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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Craguns 2017

Fairways & Greens
June 23, 2017

Loggers Trail Golf Club - Four-midable Fun
Loggers Trail #10
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Loggers Trail #10
Loggers Trail #14
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Loggers Trail #14
By E. Nolan


Thirty miles northeast of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, in Stillwater - just west of the St. Croix River - is a one of a kind golf course with four (local) legendary architects and 18 high-value holes. The 170-acre Loggers Trail Golf Club - designed by Mike Fermoyle, John Harris, Bev Vanstrom and Dave Tentis - opened in 2003, and has proudly been serving the avid Twin Cities golf community in the 13 years since.

Loggers Trail is an extremely walkable track, set up across five sets of tees, ranging from 5,000+ yards to 7,300, with bentgrass greens and fairways that tend to be firm, fast and ambitiously maintained. The front nine, with all the trees, is widely considered to be the more challenging nine - especially holes 4 through 7. The back nine is more open, essentially "links style," with wide-open and accommodating fairways, but is no pushover thanks to those abundant thick-grass-covered mounds. I'd almost rather play out of water than hit off those mounds. (Almost) The architects built the course with a perfect blend of playability (for all) and punishment (for the careless). Pay attention, position yourself properly, and score well. It's that simple. Just like the game of golf. (ha, ha)

I strongly advise anyone with a 10-15 handicap play from the Blues for the perfect length and test (at around 6,500 yards). However, it's worth mentioning that many of the Par 4's are reachable (like the 14th) from the Whites - something worth considering if you ever want to score like Jim Furyk.

The greens might be my favorite aspect of the design. This is one of those courses where super subtlety is in abundance, especially on the putting surface, with nearly invisible (but obviously present) breaks in the bentgrass greens shoving straight putts sideways to the point where you'll start checking your putter to see if it's also bent. (So make your playing partners putt out their typical six-foot gimmies.)

With four designers I can understand the reluctance of the staff to point out a single "favorite" hole, but the third gets many a "regular's" vote. The par 3 - guarded by water left of the green, and a "counter-hazard" bunker on the right - is both beauty and beast. If you love water you'll find sufficient other aquatic hazards on 5, 9 and 16, but the fescue - beautiful as it is in their pictures - is much more menacing here (in my opinion). And my ball, while permanently possessing very little magnetism towards the bottom of metal cups, could find a tree in Antarctica with no problem. It does a lot of "bark-ing" down the 4th hole at Loggers Trail. Feels like playing golf in a hallway. Then again, maybe I just need more practice. (Definitely) And Loggers provides a great practice facility, with a full-length range (even an island-green target), and multiple putting areas for working on that money stick.

PGA Master Instructor, Dave Cahill, and PGA Professional Brandon Polzin offer individual lessons throughout the year, and summer camps for your junior golfers. To help them beat you that much earlier in life. (Minnesota courses should offer Winter Golf Camps, too!) With all the work these professionals (and management) are putting in; clubhouse plans, 50 new golf carts, renovations (tee boxes), and practice facility enhancements, Loggers Trail has paved the way for all golfers to have fun and success at their place.

Loggers Trail is known for its personable staff and great service - especially from the lively cart girls when they're out - and they go "next level" with their deals after your round with 2-for-1 drink specials and a casually cool "everyone is welcome" environment to chill in. Speaking of deals, a round at Loggers Trail is a tough value to beat, with peak rates under $50 (cart included) and many deals available with a little keyboard investigating. Especially if you have a kid 15 or under - they play FREE with you Friday through Sunday after 2 p.m.

Loggers Trail is a "hidden gem" in the sense many probably don't even know it's there. And yet it's as popular (in play) as any area course, and this (right now) is as good a time as any to check it out. Unlike many area courses, Loggers Trail won't be aerating their greens this fall - they don't have to - so, as the seasons change, the consistently excellent playing conditions (here) will not.

In fact, they're getting better with time, something we all wish we could say. So why not try to do it together?






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