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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Cragun's 2016

Fairways & Greens
June 23, 2017

Ramsey County Golf - Green Spaces, Fun Places
Manitou Ridge
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Manitou Ridge
Ponds at Battle Creek
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Ponds at Battle Creek
RJ Smiley


If the five golf facilities in the Ramsey County Parks and Recreation stable of courses were a poker hand they would have a Full House! Definition of a Full House: three of a kind and a pair.

Three Of A Kind
Three fine 18-hole golf courses are available to Ramsey County residents and non-residents of the Twin Cities Area. Keller Golf Course oozes Minnesota golf history. The newly remodeled Keller has hosted more professional golf tournaments (both men's and women's) than all other Minnesota golf courses combined. The beautiful mature trees and outstanding turf along with a variety of tee locations make Goodrich Golf Course a favorite for all players. Manitou Ridge Golf Course gives its customers a panoramic view of the entire metro area from one of the highest points in the county. This challenging golf course offers golfers a chance to really test their skills.

The Pair
Two excellent 9-hole courses with superb driving ranges offer golfers, who want to learn the game, a choice of fun golf course/learning centers to sharpen their skills. Whether golfers are looking for a quality practice area or a regulation 9-hole course for a quick nine, The Ponds at Battle Creek fills the bill. Load the family into the SUV and head for Island Lake Golf And Training Center. Island Lake has something for all members of the family. Play 9-hole of par-3 golf, putt on the 18-hole miniature golf course, hit range balls, take a lesson or just have lunch.

Keller Golf Course
Since the totally re-modeled old course was opened in July of 2013, only a hand-full of tee times have passed unused. In a recent conversation with golf professional, Mark Foley, I learned that even the old timers, who had played the original course for decades, love the Richard Mandel renovation. Though the routing remains basically the same, the site lines are much improved. The bunkering is beautiful and not too penal. For those who have not visited Keller since the makeover - the oak tree on # 4 is still there along with its cousin on #7. The new version of the old Keller does yield some low scores, especially for the higher handicap players. With several sets of tees the course is manageable. A friend who played Keller last week, boasted an eagle on the par-5 10th resulting in a score of 79. The course is great, but the new clubhouse is even better. At first glance driving into the parking lot, golfers would not even know that the clubhouse is entirely new. The look is the same, but the new version is three times larger. During a recent round my foursome spent 30 minutes and two beers just looking at pictures of past champions of professional events at Keller. It was like a who's who in golf! Golfers with an eye for a photo-op will want to have their camera ready because the beauty of the layout is still the most stunning feature of Keller.

Goodrich Golf Course
This fine old golf course is not on the must play "bucket list" for most golf fanatics, but I will tell you from personal experience that Goodrich is a good test of golf. In the recently contested Minnesota Public Golf Association Senior Championship (a tournament for the best senior players who play at public venues), even par for 36 holes won the tournament. The conditions were perfect! At just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, one would think that the course would be easy. And it is easy, average players love it. But the golf course can frustrate really good players. It has just enough trouble lurking on every hole that a bogie can jump up at any time. Average golfers have no trouble playing to their handicap - good players leave feeling that they left a few on the course. In this writers opinion the par-5 14th hole is one of the best pure golf holes in Minnesota.

Manitou Ridge Golf Course
Situated on some of the highest land in Ramsey County, Manitou Ridge (ridge as in high ground) seems to always be windy. When the additional element of wind is added to the overall length and always fast, and very smooth, greens at Manitou Ridge, the golf course is truly a challenge. Regular players don't seem to have a problem and those who visit this fine and now mature golf course on occasion always enjoy the course where all elements come together. The combination of wind, water, sand and length make the course a true test. Golfers who have never played this golf course should spend an afternoon learning the nuances of the course. As you think your round is about over, you stand on the 17th tee facing 180 yards over water into the wind - if you make three on this hole your day will be successful no matter what your score.

The Ponds At Battle Creek
The golf course development is a joint effort of the Ramsey County Corrections and the Parks and Recreation Department. Inmate labor keeps the course and practice facility looking spiffy while giving them practical work experience. The Ponds at Battle Creek is a combination of two things. It is a very nice regulation 9-hole, par-35 golf course. The course is a fun and challenging place to play 9 holes of golf. For the recreational golfer this golf course is perfect. For those learning the game the casual atmosphere makes a wonderful place to hone your skills. The 50 tee driving range and practice area allow ample area to work toward a better game.

Island Lake Golf And Training Center
Island Lake was designed to attract new golfers to the game. It centers on having a fun outdoor experience while learning to play the game. The driving range and miniature golf course are lighted so players can enjoy golf after the sun goes down. Speaking of golf after dark, Island Lake offers "Glow Golf" starting at 9:30 p.m. On August 21 the starting time for Glow Golf will be 9:00 p.m. The real reason Island Lake was created was to create a place for newer players to take a lesson or a series of lessons. The variety of lesson options is endless.

Ramsey County Parks and Recreation has done an admirable job of continually updating and improving the golf facilities under its umbrella. With the wide variety of golf products available, Twin Cities residents should be very proud of these fine golf opportunities.






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