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Breezy Point

Fairways & Greens
June 23, 2017

Dakota Pines Golf Club - History Rewritten
Dakota Pines Golf Club #1 and Practice Green
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Dakota Pines Golf Club #1 and Practice Green
Dakota Pines Golf Club #9
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Dakota Pines Golf Club #9
By Rhett Arens

They have a saying at Dakota Pines Golf Club, "The name is new, but our fairways are filled with history." The former Hastings Country Club has been updated and was re-opened in 2016 under new ownership. Owner Todd Crane and Head Golf Professional Barrett Boe have been working tirelessly to steer this ship from private to public. Not an easy task. And how nice is it that we (Twin Cities golfheads) have another Championship caliber course available to everyone? The answer is: very nice!
The course is steeped in history. You can feel it as you wind your way through the 100 year-old pines and towering maples that line these majestic fairways. This track is a bit like having your cake and eating it too. You experience the private country club course conditions, the 8,000 square foot clubhouse, the classy amenities and plenty of high-end character, but at a public facility. It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise given they have been fine-tuning these golf holes and the total hospitality package for 60+ years. Superintendent extraordinaire Jim Kassara has been working his magic for 19 of those 60 years and the conditions on this course prove it. The plan is to focus on the overall course atheistic in 2017. This includes bunker upgrade projects, adding landscaping elements and cart path improvements - all providing more value and visual appeal for the golfers experience.
As they say, let's keep it on the short stuff and hope most of our putts are uphill. Echoed in Barrett's personal inside tip... keep it under the hole. The starting hole is not a classic easy, warm-up style hole. At 415 yards from the blues, you will need to keep those first swings on plane. It's a great sweeping fairway that fades to the right from an elevated view. I'm going to predict that your 3 or 4 iron might get a mild workout punching out from underneath those mature trees during the course of the round. The many doglegs create critical decision points during the round. Do I go over the corner? Under the corner? Or to the corner and then take a chance on a long iron? Great risk/reward course management challenges. The 380 yard par 4 fourteenth is a classic example. It comes up during that part of the round where you need to decide, am I going to sit-on-it or go-for-it. It's an inherent strength of the courses design and thus a signature hole. As a grouping, the par 3's also offer that signature feel where club selection is key. Taking careful note of elevations and wind is critical to success.
Overall the course would not really be considered pure target golf, there is room to stretch out and let it fly and not all the trees are 50 footers. A miss is not going to end your shot at breaking 80. Like many courses today, Dakota Pines has embraced the trend towards more natural grasses and 'no mow' zones. This makes for a nice blend of park style and prairie in select areas of the layout.
Few public golf courses can provide the type of event hosting capability that Dakota Pines has to offer. It can accommodate large weddings or corporate meetings with seating space for 250 guests and plenty of comfortable options for smaller group gatherings or breakout sessions. The stunning clubhouse is situated in an older, established neighborhood of Hastings. Not surprising then that the clubhouse feels so inviting. The Pub at Dakota Pines has that perfect casual sports bar vibe with food and an inviting elevated outdoor deck with fantastic views from what is technically the highest point in Dakota County. The patio provides a great view of the par 3, 9th as players come in to turn the corner.
Barrett feels the current state of golf is healthy with the current crop of young PGA players appealing across all demographics. And he is putting his energy where it matters within the local community by partnering with the Hastings Middle School golf program in 2017, working with them to help build the program more than 50% to accommodate the growing interest in the game. 2017 will also find a reemphasis on the food and beverage side of the business. Recognizing that players like a reasonable level of quality at a fair price they are targeting improvements on the menu - more in line with burgers and appetizers than filet mignon and a pricey wine list.
Quality has always been paramount at this site whether it's Hasting Country Club or Dakota Pines Golf Club. The proof is in the events calendar where they proudly claim host to the Twin Cities Championship, the State Public Links Championship and the MGA Mid Am Tourney. There are plenty of other events as well and they are now available to the general public.

Value is key to the success at Dakota Pines. They pride themselves on offering a great round of golf at a fair price. And, they also offer specials that can change day-to-day. You can always check out their website for incredible values on golf at www.dakotapinesgolfclub.com. History has been kind to this course, but the future is even brighter.

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