Cannon Golf Club – Spectacular Golf In Cannon Falls
By E. Nolan
Long daily commutes can be quite discouraging. For those motorists and golf fanatics who have to make such a commute to/from work through Cannon Falls (just south of Minneapolis) it has to be all the more disheartening. You can’t help but notice the gorgeous setting to the west of Highway 52 on the north end of the town (I don’t mean the Dairy Queen)…that gorgeous scenery being the Cannon Golf Club. Go ahead and honk in jealousy. The golfers will likely just ignore you. Odds are they’re having too much fun.
Cannon Golf Club isn’t the easiest to get to (although it’s not hard either), and the locals/regulars prefer it that way. It feels so much more private, so much more exclusive, and collectively all the more peaceful because of that. But don’t let that fool you into thinking you can just walk on. This place is popular, and “well visited” on a daily basis. Call ahead for sure. Their rates are competitive and, as golf in this area goes, quite value packed. They spread their tee times out to give everyone more space, and make the rounds more enjoyable, but they fill those tee times up. The restaurant is always lively and busy, (with a great Friday Night Fish Fry) and everyone seems to know everyone else. And then there’s the course itself, the only reason you’re still reading.
An elevated first tee shot drops you softly into the first of two wide-open warm-up holes, before the third tee shot (uphill and over a marsh) and approach shot (don’t go even four inches long) test you, preparing you for the most dangerous singular swing on the entire course.
Standing on the #4 tee you and your little round dimpled friend can’t help but be drawn into the river coursing to your right, or yanked into the trees lining your left. If you hit your tee shot straight you deserve a free round from all your playing partners (or a new car). Trust me, you can’t do it. We watched eight straight golfers hit either the trees or the river, and it looked like so much fun we did the same. The river, and running water, remains a fixture in your head from that point on, even though they don’t really come into play again until #10. Between four and “then” though you’ll encounter two very entertaining Par 3’s at #7 and #9. You won’t overlook either, believe me. Seven is a beauty, nine is a…well…she’s a mean spirited beauty.
All that said, the front, as wild and fun as it may be, pales in comparison to the character and amusement of the back nine. And that ride begins on the super entertaining 10th, a two-shot par four that concludes with a nerve wracking approach over a quickly moving creek to a small curvy green. And while 11, to this point, is the best tee shot on the course (your ball will carry further than you think) that sentiment only lasts until the 12th tee, where the signature hole will make you take pause…and probably, grudgingly, a mulligan. A picturesque Par 3, all carry over water, to a peninsula green. It’s stunning all day long, but late summer/early fall at sunset, it’s unforgettable. I know, I know, I’m using a lot of adjectives, but they’re honestly well deserved. It’s not that the rest of the course isn’t great, (the closing stretch is actually the best scoring run you’ll have), but the 10-12 threesome is the pinnacle of your Cannon Falls golf round, and well worth every water ball.
After a while so many of these smaller local golf courses begin to look and feel the same. Not so with Cannon Golf Club. From the very first tee box the immaculate conditions set it apart from the other courses in Southeast Minnesota. Their greens are firm, smooth, and true, perfection of pace clearly an emphatic focal point here. There is just the right amount of trees, just the right amount of water, just the right amount of mental hazards, and more than the expected amount of fun here. PGA Professional Greg Lee is well respected by his staff, always helping someone somewhere, and respected (if not revered) by the regulars for the manner in which he operates this pleasant surprise of a golf course.
I mentioned the freeway, Highway 52, in the opening paragraph, as a note to all of you who have driven through Cannon Falls and thought about golfing this course, and not to suggest that it’s actually a distraction on the course. You’ll barely notice it. The commuters though, if you’re like me, aren’t that lucky. You can’t miss it, and can’t help wishing you were out here. And you could be. Just call in sick and take the next exit. Cough cough. There…don’t you feel better? Thought so.