The small town of Clinton, Minnesota, hosts an annual golf tournament to raise money for scholarships and for the local nursing home.
But unlike other towns across the United States, Clinton, with a population that hovers around 500 most of the year, except during the golf tournament, when it might reach all of 600, does not hold its golf tournament during the balmy days of summer on a manicured set of golf greens; instead, its annual Arctic Golf Tournament is held in the middle of February. When temperatures can dip as low as thirty below — and that’s not counting the wind chill. And golfers have to take snowmobiles out onto the middle of frozen Eli Lake, skirting a host of ice fishing shacks, to reach the nine-hole course in the middle of the lake that is bounded by recycled Christmas trees.
The tournament was started 40 years ago, when the local nursing home needed a new roof and the town council decided, more as a joke than anything else, to hold a mid-winter golf tournament to raise funds. But dedicated golfers came from as far away as Minneapolis to play in the tournament — and the nursing home got its new roof.
The entry fee this year is twenty-five dollars. And the county nurse will be standing by to treat frostbite and chilblains.