StoneRidge Golf Club – The Complete “Resort” Experience
By E. Nolan
A Golf Resort, by definition, offers the luxurious combination of lodging, dining, amenities and golfing at the same place. StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater doesn’t offer on-site lodging, but through journalistic creativity I’ve managed to regard it as a build-your-own-golf resort experience just the same.
I have escaped for many an awesome round at StoneRidge (easily one of the best golf courses in the Twin Cities). For those reasons, I consider StoneRidge the best of all worlds, and call it the “place that makes everyone’s day.”
Year in and year out StoneRidge Golf Club is esteemed (by the major golf publications) as one of the Top 10 Public Courses in the state of Minnesota. Add that to the fact that it’s also always regarded as one of the 3 Best Courses in the Twin Cities (in everyone’s book), and StoneRidge is the host of the 100th Annual Minnesota State Open this year. So you understand why their tee times are in such high and steady demand.
As a Golf Travel coordinator for several companies around the country, I’ve sent dozens of golfers to StoneRidge for their inaugural visits, and (literally) every one of them has made a point to request it in successive visits. (Several of them have contributed to StoneRidge’s 5-Star rating on Golfadvisor.com) That testimonial, more than anything I’ve experienced personally, makes it such an easy recommendation for all golfers. StoneRidge always delivers.
Note that I’m not listing an area restaurant for the dining aspect of the “resort” experience. That’s because you should be eating all your meals at Danny’s at StoneRidge. For lack of a better description, Danny’s is an “upscale casual dining experience” with a lively, fun atmosphere and sensational food.
They have a calendar of Live Music, performed Wednesdays throughout the summer on their award winning patio, Fridays and Saturdays year round; and what I would contend is one of the Twin Cities’ best Sunday breakfasts. (I haven’t tried everything on their Sunday Menu yet, but… there’s still time.) If I had the space to tell you more about the Chocolate Turtle Mousse Cake, Dutch Chocolate Martini, and other lunch and dinner specials I sure would, but hopefully their mention will lead to your investigation and you’ll venture over to take in the indoor/outdoor pleasures provided by this place.
The heart of the best golf resort experiences is the golf, and StoneRidge proudly and sufficiently capitalizes there. I’ve mentioned the accolades and merits already, so let me elaborate on the club’s strengths. Designed by Bobby Weed and opened in 2000, the 100% bentgrass facility is Links-style with plenty of deep bunkers (158 bunkers in all) and a rural, Scotland feel thanks to the fescue-lined fairways, minimal home interference, fast and firm play, and large, open, receptive greens (7,500 square feet in average) with plenty of slope and mounding.
The many signatures start at the opening hole – a great, short, downhill par 4, and never really let up. The 7th “Redan” and “Island” 9th are great par 3’s before you drop down the hill along the lake to my personal favorite hole – #10 – and the “signature barn” hole at #11. As a portfolio of 18 holes, Bobby Weed did a terrific job of diversifying. While stretching to 7,013 yards, there are a number of reachable par 4’s, plenty of risk/reward shots, and far too many holes where playing them once isn’t nearly enough. There is as much challenge as there is playability, meaning every level of golfer can find a sufficient test for their game. With six tee box options, thanks to two combo sets, you can also diversify and play the course a number of different ways.
Beyond the course, StoneRidge is a great place to develop or enhance your game, (instruction available on request) with their 30,000 square foot practice facility with four target greens, practice bunkers and an 8,000 square foot practice green. And, as an added bonus, their beautiful clubhouse features Chef Ron’s famous homemade chocolate chip cookies. (Now you have to stop by.)
An increasingly popular host for golf events, StoneRidge uses Danny’s talented chef and staff to maximum benefit in delivering exceptional food service for weddings, corporate outings and banquets of all varieties. (Plenty of testimonials provided on their website.)
Bottom Line: StoneRidge is an exceptional “Golf Resort” in my opinion, but best of all, it can be exceptional at whatever you want it to be.