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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Cragun's 2016

Local Golf
July 22, 2017

Grand View Lodge - Class Of The Century
E. Nolan

2016 is a landmark year for Grand View Lodge. 100 Years. A hundred years of life on the gorgeous north shore of the lake - Gull Lake. One hundred years of catering to vacationers seeking a great woods and waterfront escape. "100 Years of Creating Memories." This is a legacy look-back at one of North America's great and truly historic resorts, and a glimpse into the future of fun awaiting you on a visit.

Anniversaries are meant to be celebrated with style - they're supposed to be memorable. An investment by both parties. Grand View has gone all out to impress - flowers at the door, fine wine and dining, chocolates... everything. They want you to know they haven't forgotten you over the years - never once - and want you to realize they have something truly special awaiting you in 2016.

Over the past five years, Grand View has renovated all 45 of their championship golf holes. They went 9-by-9 on their spectacular 27 holes at The Pines, meticulously touching up the accents that made so many of those signature holes special. Sports Illustrated put their 7th hole on the Lakes Nine on the cover of their annual calendar before all the renovations, and it's infinitely more beautiful now. It is the ultimate reflective hole, of championship golf and immaculate beauty - a pond-side boulder-lined natural amphitheater that likely is one of the five most photographed golf holes in Minnesota. The other two nines, Woods and Marsh, have plenty of exceptionality in their ranks as well. The Woods nine wraps on a Par 5 chute that crests at what is essentially an island green surrounded by waterfalls, and Marsh's 5th hole is another property 3-par that just positively impresses. Its no wonder The Pines is one of the state's most popular big group and tournament hosts. A truly divine playing time.

The Preserve's million-dollar-makeover was just completed last year, a refreshing clean up of the woodlands and marshes and boost to the bunkers and hole definitions. New tee box extensions, course signage, cart paths, work done on every one of the 18 holes, touching up the famous dogleg-right Par 4, 5th hole, and plenty of extra appreciation poured into one of the best 19th hole/clubhouse views in Minnesota. Both of the resort's comprehensive course projects were massive in scope and meaningful in intent. They're telling you there's never, in 100 years, been a better time to visit Grand View for golf than now.

To that end, Grand View has debuted its new Online Booking System accessible through GVLfun.com. A few simple clicks give you access to custom reservations where you can see all available tee times and rates and pick what works for you. You can also book dinners, activities and check event schedules without ever having to pick up a phone. Or... you can use your phone to look it up. A state-of-the-art mobile concierge that lets you plan and book up to four weeks out, and breaks everything down into categories for guests, members and the general public.

Golf groups, corporate events and reunions have an extra benefit in having motivated personnel resources at Grand View willing to take care of all the travel details for you. The sales team of Kelly Wizcek and Tim Martin have created a formidable crew who will collect all your info: dates, numbers, budgets and activities desired, and they will take care of scheduling out your entire visit. Stress less while they impress.

The golf in and of itself is worthy of a visit to Grand View. But the historic lakefront resort has loads more to offer in its other lauded features. Consider this; the property has recently been honored as a "Top 121 Golf Resort in the World" by Conde Nast and a "Top 75 Best in America Golf Resort" by GolfDigest. And speaking of anniversary gifts, Grand View's Glacial Waters Spa was just honored as a "Top 15 Spa in America" by Spas of America. The experts of these respective categories tend to know what they're talking about, and when they're all in agreement about the overall value and elite status of a facility, that tends to move the "must" aspect of a visit way up the "Bucket List."

You should have a sense of the respect this resort has earned over the past ten decades. Talk to any number of experienced visitors and you'll get any number of responses on what their favorite facet of the resort is. The spa tends to be the most passionate plus for women. The kids love the indoor pool with the waterslide and the expansive beach (and watersports/activities menu). The families that have been coming here for generations are sold on the visual power and classic awesomeness of the Main Lodge - a stunning wood cabin structure built at the top of a flowered staircase that you absolutely have to see at night. The men are certainly going to give their most vocal acclaim to the 54 holes of golf - the aforementioned 45 championship designs, and the 9-hole (family friendly) Garden course. But the point of singling out all the "favorites" is to show that their are many, to display the diversity of the property's landscape and attractions, and to let everyone know who hasn't been here yet, know that management is just as passionate about its future as it is about the history.

Grand View as a resort goes the extra mile in extra ways, especially in the food and beverage department. They are the only vacation facility in Minnesota with a Chocolate Ox on site. Their Grand Breakfast is HUGE - one of the best I've ever seen - and served from the Heritage Room of the main lodge. Cru's "eat. savor. enjoy." mantra is handled with care by Resort Chef Matias Latorre and expressed in fine dining flair (with an expansive wine bar) in the Gull Lake Center. There's the Italian Gardens and Northwoods Pub (Walleye Chowder!) with pasta specials and burgers, beers, etc. Loony's Beach Hut takes care of the outdoor appetites and The Preserve Pub and Freddy's Sports Grill provide atmospheric taste pleasures with panoramic golf views and waterfall settings, respectively. The common themes expressed in customer testimonials are appreciation for the diversity in options and "exceeding expectations" in the quality of the food and service.

I've gotten so wrapped up in telling you what has made this place so special for so long, that I haven't even mentioned the accommodations, and trust me, they're not insignificant. My family loves the spread-out-capacity of the Golf Villas along the Pines course (tucked right in there behind the "island" green), but Grand View has one to 8+ bedroom options at many other villas and cabins along the shore and courses, and the wonderfully rustic comforts of the Main Lodge rooms. Keep in mind; Grand View covers several hundred acres over a variety of environments. You can find peace and remote solitude just as easily as you can place yourself in the center of the action.

A hundred years ago, the first guests arrived at Grand View unsure exactly as to what they were in for. If you've been there yourself, or read this article, you are way ahead of the curve. It figures to be a long, hot, awesome summer on the north shore of Gull Lake, and with all the new they're celebrating, it would seem the perfect time for you to be part of the party there, too.

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