A guide to golf in Minnesota
This post has been written in association with golfbreaks.com
Minnesota is known as the “Land of the Lakes” and was recently the home state of the 2016 Ryder Cup, which was held at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Thanks to large expanses of forests, prairies and lakes, Minnesota is a popular destination for holiday makers and golfers alike.
Golfers will find more than 500 courses scattered throughout Minnesota, with 90% of those being open to the public. In fact, Minneapolis boats to have the most golfers per capita than any other US City, so where better to choose to play golf than this golf loving state?
The season tends to stretch between April and November, as arrival of summer brings long days and warm air. However, when fall arrives, the beautiful changing colours and mild temperatures are also an attractive option.
As mentioned earlier, there are more than 500 courses across this golf mad state and no matter where you choose to play; you will have an unforgettable time. Here are some recommendations if you were to travel to this great golfing state.
Stoneridge Golf Club
This 7,013-yard parkland course only opened to the public in 2000 but has since been rated the number one public access golf course in the Twin Cities according to Golfweek Magazine.
Located just a 30-minute drive east of Minneapolis city centre, Stoneridge Golf Club offers a Bobby Weed designed, links style golf course that features rolling bent grass fairways surrounded by native fescue grass rough. Thanks to the size of the greens and the numerous tee boxes, every time you play this course it will offer a completely different challenge. This course is without a doubt a must play when golfing in Minneapolis.
Cragun’s Resort and Hotel
At Cragun’s Resort and Hotel there are three incredible Cragun’s Legacy Courses that stand out among the many exceptional Brainerd golf courses on the Brainerd Golf Trail. The three courses to choose from are the Dutch’s Legacy Course, Bobby’s Legacy Course and a nine hole par-3 course.
The 6,879-yard Dutch’s Legacy course is regarded as the crown jewel of Brainerd golf courses and Golf Digest rated it 5 stars, which makes it one of only 24 five-star public golf courses in the US. The Robert Trent Jones Jr design showcases a skilful blend of par 3s, 4s and 5s, resulting in an exciting level of playability for all levels of golfers.
The Bobby’s Legacy course is a shot-makers dream as it features elevated tees and a beautiful harmony of shorter holes with longer, more traditional par-4s and 5s. The beauty of the dramatic lake vistas will take your breath away that is for sure. This is a great resort to visit if you’re going away with a large group.
The Legends Golf Club
The Legends Golf Club, if I wanted a better way to put it, is legendary. The club is regarded as one of Minnesota’s premier public courses and is a challenge that demands intelligent course management on every hole. Although, the GPS golf carts that are on offer help make this task a little less monumental.
The Gill Miller design is carved from an expansive natural setting, featuring a 30 acre lake, creeks, wetlands, ponds and dramatic elevation changes. The longest hole at this course is the 621-yard par 5 16th, although each hole has five sets off tees if you aren’t feeling brave enough to tackle each hole at their longest distance.
Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Club
Opening in July 2000, Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Club has quickly become a favourite around golfers in the metro area and is just a 45-minute drive from downtown Minneapolis. The course resembles those in north Minnesota and the Carolinas thanks to its natural wetlands, rolling terrain, elevated tees, undulating greens and numerous well-placed bunkers.
Standing at 6,961-yards, this 18 hole parkland course is one of Minnesota’s premiere golf courses and has been rated number one in the Twin Cities Golf Guide. The challenging layout won’t quite seem as tough as you take in the breath-taking views. Spreading out over 170 acres of land with 11 holes carved through the woods below a ridge to the other seven holes, this is one of the most scenic courses in Minnesota.
Other notable courses
• Prestwick Golf Club
• Deacons Lodge Golf Course
• The Preserve Golf Course at Grand View Lodge
• Classic Course at Madden’s Golf Club
Where to stay?
Whether it is in the heart of the bustling city of Minneapolis or at one of the many golf resorts, you will almost certainly have a comfortable night sleep in Minnesota. Here are some of our recommended hotels and resorts to choose from.
Cragun’s Resort 4*
Cragun’s 4* Resort is one of Minnesota’s largest resorts and is in a blissful location on Gull Lake. With 3,700 feet of sandy shoreline, two pools, 54 holes of golf and endless hiking, you are guaranteed a fun filled, yet relaxing holiday. What is even better is that there is world-class golf right on your doorstep.
This hotel is perfect for those who aren’t looking for a central city location as it is a two and a half hour drive from Minneapolis, but just 20 minutes away from Brainerd.
