Goodbye Fred Boos

On April 13th, 2018 Minnesota lost a true PIONEER, Fred Boos.

Goodbye Fred Boos

By R.J. Smiley

On April 13th, 2018 Minnesota lost a true PIONEER, Fred Boos.

The full economic impact that Fred Boos, the visionary, has added to the Minnesota economy will never be known. Since Fred first dropped his golf ball into Gull Lake, the ripple effect continues to pump millions of tourism dollars into the Minnesota economy. In addition to tourism dollars his vision provided hundreds of jobs in the golf industry and the suppliers who serve them.

When The Pines Golf Course opened in 1990 there were no big time, high dollar green fee golf courses outside the Twin Cities. Today thousands of golfers from Minnesota and around the world enjoy the vast variety of great golf courses up north. Each of these golf courses were built in Fred’s shadow. He proved it could be done.

Every time we golfers enjoy one of these true Minnesota gems, we should take a moment to thank Fred.

Please enjoy a quick re-read of this previous story on Fred.


The Godfather of big time resort golf in Minnesota discussed the variety of golf tournaments “he invented” to keep The Pines on the tongue of golfers.

On a rainy Friday morning in late September, I had the rare opportunity to have breakfast with Fred Boos, owner of Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake near Brainerd. Fred married Mary Cote, daughter of Brownie Cote founder of Grand View Lodge. Throughout his lifetime at Grand View, Fred has changed the face of the Minnesota resort industry in many ways. Fred is known for tenacity, foresight and just plain guts bringing “big time” golf to “Up North” resort country. When he teamed with Joel Goldstrand to develop The Pines, Fred proved that there was a niche that needed to be filled. The remarkable success of The Pines made Fred the Pied Piper of the Brainerd Lakes Area golf course developers. Thanks to Fred Boos, golfers today travel to the Brainerd Lakes area, among the finest resort golf destination areas in the entire world.

We sat at Fred’s breakfast table, a round window table in the breakfast dining room of the Main Lodge, overlooking magnificent Gull Lake. Each day Fred’s friends and regular breakfast companions discuss important topics of the day as resort guests stop by his table to say, “Hello.”

Fred is a throwback, much like Arnold Palmer, he still writes letters and notes in long hand. He also addresses his own envelopes – each is a treat to receive showing elements of his great since of humor!

Fred and I sat and discussed how unique golf tournaments can bring a tremendous amount of free publicity to a golf course. Then Fred started talking about all the golf tournaments that he had invented over the years. These events he said, “Kept The Pines Golf Course busy in the off season and on the tip of golfers tongues.”

These tournaments illustrate the marketing genius of Fred Boos:

  1. Fred/Mark Memorial Day Tournament – Named for Fred and Mark Ronnei, current General Manager and longtime right hand man for Fred. This fall over 200 players competed in the 26th Annual Fred/Mark two-day CHARITY tournament. The first day over 200 players competed in the 4-person SHAMBLE event playing all 27 holes at the Pines followed by a charity banquet and fundraiser at the Gull Lake Center. On day two, the teams are split into 2-person BEST BALL teams that compete at both The Pines and Preserve in separate events. Must be good! The event has sold out for 25 straight years.
  2. Golf/Fish State Championship – The Annual Fish & Golf Tournament just completed its 9th year. On Day one teams fish Gull Lake Chain for six hours. The largest bag of two bass, two northern pike, and two walleyes claims the fishing portion. The points earned in the fishing portion are carried into the golfing portion on the next day. The golf event is a 3-person scramble played on Lakes and Woods courses at the Pines. “We combine the weight of the fish and golf scores to determine the champion for the year,” said Fred.
  3. Minnesota State Putting Championship – Two person teams compete to determine who the best putters are in the state. The annual Minnesota State Putting Championship just completed their 7th tournament. The tournament uses 18-holes at The Pines set up as a putting course. Nine of these holes have extra prizes for a “hole-in-one”. “Best part of this event is absolutely any level golfer can compete; no short putts,” Fred said.
  4. Par-3 Tournament – Every hole on The Pines is converted to a par-3 hole. “Sponsors purchases hole-in-one insurance for each hole. There is at least one new car or boat for an ace on one hole and a few $5,000 holes,” said Fred. Then Fred expounded about the time his pastor said that he could not play because the event was held on Sunday morning. “My big mouth fell open and I said, ‘No worry, I’ll get one and give it to the church.’ Yes, I did get an ace and gave $5,000 to the church.” The par-3 event is no longer played.
  5. The IRON-MAN Tournament – For the past 20 years Grand View Lodge has held the annual IRON-MAN Tournament 3-person scramble in late fall. Both The Pines and The Preserve are used. The courses are set up with the toughest tees, the toughest pins and played in the toughest conditions. Teams compete in either the Net or Gross divisions. In the just completed 2016 event, 30 zero handicap players competed. Fred explains, “Some tees are moved back 40 to 60 yards, way past the back tees. Then we find the hardest pins on the greens. We play the event in October, when the weather can be difficult. We got snowed out one year. Par is a good score, but the studs love it!”

As I sipped my last swallow of now cold coffee, I smiled with admiration at the Godfather of Minnesota resort golf, Fred Boos.

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