Fairways & Greens
June 25, 2017
|GR8 MINNESOTA RESORT HOLES|
|Par 3 Superior National Canyon #8|
|Par 5 Deacon's Lodge #2|
E. NolanIt's time to take magazine page space where it's never been before... time to make "Dream 18s" feel inferior... to make personal opinions and absolute facts one and the same... time to try Chef Quaid's Wild Duck Rice Soup at the Wilderness Grille. Who knows... maybe its even time to frame this article and hang it on your wall? I mean, if you're going to go all the way... you might as well go a little bit further. (Am I right?) Of course I am.
After 134 rounds played, and 72 "March Madness-like" bracket-pages of analytics produced, covering 360 holes of Resort Golf in Minnesota, these are the 24 "Signatures." The GR8-est 3, 4, and 5-Par Resort Holes in the State. So... sit back, relax, and don't do any of the work. This round's on me!
GR8 MN RESORT PAR 3s
1. Legend at Giants Ridge #17: Seldom does being ranked a "Top 100 Most Beautiful in America" golf hole come across as a slight. But that's the case here. This lakeside stunner, in the most beautiful part of the middle of nowhere, is a photographer's dream and a timid-tee-boxer's worst nightmare.
2. Wilderness at Fortune Bay #3: In the Minnesota golf version of Snow White this is the wicked (beautiful) stepmother. "Miror, mirror..." / "Good news, bad news..." / "Okay?" / "You're 2nd best." / "And the bad news?" (Guess there isn't any.) The bewitching natural amphitheater hole has a heavenly aura and a devilish green. Perfect for a match made on earth.
3. Grand View's Pines (Lakes) #7: Sports Illustrated wisely selected this petite pond gem as its calendar cover model a couple years back and, after recent renovations, the boulder-lined bestie is more stunning than ever.
4. The Classic at Madden's #2: In sixteen visits to this waterside triple-dip, I've either seen or heard a loon all but one time. And that exception was my lone birdie. Coincidence? You don't really care. Scott Hoffman used Mother Nature's stun gun plenty around his course, but this super-natural shortie is as easy on the eyes as... well... my wife. (Why I get to golf so much.)
5. Deacon's Lodge at Breezy Point #17: Arnold Palmer selected this architectural ace as one of his "All-Time Personal Favorite Designs." It's a hole you should always play from the tips just to honor the King. Fire away at the lake. Then take a picture. It lasts longer.
6. Superior National at Lutsen Resort (Canyons) #8: Jeffrey Brauer, the architect behind Giants Ridge and The Wilderness, is at it again in Northern Minnesota. Superior National has three nines. River was just renovated last year. Canyons is being done this year. Canyons has three of the property's most scenically superior holes. #8 being #1 to me.
7. Quarry at Giants Ridge #7: A huge quarry carry to a large and rather insanely tiered green. The experts deem this Quarry's signature hole. I prefer #18. But then, those same experts consider this Minnesota's best golf course and I prefer its sister course - The Legend. Can they really all be wrong? Yes.
8. Dacotah Ridge at Jackpot Junction #11: Southwestern Minnesota has one can't miss course with several can't miss holes. Rees Jones made this water-carry wonder worthy of a mulligan even if you hit to tap-in range.
GR8 MN RESORT PAR 4s
1. Bobby's Legacy at Cragun's #17: Sometimes you can't help but be rendered slack-jawed by the tips of a supermodel (golf hole). Such is the case from the panoramic "way-backs" of Bobby's 17th. This "stairway from heaven" is a Robert Trent Jr.'s "drop of the mic." A stacked rack of natural "whoa."
2. Deacon's Lodge at Breezy Point #1: The best starting hole in the state of Minnesota. In fact the first seven holes at Deacon's Lodge are better than the seven best overall holes at most courses in the state. That's a heck of a legacy Arnold Palmer created to honor his father.
3. The Classic at Madden's #3: This short right-bender should be so easy, but the loons, lake and hazards galore - tend to take my ADHD to new levels. Note: Driver is absolute madness on this hole. But really fun.
4. Wilderness at Fortune Bay #5: Why there aren't more Biarritz greens is America is beyond me, but this is one of the best I've ever found, and I always beg the super to move the pin to the front on this hole because I'm always on the back. And that up-down-up putt is "fire." What kids say these days to mean "totally tubular."
5. Whitebirch at Breezy Point #16: Clearly a sucker for holes with tremendous elevation changes and water in play, this wraparound hole delivers on the stellar in both visual arts and gameplay. And leads up to one of the prettiest little par 3's in Minnesota. (Just missed the list.)
6. Grand View's Preserve #5: If I had a dollar for every time I've hit a great first shot and terrible second shot on this hole I could afford a round at Pebble Beach. You just can't do that on this hole. Dogleg right, trouble carry. Such a cool design, but clearly not idiot proof.
7. Wilderness at Fortune Bay #13: And then there are holes that no matter how poorly you play them you can't par them. Nine rounds. -9 overall. It's easy to see why loons love this lakeside hole so much. And if you really want to have fun, play it from the tips.
8. Deacon's Lodge #5: The tee shot gives away nothing of the stunning reveal ahead. Looking down, from the top of the hill, at that awesome green and lakeside scene... you'll appreciate Arnold Palmer more than ever.
GR8 MN RESORT PAR 5s
1. Deacon's Lodge at Breezy Point #2: Most great par 5s have water in play. This one doesn't. (In theory.) The staggered split nature of this three-shot giant makes you wish Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye had designed courses together.
2. Wilderness at Fortune Bay #1: This split-fairway, multi-tiered elevator truly sets the tone for a wild, thrill-infused, rock and roller coaster ride through some of the most beautiful land in the state. No water in play on this one either.
3. The Classic at Madden's #16: It's impossible not to be wowed by this shapely beast when you get over the hill and see the water, island green and covered bridges. I have a 24 x 36 poster of this hole on my wall and it haunts me - in both good and bad ways. Tough hole!
4. Legend at Giants Ridge #3: The giant footprint bunker in the fairway makes you realize just how huge this world is and how small we all are. That said, this is an easy birdie hole, if you can stay out of the sand.
5. Bobby's Legacy at Cragun's #18: Following up one of the prettiest holes in Minnesota is a tough task. But this lakeside wrapper does a darn good job of it. Another long, tough hole, but all of it awesome.
6. Grand View's Pines (Woods) #9: The island green/waterfall combo is superb. But the tee shot and staircase layout of the rest of the hole is equally fun to maneuver through.
7. Meadows at Mystic Lake #18: Garrett Gill's genius at its best. While the casino is the scenery throughout most of this round, the greatest of all of the land's natural and man's design elements combine masterfully on this gorgeous finisher.
8. Golden Eagle Golf Club #14: This hole narrowly knocked off #8 at the Wilderness, but I try to spread the love a little and this hazard loaded beauty north of Brainerd pretty much determines which way the rest of your round is going to go. An underrated round of golf.
We at Tee Times Magazine are always interested in your opinion. Have a hole (or several) that you think should've made the list? Let us know. Email email@example.com and he'll forward it on to me! Thank you! - E. Nolan
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