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 5*
If you opt to stay in the swanky Hyatt Regency 5* hotel in Minneapolis you will be able to experience the best of the city, as well as having a extremely comfortable sleep. The incredible array of Twin Cities attractions are right on the doorstep of the hotels beautiful, sleek mid-century Scandinavian décor reception area so you won’t be short of something to do when you aren’t on the golf course.
Connected by skyline to downtown restaurants, shopping and entertainment, as well as being only 30 minutes away from numerous golf courses, this hotel will be hard to beat. Guests who choose to stay in this hotel will have the option of playing some of the finest golf courses in Minneapolis including The Wilds GC, The Legends GC, Ridges at Sandcreek GC, Prestwick GC and Stoneridge GC.
Grand View Lodge 4*
Grand View Lodge in the Brainerd region of Minnesota offers a very different type of accommodation. As you can guess from the name, Grand View Lodge offers an array of 4* lodges that are both comfortable and comforting and somewhere that you can unwind after an exhilarating day on the lake or on the golf course.
The lodges are spread across several hundred acres to provide maximum privacy, enjoyment, scenic views and convenience to guests. Grand View Lodge is the most awarded golf resort in Minnesota, and with 45 holes of golf to choose from and luxurious accommodation, it is no wonder why. On top of the golf and Gull Lake, the resort also offers a selection of bars and restaurants, gym, spa, indoor swimming pool and an outdoor swimming pool.
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel 4*
For the party goers among us, this hotel may be perfect for you. Although you can relax in one of the 586 newly renovated rooms, this hotel’s most exciting features are arguably the casino, golf course and sports & fitness centre. Located just 30 minutes south of Minneapolis, you are never far away from the downtown entertainment.
The Meadows Golf Club at Mystic lake is possibly the first golf course on your list when staying here and to add, it is a nationally acclaimed public golf course. This course offers unique, challenging and scenic golf in the perfect location just 30 minutes from Minneapolis. Be prepared for a battle as this course plays at just over 7,100 yards and can be even tougher when the wind starts to blow.
Other notable hotels/resorts
• Loews Minneapolis Hotel 5*
What to do?
With so many courses in the area, you may not have time to discover what else this great state has to offer. However, for those who would like a break from the rolling desert fairways, here’s some other activities to do when in the area.
Brainerd International Raceway
Fancy yourself as a bit of a motor head? Then you should definitely consider a trip to Brainerd International Raceway. This raceway sees the best bracket drag racers and Muscle Car Series drag racers compete here every year, with a full schedule available online if you’re looking to plan your holiday around this.
For those who have a real need for speed, you can book several packages that allow you to experience what it’s like to compete in a drag race. At Brainerd International Raceway you have the opportunity to ride along in a dragster, or for those who want more you can even drive one yourself. This is an experience not to be missed.
For many golfers, beer and golf go hand in hand so why not experience the Roundhouse Brewery if you are staying in Brainerd. The company craft superior beers in a uniquely historic setting and with the highest quality ingredients and a passion for the pursuit of an exceptional pint, Roundhouse Brewery aim to brew and distribute unsurpassed beer.
The Roundhouse Brewery experience allows guests to connect with the company’s brewing methods and the history of the railroad town. Here, you will taste not only great beer but have an exceptional time as well.
For those staying in Minneapolis, you’d be a fool not to visit Target Field – the home of the Minneapolis Twins baseball team who compete in Major League Baseball in the American League Central Division. The ballpark only opened in 2010 and is one of the more modern stadiums in MLB. It would be rude to go to America and not watch a game of baseball wouldn’t it?
Minneapolis’ nightlife is very much a bustling one and is fit for everyone from that rowdy stag party to the family looking for a quiet bar to enjoy a cocktail in. The busy bars are a great place to unwind after a challenging round of golf, and for those who fancy staying out until the early hours, there are plenty of clubs that are open until the early hours of the morning.
Alternatively, the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre is also a very popular venue. Established comedians, and even up and coming ones, will have you laughing way into the night.
The Riverview Theatre in Minneapolis offers a somewhat alternative experience to a night at the movies as we know it nowadays. Everything from Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters to niche art films are presented here, in a classic auditorium. Even though they feature state-of-the-art projection and sound systems, customers can enjoy the opportunity to “step back in time” and experience movie going as it was in the 50s.
How to get there?
The average flight time from London to Minneapolis St Paul airport is almost nine hours, but do not let the flight time put you off. Getting to downtown Minneapolis from the airport is quick and easy as just 11 miles sits between the two. For those who haven’t rented a car, the Metro Transit’s Blue Line is the cheapest way to make the short journey and arguably most convenient. Taxi’s are in plentiful supply but a fare will set you back around $40.
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