A bunch of golfers teeing off on top of a frozen pond might look like fish out of water at first, but it's becoming a more common sight in town as the Jordan Commercial Club prepares to host the 8th annual Mill Pond Masters ice golf tournament next week.
Ice golf veteran Randy Kaiser said the key to succeeding at the slippery sport is patience.
"The ball does not fly as far, and you probably can't swing as hard," Kaiser said. "You have to hit the ball pretty square just to make it go anywhere. Don't be afraid to come out and try it, though — if it's not easy, it's fun."
Kaiser is the event chairman and has participated every year since the tournament began. He said the event was envisioned as a way to break up the doldrums of winter.
"Minnesotans are outdoor people," Kaiser said. "We have been growing every year; we had over 100 golfers last year."
The tournament is a best-ball scramble with a shotgun start at noon. Check-in begins at 11 a.m. Teams of four or five compete in the 12-hole course on the Mill Pond at Jordan's Lagoon Park.
Kaiser said the course takes about 90 minutes to navigate. Holes are dug into the ice with augers, and fairways are plowed in the snow.
"It's like a par-three course, basically," Kaiser said. "It's family-oriented, and everybody is out there to have a good time. There is competition, but nobody takes it too serious. It's just a good time to get out and get some exercise."
The event has about 20-30 sponsors each year, some of which sponsor and decorate specific holes. Others set up booths at the tee.
"They'll have games, a drink or a shot, some have drawings or hand out flyers and gadgets from their business," Kaiser said.
After the players finish, an awards banquet and reception is held at Clancy's Bar and Pizza Parlor. Participants enter door-prize drawings and get two free drink vouchers with their ticket purchase.
Tickets cost $20 for individuals over 21 and $10 for individuals under 21. Kids age 12 and under play for free. Tournament proceeds benefit Commercial Club activities, including their annual hat and mitten donations, backpacks for kids, Jordan Dazzle activities and scholarships.
"We're making money, so this year we decided to increase the amount of scholarships and the dollar amount of those scholarships," Kaiser said.
More information about the event and registration are at www.jordancommercialclub.com.