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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Breezy Point

Fairways & Greens
June 23, 2017

Chomonix Golf Course - Crafty Golfers Deserve A Crafty Beer After Their Round
Chomonix Golf Course Aerial
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Chomonix Golf Course Aerial
Chomonix Golf Course #14
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Chomonix Golf Course #14
Steve Manthis


Over the years writing for Tee Times Magazine, I have enjoyed getting the opportunity to try out plenty of new courses in the Twin Cities. Some I've heard of but never had the chance to play. Others I knew nothing about before teeing it up. This month I'm here to tell you about a course I know but haven't had the chance to play in a while.

Chomonix Golf Course is located just a few minutes north of both downtowns in Lino Lakes. It's part of the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Preserve, and that fact lets you know what you're in for - it's a course carved out Mother Nature's finest. For those of you who like the feel of courses in northern Minnesota, Chomonix has you in mind.

The two nines at Chomonix are similar, yet different at the same time. Holes 1 through 9 are tree-lined and very narrow (more about that in a bit), while the back nine gives you a little more room in the rough before the trees begin. In order to shoot a good score, you must keep the ball in the fairway. A great example is the par five 6th hole. This "S" shaped snake of a hole can bite you in many ways. A tall cottonwood tree guards the left side when you hit your tee shot. A crafty golfer can go over or around it (if you can hit a right-to-left shot). A straight tee ball hit too far puts you in the trees. Even if you can negotiate the first shot, you'll still need to hit your second in the correct place as a small grove of trees on the right can block your approach to the green.

The biggest news happening at Chomonix is the reconstruction of two greens - #6 and #17. Chris Bettinger, Golf Operations Supervisor, explains that both holes had problems with drainage. Number 6, a medium length par three, had a reoccurring pothole that just wouldn't hold no matter how many times it was filled. A consultation with the USGA determined a new green was necessary. The same story goes for #17 as well. "It was a bowl-shaped green that didn't drain," says Bettinger. "Regulars at the course said it was always a little squishy."

As a result of the reconstruction and unplayability of those two holes, they've done some creative routing so you're not playing only 16 holes. The par five 2nd hole is now a short par three and a par four. On the back nine, the 17th, usually a par four, is played to a temporary green about where your tee shot would normally land. I've played other courses that were undergoing construction before, but what they've done at Chomonix is well thought out, and, according to Bettinger, will be worth it in the long run. "Our locals are excited for the changes. They see the construction as a necessary evil." When I was there, I was amazed to see how much higher the 17th green is going to be. It won't just be raised up, however. "The new green," says Bettinger, "will be 1,250 square feet bigger than it was before." They hope to seed the new greens by Labor Day and have them ready for play next spring. Nevertheless, because of the work being done, green fees have been discounted by $5.50.

The course is not very long, but it's still quite challenging due to the trees that hug the fairways. While the construction crews are there, Bettinger said it gave them an excuse to take out some trees. For example, 200 trees were removed near #17, and a bunch more were removed from the right side of #18 to make the hole more playable. The ongoing plan is to remove about 300 more trees this winter in strategic places. Bettinger says, "We're not trying to make the course 'easier' - we're trying to make it more playable."

If the golf isn't enough to get you out to Chomonix, then maybe the beer will be. Chomonix is the official golf course of ESPN's "The Beer Show," and they have 80 different craft beers. Bettinger says the men's club loves it and they're excited to try something new each week. In addition, Summit Brewing Company sponsors the rapidly expanding Men's Club and provides free beer for their monthly events -- like this month's Club Championship!

In the end, though, it's the golf that brings us to the golf course. Chomonix provides healthy, smooth greens, a north woods feel and a layout that will challenge any golfer. While the construction does alter the course a bit, it's well worth a trip. Matt Wollmering, Bettinger's long-time assistant, puts it this way, "Even though we've got the construction going on, we believe 2017 will be a banner year!"






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