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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Craguns 2017

Fairways & Greens
June 23, 2017

Breezy Point Resort - Family First
Marina II
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Marina II
Deacon's Lodge #17
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Deacon's Lodge #17
By E. Nolan


Professionally speaking, as "family friendly" resorts in the Midwest go, the value and overall experience provided by Breezy Point resort is tough to beat, and the best part of that truth is the fact that all ages reap a similarly rich reward. While those compliments sound generic on the surface, the great depths of their truth is well worth reading into.

Speaking from personal experience... at the end of every year my wife and I, and each of our four kids (ages 14, 11, 11, 4), compile a list of the "Top 10 Highlights of the Year." (Six people = six lists.) Over the past five years we have visited 36 states together, stayed at 94 golf/family resorts, and put over 130,000 miles on our Honda Odyssey. I give that background to preface this: of all those travels, only TWO places have graced (all six of) our lists, each of the past five years: Family Camp on Lake Okoboji (in Iowa) and Breezy Point Resort. In all fairness, those are the only two destinations we've been to together each of the past five years, but I make the point to: 1. Show that we love to keep going back (to each place) and 2. To prove the consistency of excellence and memorable takeaways found in each successive experience at Breezy Point Resort.

My kids say that Breezy reminds them of our Okoboji Family Camp week(s) - somewhat explaining the firm parallel fondness. The lodging at Breezy is more luxurious and spacious than our camp digs, but the kids spend all day on the beach and lake, or in the pool. (And they know all of the full-time staff at each by name.) The comparison pretty much ends there, since there's no way any camp can provide everything else Breezy Point Resort does.

Just over two hours north of the Twin Cities metro, Breezy Point Resort sits on the beautiful shores of Pelican Lake. As popular for fishermen (and women) as it is as for golfers, the 8,000-acre Pelican Lake offers serious anglers year-round action with bass, walleye, northern and crappie (and tons of pan fish for kids). Breezy Point's Marina has motorized and non-motorized watercraft available for rent, and area expert, John Blong, well worth contacting if you're in the area to fish. If you're not there to fish, the Marina still gives you access to canoes, paddle boards, paddleboats, kayaks and some pretty spectacular cruises on the 100-passenger Paddle-Wheel Excursion Boat - The Breezy Belle. Of course, you don't need a boat to swim and/or bask in the sun in the shallow shoreline waters or on the many spreads of sand. There's even a great beach to explore on the resort's 13-acre Gooseberry Island. (Keep your eye out for the famous Gooseberry Goats!)

Off the lake, Breezy offers plenty of activity options via their Rec Center, (with ping pong, billiards, arcade and other games) tennis courts and numerous swimming pools, as well as the lush inactivity option of time in the Serenity Day & Med Spa. Take time away from the various stages of play in your day to enjoy a facial, massage, mani/pedi or other body treatment in a relaxing and rejuvenating environment under professional hands. Note: Serenity Spa now offers Coolscuplting - high-tech controlled cooling that freezes and eliminates unwanted cells without surgery.

Two activities I haven't yet mentioned - eating and golfing - deserve their own story. 54 golf holes across three diverse courses, and four restaurants offering many of their own courses make exploring all the options almost mandatory. (Hard to cover it all in one trip!)

The Traditional Course is a woodland loop on the main resort property. It starts easy and ends easy with a lot of tree trouble and a whole lot of history in between. This is the course made famous by the famous folk who have loved and played it: Patti Berg, Les Bolstad and Walter Hagen, to name a few. A premium is placed on precision over power for most of this round, and it's not uncommon for locals to leave their driver in the trunk.

Whitebirch is just up the street from the resort gates. This beautiful hybrid design of links, wetlands and woodlands was actually the first championship design built in the Brainerd Lakes area and plays around the resort's popular Whitebirch Ranch and Estates neighborhoods. At 6,700 yards, the signature feature of the course is generally the large undulating greens and specifically the two beautiful holes along the water at #16 and #17. That Par 3, 17th hole in the morning, with the brook babbling and mist rising off the pond is such a spectacular setting, especially when the deer come down for a drink.

The third 18-hole track at Breezy Point Resort is arguably the region's marquee golf attraction - if for no other reason than it was built by "The King" - Arnold Palmer (as a tribute to his father). I've written many a "love letter" to Breezy Point on these pages over the years (to the resort, management, and to Deacon's Lodge - the golf course). Everyone knows that Arnold Palmer was my favorite golfer of all time (Rory is 2nd) and that Deacon's Lodge is my 2nd favorite course in all of Minnesota, behind only The Wilderness at Fortune Bay. There are four other courses in the Brainerd Lakes area that I LOVE (this is such a great place to golf), but for sentimental reasons (what I consider) Mr. Palmer's Greatest American Design will be hard for anyone to overtake in my heart. I've only played eighteen of Mr. Palmer's designs worldwide, but Deacon's (here) and Tralee (in Ireland) stand head and shoulders above the rest. (Even The Golf Channel's Matt Ginella lists Deacon's in his Palmer Top 5!) Deacon's Lodge, by my count, has as many as 10 Signature Holes, including Minnesota's best opening hole and memorable designs along the loon-filled lakes at 2, 5 and 17. (Note: Arnold Palmer lists the Par 3, 17th as one of his 18 favorite hole designs.)

If I haven't already whetted your appetite to travel this way, let me introduce your appetite to the food at Breezy Point. Dockside is the resort's most popular (family friendly) hangout for reasons beyond the food. Sitting on the dock by the lake, the views (especially at dawn and sunset) are as awesome as the famous "Memories of Elvis" entertainment provided on Saturday nights throughout the summer. If you're looking for something more formal with the same stellar views, Marina II is fine dining (steaks and seafood) on the lake with private rooms available for bigger parties. Half a mile west on Highway 11, in the Whitebirch Golf Course clubhouse, you'll find Antlers - fine dining in a casual atmosphere with golf views. Well known for their steaks, seafood and prime rib, you can tell your sense of smell it's about to be rewarded with an explosion of tastes. And then there's Palmer's Grille in the Deacon's Lodge clubhouse. Suffice it to say, I've had plenty of great burgers, rings and wings in Palmer's Grille, and appropriately every bite tastes better when followed by a little lemonade and iced tea.

BREEZY is the kind of place everyone loves to come to, and if you're like our family... you make it a POINT to come back every year.






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