Snoopy Bunker at St. Paul’s Highland National pays tribute to cartoonist Schulz
Legendary cartoonist caddied and played golf often at his hometown municipal golf course
Charles Schulz made his fame and fortune as a cartoonist, but he enjoyed playing golf in his hometown of St. Paul, Minn., nearly as much as he enjoyed making people laugh with his Peanuts characters for 50 years.
Schulz died in 2000, but his most famous cartoon character, Snoopy, lives on with a specially designed bunker on the 15th hole at Highland National Golf Course, the public course where Schulz caddied as a young boy and played golf throughout much of his life.
The character design was incorporated into the major course renovations that were completed in 2005.
“Charles Schulz was a huge figure in the St. Paul area and he loved golf,” said Paul Miller, who collaborated on the course work with Garrett Gill. “We wanted a way to honor his contributions to golf in the area, and Mrs. Schulz liked the idea. At first, we thought of doing a Snoopy-shaped pond, but the plans evolved into a Snoopy bunker. And it works to define the landing area of the hole.”
The 15th hole is a 424-yard straightaway par-4, and the Snoopy bunker is clearly visible to traffic driving by on the neighborhood street.
“A lot of people will come by to look at it,” said Denise Kispert, a local resident who has been the golf course superintendent at Highland National for the past 20 years. “It defines our golf course.”
But Highland National offers much more than a tribute bunker to the city’s favorite son. The 27-hole facility welcomes more than 30,000 golf rounds over the short Minnesota season. It also has hosted qualifiers for several state championships.
And it has been a great place to work for Kispert, a 20-year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, who started at the golf course as a summer intern almost 40 years ago.