The run of Grand Forks high school golf success might not be as pronounced as Fargo South's run of 11 state championships in 12 years between 1999 and 2010, but the current mini-dynasty is as impressive as the town has seen in nearly 25 years.
Earlier this month, the Grand Forks high school golf teams dominated the competition at the state Class A tournament at Bois de Sioux Golf Course in Wahpeton.
Grand Forks Red River held off Grand Forks Central to win the Roughriders' third-straight state championship, while Knights senior Cole Hanson took first individually to keep medalist honors in Grand Forks for the second year in a row.
Individually, four of the top six golfers at the state meet were from Grand Forks.
Red River last won three state titles in a row from 1994-96 behind two state individual titles from Shane McMenamy.
One of the top theories for the Grand Forks high school golf success is the age of King's Walk Golf Course. The Arnold Palmer signature 18-hole course opened in 2002, so at 17 years old, the current high schoolers are about the same age as the course and the first local generation to have that resource throughout their life.
"It's not just the course, either, but it's a big practice facility," Red River coach Nathan Olson said. "All of our kids we have now you've seen spend time on the putting greens for hours and hours."
King's Walk is also notoriously windy and local golfers say that learning to tame the gusts is a beneficial skill one can apply elsewhere, too.
Former Red River and current Iowa Western golfer Adam Van Raden, who won state in 2018 to become the first from Grand Forks to win it since McMenamy in 1996, credits the nurturing environment provided by King's Walk Pro Dan Tannehill and Grand Forks Country Club Pro Mike Slominski.
"I think Mike and Dan give us a great opportunity to play every day," said Van Raden, who just completed his freshman season at Iowa Western. "They create a good scene and give us any help whenever we need it. Whenever we want to go play, we don't even need a tee time. If it's open, they let us go. If they're on the range at the same time, they help us out a little bit."
Another key element of the success, according to Van Raden, is supportive teammates.
"When I was playing in seventh and eighth grade, all the upperclassmen took me under their wing and made it comfortable," Van Raden said. "They made it all a good time."
That aspect of Grand Forks' young golfers, Olson said, means success breeds success.
"Like Bismarck wrestling or Red River tennis, it feeds itself," Olson said.
The size of Grand Forks helps, too, Olson said. The Grand Forks kids, Red River or Central, all play together, whereas the playing options in the Fargo-Moorhead area are more diverse and that can spread out teammates to various courses.
Tannahill, who has more than 20 years of teaching experience, provides a boost to youth golfers with a number of junior programs that show kids how to practice the right way, Slominski said.
Slominski, a 2008 Red River graduate, also thinks the Junior PGA events in Minnesota's lake country has been a draw for Grand Forks kids.
"That has driven up the competition," he said. "A lot of these Grand Forks kids go out and play them and it creates a buzz. The Birchmont (in Bemidji) has blown up as far as junior golf. Every flight at the Birchmont is full this year."
Red River's big 2019 season has opened up a new door this June.
The Riders will be heading to Walt Disney World for a PGA of America event in which all 50 state champions are invited to Orlando, Fla.
The competition will be June 27-28. The Riders will play Palm Golf Course one day and Magnolia Golf Course the other day.