While working for 3M as an accountant, Don Herfort had strong opinions about golf courses, leading the company's top executives to hire him to design and develop its employee golf course. Though he had no experience, he took on the challenge.
"Right from the start, I didn't think the guy they had hired to build the course knew what he was doing. The holes weren't laid out very well. The drainage was going to be a problem with the layout. It was like the whole thing was wrong. So I said so," Herfort said in an October 2008 interview with Minnesota Golfer magazine.
Word spread of Herfort's skill in designing 3M's Tartan Park 18-hole course, and he left the company to establish Don Herfort Inc.
During Herfort's 40-year career, he became Minnesota's most prolific golf course architect, designing more than 140 in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and North and South Dakota. He was the only Minnesota-based professional to have passed the rigorous membership process of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
"He wanted golf to be fun and wanted to make sure that his client's investment was financially sound," said Kevin Norby, a golf course designer and protg of Herfort. "His large flashed-sand bunkers and undulating greens are still a trademark of his work."
Some of his most famous courses include Dellwood Hills, Indian Hills and River Oaks in suburban St. Paul; Como Park and Phalen Park in St. Paul; Superior National in Lutsen, Minn., and New Richmond Country Club, Cumberland and Rhinelander in Wisconsin.
Herfort, who was born in Green Bay, Wis., on Feb. 6, 1925