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Winter golf in 1920

Reports of a game of golf played in Jamestown in December of 1920.

JSSP KN Column

A century ago, some residents set out to do something that had never been attempted in North Dakota before.

Some of the residents set out to play the first round of golf ever played in the state after Dec. 1 and before spring weather turns the fairways green.

The reporting on the golf game was entirely tongue in cheek with the paper reporting the game was contested with participants wearing snowshoes and, at least according to newspaper accounts, the caddies used ice tongs and snow shovels to help the players find their balls.

The usual activities of the season were also evident in Jamestown in December a century ago. The community Christmas tree had arrived. It was shipped in from somewhere where the evergreens grew tall because the officials had a 35-foot tall tree to decorate in 1921.


Donations for the decorations were being collected with the intention of placing the tree on 5th Avenue, renamed later to 1st Avenue or Main here in Jamestown, just a few days before Christmas.

And stores in Jamestown advertised Christmas specials for holiday shoppers.

For the wife who has everything, one-buckle overshoes were on sale for just $1.75 a century ago.

Christmas movies were also a thing 100 years ago. The Ruby Theatre was showing "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." The movie was notable for its million-dollar budget, but general admission to see the movie in Jamestown was 55 cents.

Christmas celebrations were limited to Jamestown. Each of the country schools had its own holiday program and tree.

But with all those things going on, a few folks decided that a little golf was in order. The weather the previous day had been warm enough to melt most of the snow that had fallen a day or two earlier.

Conditions still weren’t summer-like with reports the ground was too hard for divots.

And while the golfers were not willing to publicize the scores for that round, it was assumed that if the weather held others would take to the links.


The Jamestown Alert was hoping that the news would spread to Florida and hopefully attract golfers from down South.

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