The Yellow Lake Golf Course in Danbury in Burnett County will never host the U.S. Open or any other prestigious tournament. But this humble course does offer a unique challenge for even the best golfers.
The greens are green in name only. Instead the greens are sand.
“Well if anybody’s used to playing on a regular golf course, it changes your whole game because your putting, everything changes,” says John O’Fallon, who lived next to the course for three decades.
“There’s a hard pan underneath the sand,” explains former owner Chuck Anderson. “So sometimes it blows off it a little bit and you’ll have kind of a hard pan and then there’ll be some thicker sand, which can slow your ball down and just stop it right there.”
Most golfers are used to raking the sand trap, not dragging the sand green. “That way it’s smooth for the next people that are coming behind you,” says Anderson.
Anderson says when the course was built in 1928, sand greens were standard. “Back in 1928, you didn’t have a whole lot of irrigation.”
Over time, most courses installed sprinklers and converted to grass. That was Anderson’s plan when he bought the course in 1988. “We’re going to change those into grass greens as fast as we can. And then we got up here and found that everybody was having such a good time and the maintenance was so low, we said let’s promote the sand greens and see what happens.”
O’Fallon played in a number of men’s leagues and owned a driving range next door. “I don’t remember ever scoring good. But I have a lot of fun afterward.”
The men have golfed a lot of rounds and learned not to take it too seriously. “This course is for fun,” says Anderson. “It’s a recreational course. If you’re a good golfer, you’re going to be very frustrated out here.”
“None of us really worry too much about score, just out to have a good time,” says O’Fallon.
“It’s the way golf was meant to play for us duffers,” says Anderson. “Because we’re never going to be on the pro circuit anyway, so we might as well have fun.”