AREA GOLF: Dolan family gathers for 50th golf tournament
TRACY — This July, the family of John and Mary Dolan celebrated 50 years of coming together at Tracy Country Club for a much-loved family golf tournament and sing-along.
The idea for this family gathering — now known as the Dolan Classic — took root on a snowy February afternoon in 1971. Joe Dolan, his wife Lynne, and Mike Dolan were wisely staying inside, watching a golf tournament on television.
Inspiration struck on a whim. They imagined a tournament that would bring together generations dating back to John and Mary Dolan’s 13 kids.
But would such an event be successful? After all, the Dolans were notorious for their love of baseball, not golf.
The trio recalls asking, “Would anyone bother to show up?” Not only did the Dolans show up, they came in numbers.
After forming a small planning committee and sending out invites, the first event was held that same July. Twenty-five men golfed and nearly 60 family members attended the evening banquet. Wanting to join in the fun, the Dolan women began golfing the following year.
Enthusiasm for the sport is just one reason the Classic has lasted half a century. A perfect blend of family, tradition and fun permeates the weekend’s festivities. On Friday night, the family gathers for a roaring sing-along and talent show. Aunts and uncles sing Irish songs alongside nieces, brothers, daughters and in-laws. The following afternoon, they come together again and finish with a three-hole playoff. People pile into golf carts and zip across the course, cheering on finalists and waving homemade signs. When the tournament ends, champions are awarded a revered family trophy –Grandpa John’s baseball bat and Grandma Mary’s rolling pin. Each are passed down and engraved with the winner’s names year after year.
“It’s the family traditions and the chance to interact in new ways that make the event so fun,” says Terry Dolan, a Dolan Classic planning committee member.
As the family has spread out across the country, the Dolan Classic continues to draw extended family together.
“We’re proud of the traditions we’ve made. People can golf at any age and stage of life. It’s the perfect sport for the entire family, and many people drive from the Twin Cities or fly in from otherstates to join us,” says Mike Dolan, the tournament founder.
At this year’s 50th event, featuring nearly 100 golfers, Isaac Dolan and Bradley Rose won the handicap tournament following a three-hole playoff. Cameron Krenik and Lynne Dolan won first place in the alternate shot competition and Mike Dolan and Joe and Lynn Dolan were honored with a special Founder’s Award.
— Content courtesy
of Susan Dolan and
the Dolan family