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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Breezy Point

Fairways & Greens
August 16, 2017

GOLF IN MINNESOTA - Ryder Cup Quality!
The Classic #11 Photo Courtesy of Peter Wong Photography
+ click to enlarge
The Classic #11 Photo Courtesy of Peter Wong Photography
Legends Club #13
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Legends Club #13
By Amie Burrill

This is your invitation to play golf where the best golfers in the world play - MINNESOTA!

Minnesota might be known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," but 508 might be a better number to hang your hat on! That's the number of incredible golf courses that call Minnesota home. Known as a top U.S. golf destination, Minnesota offers hundreds of courses characterized by beautiful natural settings, excellent conditions and affordability. Minnesota, in the last decade, has become one of the hotbeds of the game.

Golf visitors ranked Minnesota 4th highest from a list of 13 golf destinations, behind only Florida, Arizona and South Carolina. The Minnesota Golf Association counts 508 golf courses. Nearly 90% of Minnesota's golf courses are open to the public. There are 19 golf resorts.

Did you know Minnesota is the only state to have hosted all 13 USGA championships plus the Walker Cup, Curtis Cup, Solheim Cup, PGA of America plus others? Last but not least, Minnesota hosted the 2016 Ryder Cup!

Minnesota is no stranger to hosting large-scale events that require big time hospitality. This includes MLB All-Star Game, National Senior Games, PGA Championships, NHL All-Star Game, and World Series among others - and in 2018 the Super Bowl will be added to the list. The Ryder Cup was played at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska (a suburb southwest of Minneapolis) in 2016 - the first time to Minnesota.

For fans of the biennial battle between the United States and Europe golf teams who made the trip to Minnesota, there was plenty to learn - especially if it was their first trip to the land of 10,000 water hazards. Tens of thousands of visitors brought their clubs and played some of Minnesota's best.

Hazeltine is not the only great course in Minnesota. Speaking of great golf courses, Minnesota has hundreds of them - many concentrated in the Twin Cities, plus out-state resort courses and incredible tracks secluded in the northern woods.

There are many Minnesota courses that appear on national "Best of" lists. The purveyor of Minnesota's "bucket list" of must-play public access golf courses is the Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance (www.ExploreMinnesotaGolf.com) featuring a collection of the state's top 24 public golf facilities and resorts (a total of 33 courses) where visitors can be confident that they will have a fantastic golf experience loaded with quality of service and course condition/amenities.

You don't have to travel far from Hazeltine National in Chaska to find a great course to play while in the area. Among the higher-end Twin Cities courses sure to impress is Chaska Town Course, which is virtually in Hazeltine's backyard. StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater, Legends Club and The Wilds Golf Club both in Prior Lake and Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove are also atop the list of Greater Twin Cities courses. The Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance courses are on every golf connoisseur's list for their services as they offer country club amenities at public facilities.

There are also plenty of Greater Twin Cities area top-level courses that are every bit as well-conditioned and challenging as the high-end tracks. Consider Ridges at Sand Creek, Stonebrooke GC, Prestwick GC, Willingers GC and Braemar Golf Course. Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park has hosted multiple LPGA tournaments. Located less than an hour from Minneapolis-St Paul you'll find The Jewel, a Hale Irwin-designed course on the Mississippi River.

If you have a little extra time in the area and a vehicle at your disposal, head up north to the Brainerd Lakes Area in Central Minnesota, where are located some of the finest courses the state has to offer. The Classic at Madden's, The Pines and The Preserve at Grand View Lodge, the Legacy Courses at Cragun's Resort, Golden Eagle Golf Club and the Arnold Palmer-designed Deacon's Lodge at Breezy Point-named after his father - are challenging and beautiful courses that wind through quiet woods splashed with dozens of water features and teeming with wildlife. On the way to Brainerd don't miss Territory Golf Club in St. Cloud - central Minnesota's best.

Head toward the Wild North of northern Minnesota where you'll discover three of Golf Digest's "Top 100" courses within 20 minutes of each other. Binge on fantastic golf at Wilderness at Fortune Bay and Giants Ridge (The Quarry and The Legend). The lodging at these properties is second to none. On the way up north try Black Bear Golf Course featuring a casino resort near Duluth or, Minnesota National Golf Course which is easily visited from either Brainerd or Duluth. If you head to the west-northwest visit the golf resorts in the Alexandria area of Thumper Pond Resort and Arrowwood Resort.

Regardless of the occasion for your Minnesota trip, visitors should bring their clubs and plan to play some of the best courses they will ever experience. Minnesota is a destination of fierce natural beauty as well as friendly folks and clearly an excellent destination as golfers flock to the state for the great quality, variety and value of golf courses. Every year, Minnesotans are ranked at the top or near the top of most golfers per capita in the country. Minnesotans simply love golf. It is one of the best places in the country to play, and the locals know that.

Minnesota, contrary to popular misconception, is not located near the Arctic Circle and therefore not under snow and ice for the entire year. This classically picturesque state has a very temperate golf season which extends almost eight months. The condition of Minnesota courses particularly in late summer and early fall is unsurpassed by anywhere in the country and there are simply few better places to play than on a Minnesota golf course.

The overall "Quality" of golf in Minnesota cannot be matched. The listing of golf courses included in the Minnesota golf landscape constitutes a hall of fame of National/Regional "Award-Winning" courses from such publications as Golf Digest, Golf Week, Golf News, Business Week, Sports Illustrated, and NGCOA etc. etc. - hundreds of awards... some of the best golf in the world.

The "Variety" of the 500+ Minnesota courses is almost endless. Golfers can opt for their favorite style - links, deep woods, breathtaking river and lake views all woven into Mother Nature's natural beauty. Choose from family friendly par-3 and executive courses to championship courses and former pro tour sites - Minnesota has it all. No wonder Minnesota leads the nation in golfers per capita.

True "Value" is a major attribute of golf in Minnesota with green fees lower than other golf hotbeds around North America. If you've played Minnesota golf courses then you already understand the unbelievable value to be found at our resorts and facilities. And here's the best part - green fees range from about $30 at the well-manicured municipal courses of Minneapolis/St. Paul to $100 for the upscale public courses surrounding the Twin Cities and resort locations around the state - seldom a greens fee beyond $100. Many facilities offer great Stay & Play packages.

Golf in Minnesota has Ryder Cup Quality combined with Variety and true Value. You're invited to play golf where the best golfers in World play!

VISIT: www.ExploreMinnesotaGolf.com

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