Willmar Notebook: Aaron Jacobson one of Minnesota's top golf teachers

A testimonial regarding the teaching method of the 1990 Boys Golf Class AA Champion, Aaron Jacobson, a 1991 Willmar graduate, that appears on the Rush Creek Golf Club website:...

Aaron Jacobson

A testimonial regarding the teaching method of the 1990 Boys Golf Class AA Champion, Aaron Jacobson, a 1991 Willmar graduate, that appears on the Rush Creek Golf Club website:

"I took the $225 clinic that Aaron hosted a month ago. My game has improved more than any other help I have ever received. My iron game is so much better I can hardly believe it. I will definitely recommend Aaron any time I can."

- Marv Silverman

Aaron is the Director of Instruction at Rush Creek, a highly-regarded public course in the northwest metro. Twice this century the Maple Grove layout was voted "Best Public Golf Course" by

He's been the head teaching pro since 2009.


His on-line bio states that he has taught seven students who have gone on to "Division I scholarships and coached many others who have played Division II and III college golf. Aaron continues to work with some of the best up and coming juniors in the state of Minnesota. He has also coached multiple local club champions, top local amateur players, and local PGA professionals."

He works with high school players in winter. This year he tutored most of the players on the Rogers team that placed fourth the Class AAA state tournament.

A former player on the Hooter's and Dakota pro tours, he's now been at Rush for 10 years.

"It's a fantastic family here," he told me when reached by phone last week. "The (staff) here really cares about the quality of the experience."

He's strictly a teacher logging 1,500 lesson hours in 2011. He works with juniors and beginners as well at the tournament savvy. Most of his lessons are private 1-on-1. His schedule is year-around since the course has an indoor facility.

His hobbies are fishing and golf and he also plays in the St. Cloud hockey league with ex-Cardinal teammates including Mike Dincau, Andy Martin and John Lee. (Aaron was a captain and All-CLC his senior year).

He and wife Carrie, a native of Savage, have a 3-year old son.

I asked him for his reaction to his cousin Andy Jacobson's first-place finish at the MGA Player's Championship in June.


"He showed he's one of the best golfers in the state and can compete anywhere," said Aaron. "Windsong has huge greens and is open off the tee. That played to his strengths. He's a great putter; his putting drives people crazy."

Gillespie to enter Litchfield Blue HOF

Jeff Gillespie of Willmar will be inducted into the Litchfield Blues Hall of Fame on Sunday at Optimist Park.

The Litchfield High School graduate played second base for the Litchfield amateur team from 1991 to 2003 with a lifetime batting average of .305. He also played for Ridgewater College and Huron (S.D.) State. He concluded his town-team career with the Raymond Rockets.

The Blues will also induct catcher Russ Nathe, who played from 1991-2009. Nathe currently lives in the Twin Cities.

The ceremony will be held at the Blues' 1:30 p.m. game with the Sauk Rapids Jimmy's.

Ross Dahl going into Albert Lea TigersHOF

Long-time Willmar hockey coach Ross Dahl will be induced into the Albert Lea High School Hall of Fame on Saturday at a banquet at the Wedgewood Golf Club.


Dahl has worked with both the boys and girls high school and youth programs since 1989. He was the boys head coach from 1992-1995 and girls head coach 1998-2005. His girls team reached the Class A state tournament in 2002 and again in '03.

Dahl was the leading scorer all three years in high school and ranks second all-time with 61 goals and 64 assists. His high-school coach, Gopher alum Roy Nystrom and third winningest high-school hockey coach, remains a good friend. Ross was a defensive back in football and left-fielder for the Tigers in the spring.

He played a year of junior hockey for the Austin Mavericks. Despite an eye trauma caused by a stick that left him legally blind in his left eye, he went on to play 1 year of DI hockey at Northern Michigan in Marquette and then 3 years at UW-Superior.

Dahl, a physical education/special education teacher at Garfield Learning Center, is the second in his family inducted. His older brother, Craig, former St. Cloud State men's hockey coach, went in with the second class in 2011. Ross is one of eight being honored this year.

Ross, who will be starting his sixth year as boys assistant hockey coach, and wife Kris have three grandchildren.

Coaching Hansons

Tim Hanson and his wife Lori (Roufs) Hanson (both WHS '92) have each resigned head coaching jobs.

Tim, a third-grade teacher at St. Michael, has been head girls coach for 7 years at North Wright County and before that co-head coach of the Wright County Blades for 3 years. His overall record is an impressive 178-79-12.


"It was just time," he wrote of his resignation in an email. "Yes, the job of being head coach is becoming more and more challenging and the time demanded to do a quality job is constant.

"I've enjoyed the 7 years with the River Hawks, a program I started in 2005. We've had 7 successful seasons both on and off the ice with the development of outstanding character and competitive reputation."

He said he leaving with a "a heavy heart" but has children Olivia, 7, and Wyatt, 5, are already on skates. Basketball may be in their future, though. Lori excelled at that sport in both high school and at North Dakota State.

Tim, who coached under John Wilson at Willmar in the 1997-98, was named Class AA Head Coach of the Year in girls hockey in 2010-11, the year the River Hawks reached state.

Lori teaches third grade in the Monticello system. She has coach Magic softball for 12 years, the last four as the head coach. She felt it was a time for a change after another successful spring in which her teams beat such strong programs as Bemidji, Becker and Big Lake. Her last three teams were an even .500 (34-34).

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