Matt’s Top 10 – Public Golf Practice Ranges
By Matt Vandelac
My ideal ‘dream’ range would be close to home, is comfortable, quiet and has real grass to hit from. The targets (they can be signs, poles, trees or even an old car or piece of machinery) should be visible. It helps to have two ends and be positioned north and south to minimize the sun’s glare and let you hit into the wind when you can. If there is a short game area that lets you chip and putt that’s a good thing and if you can work on uneven lies and bunker shots you’re really in business.
1. Hiawatha, Minneapolis: You can practice all your shots on great turf. Chipping, pitching, and putting all within a few steps. Even without the old shade tree on the tee, it’s still the best around.
2. Troy Burne, Hudson: Great turf and unlimited balls with greens fee. Make a day out of it.
3. Chaska Town Course, Chaska: Just like the golf course, there was a plan for everything. You can practice your whole game here.
4. Baker National, Medina: Something about hitting a ball from up high is pretty cool. Hit the barn and I owe you a round.
5. Keller, St. Paul: Like the golf course: historic, thoughtful, and comfortable.
6. Edinburgh USA, Brooklyn Park: Good range, unbelievable short game area and putting green.
7. River Oaks, Cottage Grove: Good turf, targets and both ends come in handy when the wind blows.
8. Columbia, Minneapolis: Good turf, shorter targets will help distances for wedges.
9. Links at Northfork, Ramsey: Can practice low running shots you’ll need on the golf course. Awesome putting green.
10. New Richmond Golf Club, New Richmond, WI: New facility is a dramatic upgrade! Tee is elevated just the right amount to see every ball land and the turf is impeccable.
My tip for practice once you locate one of these beauties: Practice JUST like you play to take your range swing to the course. You’ll be glad you did!