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Breezy Point

Travel Club
November 19, 2017

On Top Of The World At Mount Frontenac Golf Course And Treasure Island Casino
Barefoot Bar at Treasure Island Resort & Casino
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Barefoot Bar at Treasure Island Resort & Casino
Mount Frontenac Clubhouse and #18 Green
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Mount Frontenac Clubhouse and #18 Green
By Rhett Arens

For many, golfing is a combination of leisure, sunshine, a little competitive fun and soaking in the natural scenery. Mount Frontenac Golf Course has that scenery in spades. In fact, few courses pack the kind of 'aha' punch that this gorgeous course perched high above the Mississippi River has. Mount Frontenac is in good company because we know that some of the most esteemed courses in the world feature natural beauty and stunning views as their winning hand (think Pebble Beach or Pacific Dunes). Mount Frontenac is owned by Treasure Island Resort and Casino, a perfect partner for stay and plays, player discounts, and various specials all in the name of providing customers with more options.
General Manager Dan Diggins is rightfully proud of his corner of the golf world. It is a really unique piece of real estate that allows you to build a golf course with stunning views and good access. Add in the great food and friendly staff and you have a recipe for a healthy 30,000 rounds per year. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Mount Frontenac Golf Course sees more selfies and group photos than any course along the river. The Hiawatha Valley widens and turns its way south along the Mississippi so it is photography heaven for those so inclined. The famous Highway 61 runs parallel to the river making access to this area easy and an oh-so pleasurable drive - especially in the fall. No coincidence that Dan sees a large number of rounds in September and October when many courses are starting to slow down.
Dan and his experienced staff of 45 maintain the course in very nice condition and all that help keeps the restaurant and banquet business humming along smoothly. Recent investments in new mowers and grounds keeping equipment have the course playing and looking great. With the longest tees set at 6,226 yards it's not considered a long course, not surprising given the constraints of the topography but that doesn't mean the avid golfer isn't challenged. There is plenty of undulation and not just on the greens. To quote Dan. "There is a lack of flat lies and that really enhances the playing conditions." Who doesn't like the challenge of an uphill or downhill lie scattered throughout a round? Why play if you're going to hit the same shot on every hole? Given the yardage the course designers need to juice the playing difficulty somewhere, so undulation comes into play. The greens aren't overly large, which again keeps the challenges coming.
There isn't really a single signature hole at Mount Frontenac. The good news... there are 4 or 5 of them! It's not surprising they involve cliffs, sweeping views, circling hawks, the might Mississip' and plenty of photo ops. The starter hole #1 doesn't ease you into the round but it sure does take your breath away. It's a preview to the stunning vista's you are about to enjoy for the next four hours. The series of holes from #5, #6 through #7 offer more great views. It also offers you a moment to appreciate the architects who somehow looked up from the river valley and then somehow visualized a golf course at the top of the limestone bluffs. Kind of a head-scratcher isn't it? I have to imagine there were some interesting meetings among this group of visionaries when the planners and designers got down to specifics. The par 4 #13 has views towards Lake City, which is the widest part of the river that runs along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. Hole #16 is also a beauty with a pond on the left as you approach the green. Finally #18 closes out the round with a par 5 that gives you a chance to birdie while enjoying the great view of the clubhouse as you are working your way up the fairway.
Mount Frontenac is more than just golf. Given the location and great hosting capabilities the operation sees quite a few weddings, Christmas parties, anniversaries and work parties. With seating capacity for 240 and an ability to expand seating outdoors they are an excellent choice for group events in this area. The wide array of food options and top-notch food quality keep the events planners coming back year, after year.
The course and the casino have combined forces to offer some great stay-and-play packages as well as a $29 - 18 hole with cart and lunch special. The course also offers an unlimited play special for $47 that provides an option for those with unlimited stamina. Just one word of advice if you're going to crunch a bunch of holes in one day... don't forget to put that parking brake on. Yes, a few carts (no people) have made a dramatic plunge to the bottom of the valley. Not the way you want to end a day of golf.
'The Island' as it's known in casino circles is a force to be reckoned with and growing by the minute. If you've found yourself humming their catchy jingle the last couple years there is a good reason for that. Treasure Island Casino is officially in it, to win it. They are promoting on all fronts, radio, TV, billboards, online, in print, they are ubiquitous. By offering entertainment options galore, they are family friendly, they are adult friendly, they are music friendly, they are boater friendly, they are foodie friendly, senior friendly, they are of course gambler friendly, heck they are even friendly friendly (sorry for the bad grammar but it's true).
This year they opened a large outdoor amphitheater and officially threw their hat in the ring for big-time concerts. One look at the diverse summer line-up and you will see they mean business... Journey, Asia, Willie Nelson, Weezer, Loretta Lynn, Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Yes, Brad Paisley, even Ozzy is bringing his hard rock circus to the new venue. The acoustics and sight lines are great. It's island time baby, let's rock!
In the spirit of family fun they have recently added an indoor water park to the mix called The Lagoon. The facility sports not one but two water slides, a lazy river which makes for a great inner tube loop and for the small children of the family a zero-depth pool and small slide called the Toucan. There are several large pools and both an indoor and outdoor hot tub to soak those weary, handle-pulling muscles. All of it fun during the summer and maybe even more so in the winter. The Barefoot Bar is swim-up style for chillin' out with the adults and there is also a snack and beverage counter in the facility for the whole family.
It doesn't end there, not even close. There is a 24 lane, high tech bowling alley called Island Xtreme Bowl. Not sure the Big Lebowski would approve but you sure will when you see this futuristic layout. Cyber Quest is a nationally acclaimed arcade that recently opened its doors to the ever growing legion of gamers. It's loaded with the latest and greatest in gaming options and will give the gamers in your family plenty of fun and challenges.
If a cruise up or down the Mississippi sounds like your cup of tea, there is the 100 person capacity Spirit of the Water cruise liner that has twice-daily excursions with a rotating menu of food offerings. All you need to do is buy tickets, walk-on and sit back and relax. There is plenty of wildlife along the shores of the big river and possibly a little wildlife on-board as well. If arriving by sea, Treasure Island has a huge Marina and an extremely helpful staff to help you dock, tie-up and shuttle. This is a fun option for the weekend boaters who come down from the St. Croix or up from the Red Wing area to spend a couple hours in the Casino.
For dining you can enjoy a well-prepared lunch at the Currents Restaurant or the Tradewinds Buffet. For a classic dinner order a bottle of wine and a perfectly done steak at the Tado Steakhouse.
Make a weekend out of it, tie your boat up and spend the night. So many options, so much to do. Remember, you are on Island Time.

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