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History of Pine Beach East

History of Pine Beach East Golf Course & Clubhouse

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Construction for the Pine Beach Golf Course, known today at Pine Beach East, began in 1925 by businessmen John Harrison and Chester Start. Development of the course was a monumental feat that required 100 teams of horses and 3000 pounds of dynamite to clear the land.

In 1932, Harrison and Start were struggling to turn a profit during the Great Depression and decided to lease the golf course and clubhouse to Jack Madden and his uncle Tom Madden for $500. With the state and country still battling economic depressions, the pair did not turn a profit. And picked up caddying on the side. They were paid .25 for 9 holes and.40 for 18 holes.  Soon, desperate to sell, Harrison and Start agreed to sell the golf course to the Maddens for no money down.

“In the winter of 1934 I received a terse telegram from Mr. Start as follows: “Do you want to buy the Pine Beach Golf Course?” I wired back the following, “YES, but I don’t have any money”. The next day I received another wire as follows, “Will meet you Radisson Hotel, Minneapolis, Wednesday to close deal”. WE made the deal, nothing down and ten years to pay, and that is how I got started in the resort business.

– Taken from a 1967 article written by Jack Madden

In 1958, The Social 9 opened and Brainerd become only place in state with 27 hole resort course.

On the night of July 3, 1964, a fire completely destroyed the golf course clubhouse, including the new O’Madden Pub that has just opened that night. No guests were harmed and, miraculously, the resort was open for business the next day. Jim Madden is quoted as saying the fire “may have been the best thing that happened” to them, as it allowed the Maddens to emerge from the ashes and rebuild bigger and better than before. A new Madden Inn and Golf Club, connected to the Roberts Hotel, opened the following May.

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