Fairways & Greens
August 17, 2017
|Take Me Back to StoneRidge|
|StoneRidge Golf Club #11|
|StoneRidge Golf Club #10|
Tim CotroneoIt's official! Golfers are paying attention to Ian Poulter and Rickie Fowler. If there is any doubt in your mind, you should have seen the wardrobes on display at StoneRidge Golf Club on the Friday prior to the 4th of July.
While standing near the StoneRidge event tent overlooking the 8th green, an observer absorbed the sweeping, elevated view and was amazed by the rainbow of color. As far as the eye could see, there were shirts, shorts, shoes, and hats emblazoned with red, white, and blue, along with a bounty of pinks, oranges, yellows, and purples.
On our most patriotic weekend, the pristine StoneRidge tee boxes, fairways, and undulating greens, were awash in star spangled color. StoneRidge was absolutely hopping on a glorious Friday morning in July, just like the owners hoped when they started shaping 160 prime acres of St. Croix Valley terrain in the late 90s.
When Head Golf Professional Scott Cole was questioned about the history of StoneRidge, he smiled and said, "You'd better talk to Roger Splinter." When long-time Superintendent Jeff Girard was also queried, he volleyed the same reply. "You should speak with Roger."
StoneRidge's rolling hills hold a special place in the heart of the 79-year-old Splinter. That 's because this four-rounds-per-week golfer was born and raised on the same land that Golfweek Magazine dubbed, "The #1 Public Access Course in the Twin Cities."
There's a good chance Splinter's enthusiasm for the golf course has something to do with the blood, sweat, and tears he invested as a child. Splinters early years on StoneRidge had nothing to do with golf balls and golf carts. Splinter worked the land at a time when it was inhabited by chickens, cows, pigs, and corn.
"It's really a treat for me to stand on a tee box or a green and reflect on what was there when I was a child. It's a pleasure to see how the course owners and designer Bobby Weed made StoneRidge such a beautiful golf course without disrupting the integrity of what was here before," Splinter said.
If the Barn Could Talk
Nowhere does this past meets future existence merge more perfectly than on StoneRidge's signature hole, the Par 5, 457-yard 11th. Ask anyone who has played StoneRidge more than once, and you'll hear the same refrain. "The 11th is known as The Barn hole," Splinter said.
One of StoneRidge's most enduringly visible acknowledgements of days gone by is a white barn perched to the left of the 11th fairway. If golfers look back after landing their tee shots in the fairway, you'll see that the open doorway of "The Barn" provides a fabulous view of the front nine. It's also a favorite backdrop for newlyweds looking for that landmark photo after choosing StoneRidge as their wedding reception site.
Another hole having special meaning for Splinter is the Par 4, 395-yard 15th. "My grandmother would walk from the barn to where the 15th green is today. This was the daily distance she'd cover to bring the cows in. If you try that walk yourself you'll see it is quite a hike. Everyone at StoneRidge knows that I rarely use a golf cart. I come from a family of walkers, and I almost always carry my bag. I've found that walking is a great way for me to truly appreciate how beautiful this course is," Splinter said.
Fantastic Nightly Specials
In addition to the tradition StoneRidge has built with their 7,000-yard golf layout, many customers hunger to return to this picturesque Stillwater locale because of the weekly specials served in the evening. Monday is known for Surf and Turf, Tuesday features Pasta Night along with half-off bottles of wine, Wednesday is the Patio Party with live music, Thursdays is steak night, Fridays and Saturday is when Chef Ron presents his world-class fresh fish, and live music. Sunday is Bloody Mary time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Looking Forward to Looking Back
Pro Scott Cole's advice for golfers playing StoneRidge for the first time is, "Don't take our generous fairways for granted. The tall fescue rough can be unforgiving. There are certain golf holes on which you'd be wise to play it safe and stay in the short grass. If you stay in the fairway and keep your shots to the green beneath the hole, you'll be smiling at the end of your round," Cole said.
If you're seeking a golf escape that marries golf history with St. Croix Valley's contemporary beauty, then check out StoneRidge Golf Course. "Independent of my heritage and ties to this land, StoneRidge is simply a class operation. I'm so happy the way my Dad's farm turned out. Looking back, this is an even better golf course than it was a farm," Splinter said.
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