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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Cragun's 2016

Fairways & Greens
June 25, 2017

Taking Your Game To The Next Level At Crystal Lake Golf Course
By Rhett Arens


When you pull up to a golf course there are elements that are very apparent, and then there are those nuggets that eventually reveal themselves over time. Crystal Lake Golf Course has both. It is a beautiful track of land that incorporates rolling hills, pristine marshland, beautiful landscaping touches and plenty of extra amenities. Not so apparent is a professional instructional program second to none, and a staff of the friendliest course ambassadors you will ever meet. A short walk around the clubhouse will show off a well-stocked grill, a wedding gazebo, an extra-large wrap around deck and a practice facility where magic happens.
Under the combined broad experience of previous General Manager Lorie Kjergaard, and continuing with current General Manager Jim Orlando, Crystal Lake has been steadily making improvements such as the addition of a Gold set of tees, constructing a new wedding gazebo, adding new equipment to the operations side, expanding the driving range and numerous cart path enhancements... all designed to enhance the customer experience. There are big plans on the horizon to renovate and add a classic pub-like clubhouse for post-round refreshments and food, as well as an expansion of the banquet facilities to meet the increasing demand for weddings and group events. The Lakeville area has experienced a steady population growth in recent years (nearly 60,000) joining Burnsville and Apple Valley to create a critical mass in the southern suburbs. It's clear, that Jim and his staff intend to be the 'go-to' choice for event planners in this corner of the Twin Cities.
If you have visited Crystal Lake Golf Course chances are you have seen, possibly heard or even received a warm smile from LPGA Class A Teaching Professional Sheryl Maize. Sheryl is both a force and a resource. A force of positivity, confidence and commitment AND a resource for swing technicalities, body mechanics, preparation, play temperament and other key areas of improvement. Sheryl has a deep background in golf instruction that has taken her from her years as Team Captain at the University of Miami (FL) through Memphis, Sarasota and Iceland (yes, Iceland!). Her teaching philosophy is based on a student-centric model that focuses on an individual's best-fit swing based on body type, natural athletic tendencies and limitations. This approach does not try to fit a square peg in a round hole for the "perfect swing." Her instructional programs can be structured as small group clinics, large group events or individual lessons. One glance at her weekly teaching calendar speaks volumes about her success and commitment as a LPGA instructor. She is both high energy and high impact.
The Crystal Lake course offers a wide variety of challenges for the golfer. Though the 160 acre course is not particularly long at 6,323 yards, the bunkering and narrow spots add an unpredictability factor that will keep the under-10 handicapper honest and the over-10 guessing. The course is one of 23 in Minnesota to be Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, which speaks to a stretch of holes on the back nine that wind through natural reclaimed wetlands. While playing with Paul, a stellar regular at the course, I received a handful of excellent tips that trimmed strokes and minimized mental mistakes. Thank you sir! The excellent GPS units on the carts also came in handy.
Kick-off at #1 presents a par 5 that finishes with a steady uphill look, but offers enough green depth to easily stick a wedge. The front nine also closes with a signature par 5 that has a majestic look. It features some beautiful bunkering along a steady downhill fairway that leads to a stand of mature oaks framed by the clubhouse. Don't be too dazzled because a pond tucked front right and a series of bunkers along the left creates a real target dilemma for those long irons. You've been warned. Some call it the "nemesis," but the 510 yard par 5 thirteenth can be played to birdie level with the right club selection. It is a quasi-double dogleg that slithers through a marsh (with trees). Keeping it on the short stuff will reward the precision player, not the power player. The par 3's on average aren't too long, but pin placement can make you humble. Overall, the greens, fairways and bunkers are meticulously maintained. You won't find a blemish on the course. Crystal Lake prides itself on its housekeeping and delivers on quality.
As I said, it's not always apparent where a course delivers on value. Sheryl Maize is a perfect example of this. Her presence and influence is producing High School state champions, future junior qualifiers and more importantly, well-rounded, happy students young and old. The Twin Cities is blessed to have a course where these core priorities are maintained. I recommend you point your GPS to the south metro and absorb some of this positive mojo.






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