Mississippi Dunes Golf Links – A Day At Mississippi Dunes
By Larry Berle
There is no better course that exemplifies this month’s theme of Rolling On The River than Mississippi Dunes Golf Links. The Dunes is not just near the river, in the river valley or overlooking the river – it’s ON the river. With three holes running along the river and their 3,000 feet of shoreline; you can’t get much closer to the river than that.
Mississippi Dunes is a track that you won’t soon forget once you have played it. It is the vision of one man who has a great passion for the game named Doc Doebler. Doc was a very successful medical doctor in Minnesota as well as an avid golfer. One day he decided to buy this plot of land on the banks of the Mississippi River and build a golf course. Did he hire a golf course designer like a normal person would do? NO, he would design it himself with the help of Dave Tentis; with deference in design given to the fine lines laid out on golf courses throughout the world by the likes of Old Tom Morris, George Crump, Donald Ross, Pete Dye, and of course, Dr. Alister Mackenzie.
This links style course is a par 72, with 6,509 challenging yards from the tips and a rating of 72.6 and a slope of 143. If you are not familiar with these ratings they are high and they tell you this course is challenging. Don’t let that discourage you from playing it, as you won’t find another course like The Dunes in Minnesota. As I mentioned, three of the holes play right along the Mississippi River and the remainder are inland, but don’t think that means no water because several of them have ponds placed precisely to catch your mishits.
The sand is a challenge, which is enhanced by Doc’s railroad ties that he has framed many of the bunkers with. So if you are going to get in those bunkers you better be good out of the sand. But the beauty in this course is in the greens. Serious undulations, along with fast and firm and you think you are on the PGA TOUR. You better have a good short game if you want to score here.
When you are in the clubhouse you just might meet Doc. If you happen to be standing by the big plaque that has the course record you will see that it is held by Dave Tentis at an amazing score of 54 (yes, that’s 18 under par). Doc will tell you everything you want to know about that round including the fact that he thinks its the lowest score for an 18 hole championship length golf course ever recorded by anyone anywhere. I Googled lowest score ever recorded, and the lowest I could find was four rounds of 55.
I can’t forget to mention the food at Doc’s Landing. Doc’s Landing is the perfect setting for delicious food and a relaxing drink after your round. Take a seat inside, or better yet, on their impressive deck and patio that overlooks the Mighty Mississippi. Try their version of the Juicy Lucy, Doc’s Pork-Loin Sandwich or several of the other tasty items on the menu. Hell, it’s a great place to go even if you didn’t have time to play golf.
But don’t take my word for it. Take a look at what others are saying about The Dunes:
“My favorite attribute of The Dunes is hands down the sand based, tiered greens. For a public course, this is by far the closest you can get to a professional tour golfing experience and a lot of that has to do with the greens. The greens always roll excellent and test your skills in green reading and touch. A 20 foot putt at The Dunes needs about half the power that a 20 foot putt takes at a generic Twin Cities public course.” – Jack Fish
“These greens at Mississippi Dunes are as pure as those of Spring Hill, and the experience is very much like Cog Hill. I will return without question.” – Troy VanZile
“Carpet like fairways. Challenging greens. The river. Eagles, hawks and critters. Southbound Amtrak. Doc’s Landing. Friendly staff!” – Randy Walker