Pebble Creek – Golf Courses In Becker Are Closer Than They Appear
By E. Nolan
Pebble Creek is located less than 50 miles from the heart of downtown Minneapolis. If you drive like my dad you could be there in 40 minutes. Drive like my mom and you’d still make it in less than two hours. It’s worth noting that because the biggest detractor they hear associated with their course has absolutely nothing to do with their course and everything to do with misperception. Distance. It is NOT that far to Pebble Creek. Head Professional/General Manager Troy Malo says; “When people give us a chance and come up here they are always pleasantly surprised. I hear them say ‘It really isn’t that far’ and I laugh. It isn’t. And we have three great nines here with plenty of space for everyone.”
About those nines… That is after all the primary reason to come up here. The “White” and “Red” nines make up the Championship Course. They are extremely golfer friendly, very score friendly, and very nature friendly, which is pretty much “all around friendly.” The “Blue” nine (now referred to as “The Local 9”) is a tougher test of your golf skills, but years ago when the city considered closing it permanently the voices of the regulars were heard quite loudly. People love that course. One golfer from nearby Maple Grove said. “I come up here every other week. If I only have time for nine, I’ll play the Blue. If I have time for 18, I’ll still try to play the Blue, but I’ll alternate with either the White or the Red. I just love the Blue.” Our own sentiments are similar.
Each nine has its own “Signature” hole, less because it was designated as such officially but because the public raves about these three holes. On the White it is definitely #6, a downhill par 3 to a peninsula green guarded by a hungry pond. On the Red it’s a split-vote for most between the opener, a straightaway par 4 with an approach over a lively fountain-pumped pond, and the risk/reward par 5 fifth. On #5 you determine how strong you feel and/or how much courage you have that day and cut off as much of the lake as you dare. You clear the pond and you’ll likely have an eagle putt… go around and you’ll be lucky to get par. I took the risk and fell a few yards short of being rewarded. And no way am I leaving out the Blue.
Connected to the Championship course by an underground tunnel, in my opinion “The Local 9” features the most (a quartet) power-holes, including the snaking par 4 second and par 5 fifth holes. Weaving perfectly between ponds guarding each side, they are both picturesque and picky about where you hit your shots. I would make a case for #7 being the most picturesque hole between Minneapolis and Brainerd if they had both waterfalls running. As it is, it is still a gorgeous short par 3, guarded to the left by a large pond… picture postcard perfect. And then there’s the final hole. If you planned your day perfect and began with the Championship course, followed by The Local 9, then you’re ending it in style, on another serene, water-guarded, gem.
Pebble Creek has other amenities, including a practice facility with a range, putting green, bunker/chipping practice area and the recently opened Hunters Ridge Restaurant and Event Center. I’d highly recommend the chicken sandwich, it’s to die for, but leave your Sunday best at home as you’ll be lucky to avoid a mishap requiring club soda with this juicy treat.
GM Troy considers his staff’s rapport with the public to be a significant amenity, and of greatest importance. “When you do come up here it is important to me that you feel rewarded for your faith in what you’ve heard about us. Anything we can do to make your round better, we’ll do our best. The local community loves this course and we love to show it off. GolfDigest gave us 4.5 Stars because of all we represent. We don’t take any of the praise or accolades for granted.”
They genuinely don’t, and that fact keeps them quite busy. As a municipal course the staff and residents here depend on their local representatives to see the same value in their course as they do. Becker residents, to a person, are proud of their course. As it is today, the Championship course is in excellent condition, with firm, fast consistent greens, diligently patched fairways and thick sandy bunkers, and the layout would put it in the running for best municipal routing in Minnesota. I believe that, and you will too. Well worth an hour’s drive, with great rates and great service… they’d love to show you around.