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Perham Lakeside awaits spring thaw

The remaining snow has pushed back opening day at Perham Lakeside Golf Course to late April or early May, compared to March 16 last year. Robert Williams/FOCUS

As proprietor of Zorbaz on Little Pine Lake in Perham from its start-up in 1984, Jeff Tweeton knows what a successful business model can do for operations as he takes over as Golf Operations Manager at Perham Lakeside Golf.

Now, if the snow would melt, the golf course could get underway for local enthusiasts ready to hit the links.

Last year, the course opened on March 16 with the balmy spring sun of 2012.

“That’s almost too early, to a certain extent,” Tweeton said. “Ma nature is exacting its revenge this year.”

 Joe Kauffman rips a drive from the snow bank on Oak Course Hole 1 last week.

With an upcoming forecast of chilly daytime temperatures and lows below freezing with a chance of more precipitation, golf course management and area golfers are in a waiting game.

“So much of this year is going to be ‘who knows?’ said Tweeton. “It would be nice to have the course open. It has a certain impact.”

Tweeton takes over for PGA Professional Nick Anderson, who has been a part of Perham Lakeside Golf for 22 years.

“Nick is going to stay associated with the golf course,” said Tweeton. “We’ve never questioned what Nick has meant to this place. He’s going to be giving lessons. He’s the pro, which allow us to keep the KLN pro-am.”

Tweeton is joined by Joe Kauffman, who started working in the pro shop last August.

“Joe really stepped up to the plate,” said Tweeton. “He loves golf; knows golf, and knows the equipment.”

The duo has worked during the preseason to rearrange and organize the pro shop, while learning an updated computer and web system.

“We’re not making any radical changes,” Tweeton said. “It is more user-friendly.”

The new website allows for online booking of tee times, as well as course and shop information. The web presence of the golf course is also growing with a new Twitter account.

“We’re going to try and do some different stuff with deals and giveaways on there,” Kauffman said.

Web and mobile applications like Twitter and Foursquare allow users to take advantage of online and mobile specials, and part of modernizing course operations is taking advantage of new technology outside the realm of golf.

Perham Lakeside remains one of the only 27-hole courses in the area, along with a driving range and two practice greens.

“There are a lot of good golf courses around the area, but we’re the only 27-hole,” said Kauffman.

Having three courses on the property allows Lakeside to offer public golf even during tournaments, where normally an 18-hole course would be closed during tournament play.

That allots for a lot of golf days when Lakeside hosts more than 35 events each summer – from junior golf and high school golf meets to large events like the University of Minnesota Gopher Spectacular and the Tuffy Nelson Golf Classic.

“That’s how it’s always been but it’s nice to let people know that is still going to be available,” Kauffman said.

“Our rates are equal to or a little bit higher, perhaps, than some of the courses around,” Tweeton said. “But you can’t necessarily compare Perham to those other courses.”

Information on how to set up golf lessons with Anderson is under the ‘Course’ tab on the website, by calling the pro shop, or via email at

Junior golf will also be getting into action soon, a program that grows in size each year under the tutelage of Anderson, Perham high school golf coaches Cory Solberg and Mike Kunza, and Course Superintendent Ryan Inglis.

Visit Perham Lakeside Golf online at and on Twitter @perhamlakeside.

Robert Williams, Perham Focus