One of my first journeys as a travel reporter was in 2007 and it was to The Land of 10,000 Lakes. I went to off-the-GPS-grid stops such as Biwabik, value golf stops like The Classic at Madden’s on Gull Lake, and boated around with hospitable fishing guides like Walleye Dan. Needless to say, I’ve been hooked on Minnesota ever since.
The Classic, which is No. 63 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, can be walked on a weekend for $101. Any Top 100 for something close to $100 is worth tracking down.
Now, almost a decade later, along with the eyeballs of the collective golf world, I’m back in Minnesota for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. And although The Classic is a three-hour drive, there are plenty of options in and around the Minneapolis area. I’ve made my list and added some of your thoughts and Twitter comments (@MattGinellaGC).
Chaska Town Course
Green fee: $50/$69
*Ryder Cup rates are $125 before 2:00; $85 after 2:00.
Distance from Hazeltine: 3 miles.
Hazeltine’s companion course for the 2006 U.S. Amateur, Chaska is famous for Billy Horschel’s 60 in the first round of stroke play. “It was just my day,” said Horschel, who hit one in the water on the 547-yard par-5 18th and still made a birdie. He went out and back in 30. One can only assume the young Gator must’ve flown the tree in the middle of the 280-yard third hole. (Pictured.)
jeremy weisberg @jeremywize
Oh the town course is LEGIT!!!
Andrew Morris @atmorris8
Town Course, great track and great people!
Prior Lake, MN
Green fee: $79
Distance from Hazeltine: 25 miles.
Not far from the highway, Legends was built on 360 acres and promises accessible rates but a “private club feel.” With water on 13 holes, it’s obvious this course is in The Land of 10,000 Lakes. Not to mention, Credit River Creek, which runs through the course.
Jake Weaver @jmweaver785
I’d add Willinger’s to that list. It’s south of Legends.
Amie Burrill @amieburrill
Great list @MattGinellaGC @legendsgolfmn is a favorite! #OnlyinMN
Clark Averill @clark55810
The Legends is the best of the list. Strong Par 3s and plenty of risk/reward holes. Always in great condition.
Keller Golf Course (1929)
Green fee: $43 (Drops to $33 on Oct. 3)
Distance from Hazeltine: 40 miles.
The old and classic parkland course underwent a renovation in 2014. Host of the St. Paul Open from 1930 until 1968, winners include Ray Floyd, Ken Venturi and Tommy Bolt. Keller has also hosted the PGA Championship (1932 and 1954) and the Western Open (1949), which was won by Sam Snead.
el duderino. @MN_Peter
Keller cannot be beat in terms of value.
Green fee: $96. (Fall rate is $60.)
Distance from Hazeltine: 60 miles.
Tom Lehman is the golfing pride of Minnesota, but in 1999, and just across the Wisconsin border, he worked with Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry to build a popular layout on 420 acres of rolling hills. You start with a par 5, 4 & 3, which sets the tone for what will be a challenging but fair and fun day, especially if you avoid the 120 bunkers sprinkled throughout.
Troy Burne, awesome!
Meadows at Mystic Lake
Prior Lake, MN
Green fee: $60
*Ryder Cup rates are $150, which includes a cart and $30 pro-shop credit. After 2:00 it’s $100.
Distance from Hazeltine: 15 miles.
Locals speak fondly of the challenges on the course and at the casino. An assortment of hazards includes 80 bunkers, little lakes, waterfalls and a stream. I would never play in denim, but gotta love the fact they allow (nice) jeans in the spring and fall. Sidenote: The front nine closes on October 6 for bunker renovations.
el duderino. @MN_Peter
As a local I say great list! Baker National, Stone Ridge and Willingers could be added as well.