Bunker Hills Golf Club – Making A New Memory

By Tim Cotroneo

A lot can happen in 20 years. Would I even recognize her? All sorts of thoughts ran through this writer’s head as he drove into Bunker Hills ample parking lot for the first time in ages.

From the outside, Bunker Hills appears to still be a beauty. I was impressed by the log cabin and stone exterior gracing the club’s event center, their Harvest Grill restaurant, and the Pro Shop. This golf course, which opened in 1968, seemed to have taken excellent care of herself. From the outside, I was seeing attributes that I had somehow missed before.

With my first step inside I was slightly taken aback. This is when the first of my many “wow” moments would occur. Two decades ago, I wasn’t as respectful witnessing Bunker’s one-of-a-kind historical display. After too many years away, I discovered that a trip to Coon Rapids was an opportunity to make a long-standing golf memory.

Home of the PGA/MGA Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame
As someone who has played and watched golf since my teenage days, I’ve developed an appreciation for the history of the game. Bunker Hills is as good as it gets when it comes to making a connection with golf from yesteryear. Roughly forty-yards of wall space is dedicated to photos, trophies, antique golf clubs, and memorabilia dripping with golf history.

I read about the Minnesota Section of the PGA, which dates back to 1917. I learned that a golfer named Len Mattson ruled the Minnesota PGA Championship from 1947 to 1950. Another plaque revealed that Gunnard Johnson won an award called the Teaching Trophy in 1953. The 1977 cover of Golf World was emblazoned with a photo of Minnesota’s Hollis Stacy winning the women’s U.S. Open Championship. In 1923, Jimmy Johnston represented Minnesota in the U.S. Walker Cup.

Golf club aficionados will love the autographed one iron Tom Lehman maneuvered like an orchestra baton in his 1996 British Open victory. This iron’s history is humble when compared to an 1898 blade called the “mid-iron” played by Robert Foulis, the first professional at St. Paul’s Town & Country Club.

Harvest Bar & Grill
The northwoods “log cabin feel” of Bunker Hills continues as you check out their Harvest Grill bar and restaurant. The bar’s classic wood surface and the restaurant’s impressive stone fireplace create a welcoming ambiance, whether you’re a golfer or simply someone seeking a great place to have a drink or a meal.

An expansive glass wall in the back of the restaurant frames a picturesque view of Bunker’s West Course 18th green. On a perfect 78-degree July day, I was drawn to the deck area and envisioned how this relaxing space gives new meaning to the term “happy hour.”

27 Championship Holes, Executive 9, GolfTEC, and New Short Game Facility
If optimum course conditions are your idea of a golf high, then Bunker Hills will have you standing on tiptoes. For those who play both public and private courses during our blink-of-an-eye summer season, it’s safe to say that Bunker Hills conditioning rivals courses with three digit greens fees.

These extraordinary golf standards play a part in explaining why Bunker Hills’ Men’s Club is over 400 players strong and why the ladies are currently at 200-plus players. Tim Anderson, Bunker Hills Director of Operations, attributes much of his course’s popularity to the fact that Bunker offers 27, rather than 18, holes. “Golfers love the opportunity to change things up. The extra nine is also a great option for tournament play,” Anderson said.

The biggest 2013 news coming from Bunker Hills is their July grand opening of GolfTEC’s in-house training facility. GolfTEC offers a combined indoor/outdoor training and club fitting experience. Golfers can fine tune their game with the latest in indoor simulation technology and then presto, hit shots outdoors when the GolfTEC coach opens up the bay wall leading to the Bunker Hills targeted driving range.

GolfTEC will also be on hand when Bunker Hills unveils their new expanded short game facility on the north side of their driving range. The entire Bunker Hills staff is thrilled with the training options that will be at the fingertips of Midwest golfers.

Don’t Wait 20 Years
I live an easy 15 miles from Bunker Hills. After visiting my long lost friend, I wondered, “How is it that I let 20 years pass without reconnecting with this beauty?”

If you’ve never visited the PGA/MGA Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame, go to Bunker Hills. If you’re looking for a northwoods restaurant experience or a happy hour deck where real golf is always on the big screen, go to Bunker Hills. Most of all, if you haven’t played golf at one of the Twin Cities’ finest courses in 20 years, 20 months, or 20 days, then please go to Bunker Hills.

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