St. Croix National Golf Club – Golf’s Fall Color Epicenter in Somerset, WI
By Tim Cotroneo
You better make your St. Croix National tee times today if you want to experience one of Western Wisconsin’s most spectacular courses for fall colors. That’s because photographers choose September and October as their favorite months for becoming a golf enthusiast, and St. Croix National’s alpine-like elevations are a camera buff’s dream come true.
2014 is a turning point year for the golf club located just 15 minutes north of downtown Hudson. The number of customers playing St. Croix National’s scenic 18 holes has grown four-fold since 2013’s weather year from hell. The word is out on this Joel Goldstrand design, and the conditions are fabulous.
“We’re regularly seeing around 150 golfers per day, and a high percentage of those are return customers. It’s been an exciting summer meeting these new friends. Our Superintendent, Ryan Gauster, has done a terrific job keeping our conditions at a high level,” PGA Head Professional John Klooz said.
Wows Start With 19
A golfer’s first time at St. Croix National is like discovering a beautiful resort before it becomes famous. You’re left with the delicious decision of spreading the word or keeping this secret to yourself. St. Croix National’s impact is immediate. When was the last time the view of a practice green took your breath away?
Even before walking to the first hole, golfers are met with a magnificent image from the clubhouse steps. The adjacent St. Croix National Event Center uses this pictorial view as a drawing card for impressing wedding and corporate event clients. What you witness, prior to your first swing, is a deep ravine upon which two picture postcard practice areas are perched. They’re framed by a backdrop of ongoing hills, sky-reaching trees, a tranquil pond, and what seems to be a tiny par three.
The 114-yard par three is actually St. Croix’s 19th hole, used for special events and wagering target practice. Klooz has big plans to make this photo-worthy extra hole a value-added perk for next year’s total golf experience.
Nines That Are Tens
As you begin to navigate the front nine, the skier in your group may admire the elevations and say, “This course would be a fantastic site for a ski resort.” In fact, St. Croix National’s 260 prime acres were Somerset’s former Snow Crest Ski area.
If you remember to gaze eastward from the par four, 382-yard 11th hole on the back nine, stretch your eyes as far as they can see upward to the horizon. In the distance, where you think the clouds should reside, is the tee box of the 7th hole.
Once you get to this same 7th hole tee area, you’ll do a double take. Stand on your tiptoes and look straight down at the 142-yard plummeting view with the putting green sitting center stage. Surrounding this amphitheater-like setting is an even deeper descent and a chorus of trees. Want more? If you steer your gaze upward, you can see the 11th hole peeking out from a small pocket amongst the trees and rolling hills. St. Croix National is like a favorite movie that you need to view a second time just to absorb the key moments or scene stealers you missed the first time around.
Sense Of It All
The visual splendor of St. Croix National is hard to deny. You might feel like a bit of a Sunday driver if you get too wrapped up in the high-octane imagery of the course.
A second feeling will begin to take hold before your sense of sight starts to feel greedy. One of the best reasons to play golf is the realization of how quiet some course environments are. By the time you make the turn on St. Croix National’s back nine; you can hear a pin drop. It’s hard to believe that the bustle of the Twin Cities is only 35 minutes away. For at least 18 holes, city life and the problems that go with it seem a lifetime away.
The Big Cup Is Coming
If you’ve yet to play St. Croix National, then the amazing fall colors will make a Somerset road trip one you’ll never forget. Don’t fret if back to school responsibilities and your football team’s home games make a fall golf outing inconvenient. That’s because October is when the Big Cup occurs at St. Croix National.
A new craze is seeping into golf’s centuries-old traditions. This “bigger is better” brainstorm comes in the form of 10-inch cups on the putting greens. So gather your favorite six golfers and register for the Saturday, October 4th Big Cup. Prizes, beverages, and rivalries will be plentiful.
So whether you’re a golfer wondering about one of the St. Croix Valley’s most beautiful courses, a photographer eager to view high-definition fall colors, or a sixsome ready to putt lights out on 10-inch cups, St. Croix National is eager to please. Playing 18 holes at St. Croix National will have you wondering if you should tell all your friends or just keep this St. Croix Valley treasure to yourself.