Perhaps because Minnesotans spend so much time looking at snow-covered ground, they’re particularly passionate about the greens – golfing greens, that is. As soon as the first melt comes – even if it doesn’t melt completely – aficionados are checking golf websites and calling their clubhouses for tee times. As a result, there are a lot of beautiful courses, both private and public, all across the state. Here are a few of the most popular Minnesota golf courses – check them out before the snow returns.
Deacon’s Lodge at Breezy Point Resort, Brainerd
Deacons’ Lodge was named one of Golf Digest’s “100 Greatest Public Golf Courses,” and for a few good reasons. This Arnold Palmer-designed, par-72, 18-hole championship course is an expansive 500 acres, stretching across forest, wetlands, and lakes. Situated in the luxurious Breezy Point resort, it’s one of the best Minnesota golf courses for both beginners and experienced golfers. Check out the nearby Whitebirch and Traditional courses for additional play.
The Classic, Madden’s Resort, Brainerd
The name says it all: This course is for traditionalists who love a classic game. Designed to be a walker’s course, it’s dotted with giant oak trees and the beauty that only Northern Minnesota can provide. The Classic course butts up against the lovely Gull Lake – considered one of the most beautiful in the Land O’ Lakes.
Giant’s Ridge, Biwabik
There are two places to golf at Giant’s Ridge in the northern reaches of Biwabik, Minnesota: The Legend and the Quarry, both of which have found their way onto Golf Digest‘s Top 100 list in the last year. The Quarry is a marvel of reinvention – a nod to the Iron Range’s mining heritage as it was created out of an industrial site. The lauded Legends, meanwhile, is known for its views, situated within the Superior National Forest.
Dacotah Ridge, Morton
Designed by revered architect Rees Jones, Dacotah Ridge is a sweeping course set amongst the rolling prairie of southwestern Minnesota. Follow Wabasha creek, wetlands, a 14-acre lake, and giant trees as you drive and putt to your heart’s content.
Just a half-hour south of Minneapolis/St. Paul sits Willingers, a course that feels completely secluded from the city. Water, 60 acres of protected wetlands, and 40 acres of towering forest line the edges of this course, designed by the renowned Gill/Miller team. This course is particularly known for its 18th hole, which is a 566-yarder and features a 20,000-square-foot beach bunker, which buffers the green from the lake below the clubhouse.
Rush Creek, Maple Grove
One of the most popular Minnesota golf courses among locals, Rush Creek is a nature-filled course just 20 minutes west of Minneapolis. This championship golf course has hosted several LPGA Tour events and was redone in 2007. You’ll work up an appetite on this links-style course, which is perfect because the fancy burgers in the clubhouse are universally beloved.
Loggers Trail, Stillwater
Loggers Trail is a 170-acre course located near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, close to the picturesque town of Stillwater. You’ll find bent grass fairways and large greens, and a mix of both links-style and heavily wooded holes. Chosen by Explore Minnesota as one of their dream-18 holes, Hole #4 is well worth a game.
The Meadows at Mystic Lake
First a nine-hole, then an 18-hole privately owned course, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community purchased the land and re-vamped it with the help of course architects Garrett Gill and Paul Miller, opening the newly renovated championship course in 2005. Named a Top 10 New Golf Course by Golf Digest in 2006, The Meadows at Mystic Lake features bentgrass fairways, 13 holes with water, and 20 fountain features, all surrounded by native Minnesota prairie plantings and wildflowers.
Chaska Town Course
Because it’s private, you might not be able to get on the heavy-hitter Hazeltine course, but you can get on the next best thing: the neighbouring Chaska Town Course. In fact, they’ve shared their courses to host specialty championships. Designed by Arthur Hills, its bentgrass green is fringed with oak groves, prairie, and marshlands, giving you an insider’s look at what the heartland looked like before urbanization.
Baker National Golf Course Medina
This beautiful, natural championship course is set in the midst of the Minneapolis exurbs in the Baker Park Reserve. It takes its care of its 210 acres of grounds very seriously – in fact, Baker National Golf Course became a designated “Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” – a program created in conjunction with the United States Golf Association to build beautiful courses that also encourage land conservation and preservation.
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Have you played any of these Minnesota golf courses? Which are your favourites? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Katie Dohman