Soaring With The White Eagle
By Rhett Arens
There is a game changer on the eastern horizon. The infamous St. Croix Crossing Project is finally coming to fruition and will open speedy access to the area just east of the St. Croix River, which thankfully includes the White Eagle Golf Club. You can be assured Scott Landin and his staff will be waiting with open arms. The bridge’s scheduled grand opening is top secret, but rumor has it the first week of August is go time. This means patrons of the fine game of golf won’t have to wait at 10 stoplights as they make their way through downtown Stillwater or downtown Hudson. Just stay on Highway 36, navigate a few roundabouts and next thing you know you will be parking your car at White Eagle.
For those in the know, this is an absolute gem of a track. High-end quality, first class service, playing conditions that are always tournament ready and a series of golf holes that will challenge, entertain and awe you with natural beauty. It’s got that northern Minnesota feel (think The Preserve, Golden Eagle, The Legend…), with lots of mother nature surrounding golf holes in pristine condition.
So what exactly does all this new bridge business mean? The housing development plan at White Eagle is almost fully realized. There are only 16 lots left from the original plan and it is expected that those will go quickly when the commute time from this side of the river into the Twin Cities is dramatically reduced via the new bridge. Those lots range in size from three to six acres. Prices start at $149,900 for a three-acre parcel, which is an excellent buyer’s opportunity given the proximity, privacy and quality of the development objectives. A drive through the neighborhood shows a wide range of homes from classic Tudor to contemporary Prairie architectural styles. The covenants are designed to retain value and create continuity. The development allows you to bring in your own builder.
The other major outcome triggered by the bridge opening is breaking ground on the new clubhouse. Yes it’s true. In October they will begin building the clubhouse that has been on hold for a while. In fact, White Eagle has already seen an uptick in bookings for weddings and corporate events based on a recent Facebook posting that construction is moving forward. Keep in mind that White Eagle opened in 2000 during the incredible surge in golf course expansion (the Tiger effect); those clubhouse plans have been on the table since that opening. Scott Landin has been at White Eagle since day one and has seen many iterations, adjustments and redesigns of the clubhouse plans and as the economy has bounced from good to bad to good during the 2000’s.
The spacious clubhouse will have banquet capacity for hosting up to 250 guests. The bar and grill will accommodate up to 60 which makes it’s intimate enough to feel like a pub yet plenty of room for lunch visits and those weary golfers seeking a comfortable chair and a refreshing, post-round beverage. The floor plan allows for a great view overlooking the 18th green from both the indoor space and an outdoor patio area. There will be both a covered patio and an open-air patio. Those patios can be booked for smaller groups or breakout sessions during large events. In a recent conversation with Scott, he has seen the demand for smaller corporate outings in the 4 to 16-person range – this being anywhere from 1 to 4 foursomes followed by lunch or dinner. As you can tell, the reigns have come off White Eagle’s hosting capabilities and they are now poised to become an event destination with so much to offer.
More evidence that the word is out on the new bridge opening can be seen in the increase in new memberships and a steady stream of inquiries on membership. With this in mind, the new clubhouse will include full men’s and women’s locker rooms. These will include private lockers and all the amenities one expects at a private club.
The golf course has been steadily adding improvements as well. Including the pond on the 13th green, which has been expanded along with the surrounding landscape. The black tee’s have been opened up and made larger as apparently there is more demand from the big hitters. Cart paths and other hardscaping have been updated along with the greenspaces. All 18 holes have had the bunkers recut and the sand replaced. Scott is in the final stages of exploring which new GPS technology to include on the new fleet of carts, which are expected to go into use in 2018.
A bridge to western Wisconsin has become a bridge to the future for the White Eagle Golf Club. Time to put the clubs in the car and head east. There will be times during the round when you might think you’re in Northern Minnesota, but pinch yourself, focus and drain that birdie putt. White Eagle will take care of the rest.