Rush Creek Invests Big In Junior Golf
By R.J. Smiley
Rush Creek Golf Club is recognized as one of the top two or three public access golf courses in the Twin Cities area. Rush Creek has hosted the USGA Public Links Championship and many MGA and Minnesota Section PGA tournaments. Rush Creek works hard to maintain their golf course in near perfect condition, but Rush Creek is more than just a place to play golf. The clubhouse is a perfect venue for weddings and the Sunday brunch is a weekly spectacle. Since its inception Rush Creek’s learning academy has been the place for adults and junior golfers to get quality instruction.
Fast forward to today. The golf industry is suffering from stagnant growth and the recession has caused many golfers to reduce the number of rounds during the short Minnesota season. The golf industry knows that the long term health of the game depends on attracting and, even more importantly, retaining new golfers. Rush Creek’s management, for the past few years, has actively promoted junior golf with hundreds of kids enrolling in a variety of classes and clinics throughout the summer. Where do these new golfers play golf? Rush Creek’s 18-hole course is too long and hard (and too expensive) for beginning golfers to enjoy. Note: Rush Creek allows kids to play golf free with an adult who pays a green fee on Sunday afternoons, after 5:00 pm.
So the question is, where do they learn to play the game? Rush Creek retained local golf course architect, Kevin Norby, to come up with a solution to the problem created after kids have learned to grip the club properly, swing the club like a pro and even hit some good shots. The solution to this dilemma, a new Par-3 Course.
The Par-3 Course opens this summer. Located just North of the parking lot, the course was designed with nine greens and three sand bunkers and no defined tees (some call them tee boxes). The course will be maintained to the same exacting standards as the “big course” and will have one big fairway/teeing area combination. Each day the tees will be moved to different locations within the large closely mowed fairway. The holes will measure from 50 to 150 yards. Each morning the Par-3 Course will be reserved for kids participating in the lesson programs or kids who have graduated and just want to learn to play. Afternoons the Par-3 course will be open to the public for a nominal green fee. Management expects to have beginner leagues for men and women who want to learn to play golf but are intimated by regulation golf courses. The Par-3 Course sounds like a place where serious golfers will go to work on that always elusive short game.
It’s obvious the owners at Rush Creek believe in supporting the PGA’s philosophy of growing the game of golf for the young and new golfers in the Twin Cities. With their investment in this fabulous new Par 3 and with General Manager, Derek Stendalh’s, leadership this new little gem at Rush Creek will be on many player’s “must play” list this summer.