Fairways & Greens
June 25, 2017
|White Eagle Golf Club - A Northwoods Feel Closer To Home|
By Rhett ArensGolfing White Eagle is an experience unlike any other in the greater Twin Cities area. While technically a western Wisconsin course it has come to be known in smart circles as the course where you can get the 'northwoods feel, closer to home.' With 350 acres of mature hardwoods, towering pines, pristine wetlands, dramatic elevations and a collection of beautifully designed fairways you are as likely to see a deer, an eagle or even a bear as you are another foursome. The course, which is tied into a housing development plan has been stretched out and designed to minimize the outside world... giving players a full immersion into a high-end golf experience.
Since the clubs opening in 2000, White Eagle Golf Club has been steadily increasing its game. It has fully arrived at a time when the new bridge crossing the St. Croix River will provide a game-changer type access to this geographic gem of a course. This stuff doesn't happen by accident.
The housing portion of the White Eagle development has survived several economic housing downturns during its 16 years of operation but has persistently continued on its path towards fulfillment. With only 16 lots remaining, the completion of the new bridge in 2017 is expected to accelerate the sales on those final 3 acre+ lots, which in turn will kick-off the permitting process for a new clubhouse. The clubhouse plans have been in place for a while and waiting for the critical mass on housing to tip the scales. The current home sites and remaining lots are tastefully set back off the course to maintain the integrity of the golfing experience.
No one will argue that a new clubhouse would be a welcome change as the current building was intended as a temporary installment. With that said, the pro shop is one of the best stocked showrooms I have ever seen and the dining/pub area gets the job done with great food and plenty of elbow room. The patio overlooking the 18th green offers stunning views and who doesn't love a burger or brat straight off the outdoor grill?
Overseeing this growth and the related course enhancements since day one has been General Manager, Scott Landin. It speaks volumes that Scott along with Head Superintendent Mat Corcoran and PGA Golf Professional Kevin Andert have all been working at White Eagle since it's opening in 2000. Although the clubhouse appears modest as you pull up, the service is not. The pro shop staff and on-course personnel have been diligently trained to provide the type of customer service that one expects at all top-end courses. Scott has been unwavering in his efforts to set the bar high in this area, proving the old adage 'nice goes a long ways.' This philosophy creates a player experience where the impeccable course conditions match the operational quality front to back.
The overall layout and hole designs will ring an echo with those who have played Willingers Golf Club, Legends Golf Club or the Meadows at Mystic Lake all having been designed by Gill/Miller Golf Architects and their trademark use of making the most of natural elements while maintaining a wild, yet cultured feel to the course.
The GPS armed carts will serve you well if you are unfamiliar with dogleg distances and carries. Hole #1 kicks it off with the need for a carefully crafted tee shot to optimize your approach carry over a wetland. Those pretty cattails and song birds aren't quite so wonderful with a ball in the water. The thinking person's golf must continue on #2 as well. Big hitters will be tempted to cut the corner aggressively but wind direction should factor into that decision before you pull the trigger.
Rolling up to the par-3 #5 hole will give you an elevation rush. Adjust your club selection and keep that swing on plane. There's nothing prettier than the arc of an elevated tee shot hit well. The par 4 #17 is tricky, but it doesn't need to rob you of your dignity if you can control a drive up the right side.
A stretch of several par 4's on the back combine some elevated views with bending fairways that will have you reaching for the smartphone camera. The bonus being they are doable par holes, maybe birdie. The par-4 #18 finishes with a steady uphill climb to a wide green with a spectacular waterfall element backdrop. It is a spot-on, "wild" finale to an already "wild" round.
When the Stillwater bridge is finished and drive times into this area are reduced, this not-so-secret beauty will see more business. Don't wait for that to happen. Make the effort and enjoy a visually stunning yet calmingly focused round at White Eagle - providing a northwoods feel closer to home.
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