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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Breezy Point

Fairways & Greens
June 23, 2017

Mount Frontenac Golf Course - Absolutely Breathtaking
Mount Frontenac #13
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Mount Frontenac #13
Mount Frontenac #9
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Mount Frontenac #9
By Steve Wetzler


I have the distinct benefit of living every day with the beauty of the Mississippi River Valley. Out my back window are views of the Mississippi River and the bluffs that follow the 'Big Muddy.' I sometimes wonder what a golf course architect would have done with our little piece of land and neighborhood had they had the vision that Gordon Emerson did 30 years ago when he stood on top of the bluffs along the Mississippi overlooking Lake Pepin and planned his design for Mount Frontenac Golf Course.

Mount Frontenac is less than an hour from St. Paul; situated between Lake City and Red Wing, on top of what once was a ski hill. Why in the world would someone build a golf course on top of a bluff? When you reach the top of the winding switchback road to the clubhouse and you see what is waiting for you on top of the bluff - a golf experience like no other. Oh, I get it.

Golfers are given the opportunity to experience a high elevation thrill ride loaded with twists, turns, blind shots, and blinding beauty from many an outstanding overlook. At only 6,226 yards from the longest tees, the par 71 layout is not going to kill you with distance. Rather, it can bite you on sharp corners, steal your golf balls on high bounces over hills and volley your errant shots around in the trees. You get all the elements in one round: forests, ponds, fields and the occasional bout of altitude sickness. You are WAY up here. It's pretty. Scenic. Dramatic.

No matter the season, spring, summer or fall, the quality of the views is magnificent, and the abundant trees lining the fairways of the course amplify the surrounding grounds. If you can hit a straight shot, and control your distance, you'll score well. The front begins simply enough, with my favorite hole on course, a slight dogleg left par 4, with a downhill approach to a green with a view. The next two holes assure that your round remains comfortable, and then the trees begin to come into play. The next three holes will likely make or break your round, and the front nine ends with another beauty, a sharp dogleg left (could have been the course name) to a ridge-hanging green backed by a beautiful pond.

The ample recovery space provided on the front is nearly eliminated on the back, as the design expects you to be warmed up by now and able to hit straight. The starting three holes, after the turn, are pressure cookers, not really allowing you to breathe until you reach the aforementioned peak view of the course, on the 13th green. The feel good vibes you collect at that point stay with you over the next two easy scoring holes, and then the closing stretch requires calculated focus to manage your way around the marsh guarded 16th green and back up the long hill par 5, 18th, to the clubhouse.

General Manager Dan Diggins knows how to step up the game of his entire staff - keeping the course looking beautiful and running smoothly, the restaurant cooking and the people piling in. "As you can imagine, this incredible bluff-top platform is quite the setting for weddings and banquets. The backdrops for photographers - senior class, engagements, etc. - are... well... it is a home run."
A gourmet chef makes the restaurant a local dinner hotspot, constantly churning out new items to go with the many great drinks provided by the full-service bar. And the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month, Mount Frontenac has a Cook-to-Order Pasta Night Special blending Italian flavor with 18 holes of cart golf for only $29 per person. Or try out their Weekday Golf Special of 18 holes of golf with cart and lunch (includes your choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger, grilled chicken sandwich, pulled pork sandwich or bratwurst) for only $29.00 per person valid Monday-Friday and Sundays during the 2017 golf season. And check out their Unlimited Golf Special - unlimited play and lunch for only $49.00, valid 7 days a week.
Mount Frontenac Golf Course is owned by Treasure Island Resort and Casino, which keeps the tee sheet steady, but not full. It fills up on its own based on word of mouth and an abundance of regulars who covet the views, the seclusion, and the entertaining design. Stay and Play packages are offered in wide variety through Treasure Island, where an altogether different form or rewarding "play" is always available.

If you haven't made a spring, summer or fall drive down the Mississippi River in the Hiawatha Valley you really should. There is plenty to see, from the eagles, to great places to play. It pays to explore. You never know when you'll find a breathtaking course.






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