgren recently stated.
Several years ago, led by MSU legends Jerome Berg and Harvey McMullen, this became a 2-day event with a second tournament held on the Friday before the Classic. What started out as a 2-man best-ball event has turned into a 4-person scramble run by the Comet Athletic Club (CAC). This event has moved around through the years from Wildflower Golf Course to the Detroit Country Club, to its current home of Fair Hills Golf & RV Resort, all located near Detroit Lakes.
As with anything, change in inevitable. The Classic has seen as many at 144 participants for the Saturday stroke-play event. This number has dropped dramatically, to a low point of just over 70 golfers the last two years. At the same time, Classic participation is going down, and the Friday CAC participation is increasing, with more than 100 golfers last summer. With the drop in numbers, the DCC has placed some restrictions on course availability for the Classic.
With the decline in participation, Gene, Del, and Dennis did not take the approach of “all good things come to an end.” Instead, they chose to do their best to see that a good tradition can continue and reached out to Athletic Director Mike Moore and the CAC. Discussion about alternatives ensued. The decision was made to “rebrand” the Classic into a 2-day event at one location. The thought is to combine efforts with an eye toward maximizing participation in both events. Here is a snapshot of the future:
We Are Moving.
After much thought and consideration, the decision has been made to move the 2016 MSU Saturday Golf Classic from the Detroit Country Club to the Forest Hills Golf Course. The decision was based on:
- lower cost, thus allowing more for scholarships;
- condition of the two courses;
- wonderful cooperation of the Forest Hills staff; and a
- 10 a.m. shotgun start at Forest Hills.
The 2016 MSU Golf Classic will be the third weekend in June, or one week later than usual. The Forest Hills Golf Course is not available on the second weekend, so the dates for next year will be Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18. The announcement is being made early, so you are able clear these dates.
Friday, June 17 will be a 4-person scramble with a 10 a.m. shotgun start.
Saturday, June 16 will be medal play using the same handicap system as the previous 40 years. This tournament will also have a 10 a.m. shotgun start.
Friday Fund-Raising Event
This event was previously held at 6:30 p.m. It will now be at 3:30 p.m. at Forest Hills Golf Course. This will give the Friday golfers the opportunity to participate in this fun event. Plus, those who play only on Saturday can attend and still have their evening free.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Mayville State University owes a huge debt of gratitude to Gene Gaffney, Del Hultgren, and Dennis Hopman, not only for their leadership over the past 40 years, but for their foresight and commitment to keeping the tradition alive. These men had every reason to throw in the towel and let the MSU Classic fade away, however, they looked for solutions and came to a compromise that can provide something for everyone. Thank you, Gene, Dennis, and Del, for not losing sight of the importance of this event to our university.
Much debate can occur about format, location, and date for the MSU Classic. This debate is about personal preference. We all need to remember the words of Mr. Hultgren, “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY.”Photo captions:
Top: Back (l-r): Del Hultgren, Gene Gaffney, and Charlie Lindberg. Jim Hedstrom and Chris Lindberg (l-r) are in the front.Middle: These lifelong buddies have golfed together in the "Classic" for the last several years. Pictured (l-r_ are Lute Simley, Dave Carlson, Dan Lovas, and Duane Rindy.Bottom: (L-r) Jim Lande, Merv Carlson, Jim Evanson, Dennis Larson, and Bob Aasen.
Scenes from the 2015 MSU Golf Classic