Public Golf With Panache!! Fantastic Golf. Gorgeous Facilities. Delicious Food. Top Shelf Liquor. Deer Run Has Panache.

By Libby Mehaffey

You can’t go wrong at “The Run.” Seriously, this place is really that great. When you get there, you might think you’re at a private club – a hip, fun and trendy private club that is.

From the moment you pull up to the clubhouse, you can feel a “vibe” in the air – a “fun” vibe, a “we’re gonna have a good time” vibe, an “I’m going to play awesome golf today” vibe. You know the feeling. It’s super.

“I operate The Run on the feel – the vibe,” said Tom Abts, General Manger and Head Golf Professional at The Run. “If it doesn’t feel right – if it doesn’t feel fun, something’s got to change.” We’re not sure how he tests “the vibe” (a secret science we suppose), but apparently whatever Tom is up to works.

“This place is first-class,” says Kevin Utteriner, avid golfer and founder of “It’s my home course and with good reason – it’s in fantastic shape, it plays fast, the greens are extremely consistent – I’d say it’s the best use of your time (for golf) in the Western suburbs.”

That’s a pretty bold statement from a guy who plays 50 rounds of golf a year at over 40 courses located across the Twin Cities.

A Modern Classic
Not to sound cliché, but Deer Run is fun for everyone. Honestly, the course is enjoyable for players at all skill levels – you name it. The layout is not long (Par 71), but provides golfers with many opportunities to play a variety of shots, rewarding accuracy and intelligence without punishing for poor shots.

Unlike more modern layouts that can penalize players for an errant shot, the classic design of Deer Run provides golfers with manageable options – you might get yourself in trouble, but you can find an out.

No matter where you find your lie, you’ll notice that the condition of the course is superb. Deer Run Superintendent Barry Provo does a fantastic job keeping the fairways and greens in great shape.

Less is More
Most golfers would agree, the less time it takes to play a round, the more enjoyable the round is. Fast play is a big win on all fronts – your wife (or husband) is happy, you’re happy.

Pace of play is one of The Run’s most appreciated traits. Rarely will a foursome push past the four-hour mark when playing 18 holes.

“It’s not a racetrack, but it’s not for lollygagging either,” said Abts. “We keep the course moving at an optimal speed which everyone can enjoy.”

Every Friday The Run holds its famous “Fast Play Fridays” which requires players to make the turn in an hour and fifty-five minutes – or they’re out. That’s right – see ya next time folks.

“We started the Fast Play Fridays back in 1997 when it was taking over 5 hours to play 18 – yuck,” gasped Abts. “So we started Fast Play Fridays. No doubt, the first year was a nightmare, but now people love it – it’s part of the culture at The Run not only on Fridays, but everyday.”

The policy is no joke. On average, The Run politely requests one group a month to step aside. But, honestly, who doesn’t like to get in a great round of golf in under 4 hours – and that’s walking.

A Premium Finish
Once you finish your round, you’ll want to stop in the clubhouse for a smart refresher. Comfortable and classy, the original McKnight Chaska-brick farmhouse clubhouse feels inviting – on a cold day you want to cozy up to the fireplace and have a glass of wine, on a warm day you want to sneak a seat on the breezy patio with a cold beer – on any day, you’ll want to stick around.

Grab a bite. Classic menu items are made with only the best ingredients making a simple dish simply delish.

“During the winter months we do tastings for all of the ingredients put into our menu items – breads, meats, chesses – you name it, then we pick the items that taste the best,” said Abts. “It’s hard to screw something up when you are making food using premium ingredients – not to mention our food and beverage manager Angie Williams is simply fantastic.”

If food’s not your fancy and it’s a cocktail you’re craving, do try. Smart martinis, classic cocktails and a wide number of beers, domestic and imports, are available for the discerning drinker.

Still want to take it up a notch? Deer Run offers a great selection of cigars for the real “player.” Don’t be hater. Try a Montecristo #1 for $11.

With A Cherry On Top
The Run has a staff that fits its vibe – fun. From the bartenders to the grounds crew, the workers are having a good time and it shows. They aren’t writing their names on your table upside down and wearing 100 pieces of flare, but they are friendly, fun and fast – what better service can you get?

Bottomline – We love Deer Run and so will you.

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