Wedgewood Cove – Impressive Property, Outstanding Golf
By Will Brogan
Wedgewood China has built an impressive reputation over the last few centuries as a pottery and dinnerwear giant. Wedgewood Cove Golf Club in Albert Lea, Minnesota, is quickly building a similar reputation over the last few years as a public golf club.
The facility is located slightly over 90 minutes from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and about five minutes from the interchange of Interstates 90 and 35. Situated on the shores of Pickerel Lake, Wedgewood Cove is growing into perhaps the finest golf community in Southern Minnesota.
The Golf Course: The 6,993 yard Wedgewood Cove is as “links” style as the state of Minnesota can offer: wide open, not exactly flat but lacking significant elevation changes, undulating greens requiring outstanding “lag” putting, and very few trees coming into play. The gently rolling terrain provides a great examination of golfers’ abilities while preserving the natural topography of the par 72 course. Only a few years old, Wedgewood Cove is still growing into it’s own. However, like a young promising athlete, its potential is endless. Simply put, Wedgewood Cove is an outstanding place to play golf.
The practice facility sets the tone for the day from the very beginning. It is certainly adequate in size and distance, though it is somewhat “tighter” than a typical range for a course of this caliber. Use this to your advantage to “get in the zone” before hitting the first tee box. The putting green is so incredibly similar to the greens on the actual course, if the grounds crew wanted to lengthen the ninth hole for even more of a challenge, the transition would be seamless!
There is a well proportioned mix of hazards featured on the course, providing a nice variety of challenges throughout the round. 56 bunkers spot the Gill Design layout, including an Oakmont-like TEN bunkers on the 572 yard 18th hole! Water makes its presence felt – in some form or another – on all but two holes. Further, thick native grass stands at the ready to swallow any wayward shot, and the 392 yard par 4 second hole has several tall trees that will certainly alter any approach to the green.
Perilous pin placements are also a notable test found at Wedgewood Cove. If there was ever a course to adhere to the philosophy of “aiming at the center of the green, not the pin”, this is it. Like the rest of the golf course, the greens are in superb condition, firm and fast at its finest!
Despite these challenges, Wedgewood Cove never feels overwhelming. Rather, the course fits the “tough but very fair” description that the touring pros often use to describe the courses that host their tournaments. GPS yardage units on each cart allow you to navigate the course to steer clear of the dangers – at least with your cart! Still, if you focus and hit your target, you’ll be rewarded. Miss your target, and you’ll need that GPS and some strong mental toughness to recover successfully.
Exceptional Clubhouse and Dining: Question: how many clubhouses have a bar, a restaurant, and a large banquet room in the same facility? The answer: quite a few. However, how many have a bar, a restaurant, and a large banquet room – and they are all separate rooms? Not so many! Typically, a multi-purpose room or two can be converted from a restaurant to a banquet hall with a few tweaks. The clubhouse at Wedgewood Cove, on the other hand, is home to “The Cove”, which is a very well stocked bar, “The Wedgewood”, a complete restaurant with an exquisite menu, and “The Vineyard”, a 480-seat ballroom which is more than perfect for a wedding reception.
Speaking of weddings, the clubhouse features a “full length” balcony that overlooks the golf course, and “The Vineyard” ballroom has no room rental fee. In addition, outdoor weddings are often conducted on the lakefront, providing a picturesque setting for that special day. The clubhouse staff, led by Head Golf Professional Donnie Teeter, is the definition of “Minnesota Nice”. With first class dining, a spacious and well stocked pro shop, an exceptionally kind staff, and pristine cleanliness, what more could you ask for in a clubhouse?
Growing community: The official title of the property is “Wedgewood Golf Club & Estates”. While very few homes have been built on the plot as of September 2011, there are dozens of home sites already planned that will snake their way through the sprawling golf course.
Taking after similar courses throughout the Gopher State, Wedgewood Cove is aiming to truly become Minnesota’s next great “golf community”, and make Twin Cities golfers take a good hard look at Albert Lea. With golf course and lakefront lots still available, now is a great time to take that hard look at Wedgewood Cove.