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Yes, Carl Sandburg was a golfer

What does Carl Sandburg have to do with golf?

That is the question folks in Henderson County are asking after the announcement of the inaugural Carl Sandburg Heritage Golf Tournament, to be played on Monday Oct. 16. What connection would avowed socialist and "Poet of the People" Carl Sandburg have with the bourgeois sport of golf? As it turns out, plenty.

The writer, poet and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner not only played golf but he was invited to write about the game for the third ever issue of Sports Illustrated magazine on August 30, 1954. He signed off his piece by calling himself, "sometime Illinoisan, sometime Michigander, sometime folk songster, who lives in Flat Rock, N.C. and hankers for more golf.” Carl Sandburg's name is mentioned in the World Golf Hall of Fame on the plaque of Mark McCormack, Arnold Palmer's long-time friend and agent, who credits the writer with helping teach him the game.

But the Carl Sandburg connection to golf goes even deeper. When he purchased the Connemara Farm in Flat Rock in 1945, he was buying the site of the very first golf course in Henderson County. After Capt. Ellison Adger Smyth purchased the property in 1900 he laid out the Connemara Golf Links with nine holes playing to a par of 39 — more than two decades before local golfers founded Hendersonville Country Club.

Proceeds from the Carl Sandburg Heritage Golf Tournament benefit the Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, a nonprofit that raises money for the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. The tournament is hosted by neighboring Kenmure Country Club, designed by acclaimed architect Joe Lee in 1983 (Perry Como was member #1).

The cost for the Carl Sandburg Heritage Golf Tournament will be $150, which includes three team competitions, seven individual contests, one Mulligan, one Throw and more. Many of the contests will give golfers a chance to play with hickory golf clubs and replica mesh balls like Carl Sandburg used to play in his early golfing days around Chicago. And there will be prizes for the Best Dressed Golfers who play in period garb. The field is limited to 72 golfers and sponsorship participation is still available.

More information is available at or by contacting the Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara at