Known as Minnesota’s most prolific course architect, he designed more than 140 courses in six Upper Midwest states.
Don Herfort, a former accountant for 3M Corporation who then launched a successful golf course architectural firm in his own name, died in Lakeville, Minn. on June 27 at the age of 86.
As described in his obituary in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Herfort started Don Herfort, Inc. after top executives at 3M heard him express strong opinions about golf courses and hired him to design and develop Tartan Park, its 18-hole employee course. “”Right from the start, I didn’t think the guy they had hired to build the course knew what he was doing,” Herfort said in an October 2008 interview with Minnesota Golfer magazine. The holes weren’t laid out very well. The drainage was going to be a problem with the layout. It was like the whole thing was wrong. So I said so.”
After finishing that project, Herfort started his own firm and spent 40 years designing thousands of acres for more than 140 courses in six states in the Upper Midwest: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and North and South Dakota. In addition to becoming known as Minnesota’s most prolific golf course architect, he was the only Minnesota-based professional to have passed the rigorous membership process of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
Some of Herfort’s most well-known courses include Dellwood Hills, Indian Hills and River Oaks in suburban St. Paul, Minn.; Como Park and Phalen Park in St. Paul; Superior National in Lutsen, Minn., and New Richmond Country Club, Cumberland and Rhinelander in Wisconsin.
“He wanted golf to be fun and wanted to make sure that his client’s investment was financially sound,” said Kevin Norby, a golf course designer and protégé of Herfort, told the Star-Tribune. “His large flashed-sand bunkers and undulating greens are still a trademark of his work.”
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