Friends of Pinewood mobilize, plan golf-in for Thursday

n Group plans golf-in at Pinewood to make use of city park closed off for golf business


by Jim Boyle


The Friends of Pinewood’s drive to save the municipal golf course hit the green this past week with the group’s leader submitting a litany of questions about the closed par 3 course mired in litigation.

Peter Kimball, the leader of the upstart group, reported at a rally of supporters on Tuesday that a meeting to go over the questions with the group has been tentatively set for a council work session on June 16 at Elk River City Hall.

Friends of Pinewood won’t just be putting around in the meantime. They are organizing a golf-in at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Pinewood Golf Course, and they are encouraging supporters to come and play a few holes.

Pinewood page 1“It’s a city park and it’s not open for business,” Kimball said. “There’s no reason why you can’t use it.”

Friends of Pinewood are also working to grow their group, which is comprised primarily of seniors who played in leagues at the course.

The group wants fellow golfers and non-golfers alike in the community at-large. It is also looking for ways to enlist adults who have had children take lessons at the course.

“If this was a hockey deal, there would be 2,000 people here,” Bob Dilley said. “I want to know how do you reach those kids who took lessons out here.”

Fal Sentyrz, who will turn 99 years old on Feb. 14, will likely be there. She was the first to turn out to Tuesday’s rally. She came more than a half hour early. She learned of the city of Elk River’s decision to close Pinewood in the Star News.

“It was shocking,” she said. “A real tragedy.

“The course is so beautiful. To have it go to waste would be a sad situation. Not to make use of the improvements that have been made with the new bridge, with the trees cut for better vision, the greens that are perfect, for the walking fairways smooth as can be. It’s tragic.”

Sentyrz, like a lot of her peers, comes to the golf course for companionship and to play the game she loves. She estimates she has been golfing at Pinewood for seven years. Before that she spent 40 years at the more rigorous Elk River Golf Club.

“I’ll confess to you that when my husband died and I was able to go to the golf course and play, it was a saving situation,” she said. “I didn’t have to worry about anything. I just enjoyed the bees, the trees and the green and the surroundings. It made everything OK.”

Many Friends of Pinewood are upset that the city has not communicated its plans or intentions.

“The worst part of it is they have not made it open so we could come in and talk about it,” said Lorie Leland. “It’s like a done deal.

“We’re just trying to preserve something that should  be preserved. They couldn’t go out and buy property like this for $2 million.”

Jim Mulroy said there are no winners, except one.

“It’s the lawyers,” he said. “The city is going to lose. Paul (Krause) is going to lose. The citizens are going to lose. Old people and the kids are going to lose. The lawyers will make the money.”