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Joe Kauffman: growing Perham golf

Joe Kauffman is in his first full year of managing the golf shop at Lakeside Golf Club and is trying to grow the attraction of 27 holes of golf right here in Perham. Robert Williams/FOCUS

PERHAM — With the weather finally making a turn for the better, action is picking up at Perham Lakeside Golf and Golf Shop Manager Joe Kauffman is trying some new things at the course in his first full year in management.

“We’re trying to bring new golfers and old members in with new membership deals and cheap golf at certain times,” Kauffman said.

For example, green fees for 18 holes and a cart after noon on Sundays and all day Mondays has been reduced to $30.

Most of the staff is returning from last year, including director of golf operations Mike Kunza.

“He puts in a ton of work in his already busy schedule as a principal, teacher, varsity golf coach and father of three and still makes time to be the director.”

Long-time employees like Cory Solberg, Thomas Huus and Ryan Guck are also returning to their duties.

“Also, our high school kids are doing a really good job so far picking things up and trying to make our service the best possible experience for the golfers.”

According to Kauffman, the board members: John Koch, Randy Mattfeld, Brian Mann, Derek Neu, Chris DeConcini, Patrick Dolen, and Charlie Nelson would like to welcome any and all golfers out to the golf course.

“These guys put in a lot of time and really care about the needs of the course and deserve some recognition for the goings-on behind the scenes at the golf course.”

Memberships have been on the rise early this season despite the cooler temperatures and rainfall, due to a 30 percent discount for new members.

“Obviously, people want cheaper golf. That’s all I hear from everybody in town.”

Kauffman is also trying to change the attitude and perception of the golf course.

“I’m trying to change the stigma of the golf course being snooty and too expensive. This is a great thing for the city, especially a town like this. We’ve got some young professionals using the course already. We want everyone to come out and enjoy it. It’s a great course.”

Kauffman has been getting the word out about Lakeside Golf on social networks. The course has a Facebook page and a Twitter page (@perhamlakeside), along with online tee times and more information on the course webpage:

Kauffman has been spreading the word about Perham’s lone golf course by attending statewide golf shows like the Minnesota Golf Show.

“I can’t tell you how many people, some from Ottertail, Detroit Lakes, Rush Lake, that had never heard of our golf course.”

Kaufmann and his wife Dr. Andrea Kauffman Westby had a booth at the show and with the help of donations from Kenny’s Candy attracted nearly 700 golfers to sign up for more information about golfing in Perham.

“People loved it. I sold the city and the fact we have nine golf courses within 45 minutes.”

Also new this year at the course is the Wild Oaks restaurant.

“We are growing a great partnership with Wild Oaks and really excited to have them there and they are excited to be there.”

League Information:

Junior Golf starts June 6 and runs every friday through July 11 except July 4. Taking signups in the Golf Shop. Cory Solberg, Mike Kunza and Jason Smith are the coaches. Cost is $50 per participant.

Men's Golf leagues start May 27 and runs every Tuesday until August 26. 18 hole leagues start at Noon and nine- hole leagues begin at 5 p.m.

Women's League is held on Wednesdays starting June 4. 18-hole leagues begin at 9 a.m. and nine-hole leagues start at 5:30 p.m.

Kunza manages both leagues.

New this season is the Couples League, which runs one Monday a month. League dates are June 16, July 14 and August 18 at 5:30 p.m. for nine holes and dinner afterwards.

Contact Kauffman at 218-346-6070  for more information on Couples league or sign up in the Golf Shop.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

(218) 844-1442