About Hiawatha Golf & Play
Hiawatha was one of the best public courses in the Upper Midwest when it opened in 1934, and the only one of its five courses inside the city limits. Hiawatha, near the southside African American community of Minneapolis, welcomed Black players to its fairways and greens. The Upper Midwest Memorial Bronze Tournament, the longest-running, black-owned-and-operated golf tournament in Minnesota, started in 1939. One of the best Black professional golfers of his day, Solomon Hughes, moved his family from the Jim Crow South in 1943 to play and teach golf at Hiawatha. Hughes led the effort to desegregate the clubhouse in 1952. He invited his friend and golf student, Joe Louis, to play in the Bronze Tournament, which Louis won in 1957. Despite that legacy, decades of under-investment have left the course needing renovation, with water issues. It is far from the jewel in the crown of the Chain of Lakes that it deserves to be.
The Bronze Foundation’s public-private partnership will renovate the course using its original design and reopen it for play while strengthening ties with the community through programming and educational opportunities for Minneapolis’ youth at the Hiawatha Golf & Play Education Center.
The revitalized Hiawatha Golf Course will support the local economy, create permanent jobs, and return this landmark to its status as one of the city’s crown jewels. More importantly, it will be a place by and for the community.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is in negotiations with the Bronze Foundation, which is spearheading the revitalization of the course. The lease agreement is for XX years. The new course will be self-sustaining, with any earned revenue going directly to pay for the costs and upkeep of the course and the property.
The Bronze Foundation is planning to raise at least $25 million from individual donors, public funds, and other generous supporters who believe in the project. Lend your support here.
The Bronze Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization comprised of Minneapolis residents as well as community, civic, and business leaders seeking to create an all-inclusive, state-of-the-art outdoor recreation campus that unites communities while educating and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow. In addition to revitalizing the physical property, the Foundation is partnering with schools and engaging with the community to develop programs in partnership with the surrounding neighborhoods. The Foundation will also aim to attract visitors, drive revenue, and raise awareness of the course’s role in America’s golfing history.
Hiawatha has always been a public course, and that is how it will stay. The completed Hiawatha Golf Course will be accessible to people from all over the city and beyond.
The Bronze Foundation has begun raising funds for the restoration of Lake Hiawatha and Minnehaha Creek to prevent further ecological damage. In addition, more sustainable and water-resilient trees, shrubs, and other vegetation will be planted on the property.
Completion of the improvements to the 18-hole course, education and community engagement center, driving range, and restaurant is a multi-year project, dependent on funding and cooperation with private and public sectors.