Dating back to 1962, Hazeltine National Golf Club’s impressive history includes a PGA Championship, two U.S. Opens, a U.S. Senior Open and two U.S. Women’s Opens
FIFTY YEARS AGO THIS SUMMER, ROBERT TRENT JONES fiRST set eyes on Hazeltine Lake and the surrounding area. He was in the Twin Cities for the 1959 PGA Championship at Minneapolis Golf Club and was taken to the Chaska area to
view a plot of land that was intended to be a golf course.
By Tom Brakke
The countryside was dotted with farms and nearby Pioneer Trail was nothing more than a gravel road. Chaska proper was a quaint town that hugged the Minnesota River a few miles away.
Today, Chaska is a sprawling and rapidly-growing city, and the land that Jones surveyed is known as Hazeltine National Golf Club. This week it hosts the 91st PGA Championship, adding to a résumé of championships unmatched by any club its age.
One man who would not be surprised by the success of Hazeltine National was its founder, Totton Heffelfinger. A former president of the United States Golf Association, Heffelfinger was a demanding
dreamer who sought to create a venue for championship golf in Minnesota, specifically an “out of town” companion course to The Minikahda Club, which was hemmed in by development and threatened by a freeway expansion.
Minikahda had hosted a U.S. Open, as had Interlachen Country Club (during Bobby Jones’ “Grand Slam” year of 1930), and two PGA Championships were conducted at Keller Golf Course in addition to the one at Minneapolis Golf Club. But Heffelfinger thought there was room for another championship course, and when Minikahda decided not to approve his plan, he set about to make it happen anyway.
He created Hazeltine National as a club